I don't think we've ever kept it a secret from our children that they are the girl kind, but I guess we neglected to clue Gert in on one of the most specific differentiating features.
Gert goes to daycare with a lot of boys. Her best friend is a boy. She's a self-professed, tutu-wearing princess, but she's still one of the guys. So I'm sure you can guess where this is leading.
Friday night, we decided to get dinner at Bandana's. It's not a super fancy place or anything, but it does involve sitting in a booth, which to us means we try to act proper parents who enforce etiquette rules at home.
After the waitress had taken our order, Gert got squirmy. She stood up, she perched on her knees, she crawled under the table, she did a backbend into the booth behind us. I felt like my stop-its and please-sit-rights were getting louder and louder, and Gert was attracting more and more attention from people who were trying not to look like they were looking at us.
I leaned across the table and tried to level with the five-year-old. "Gert," I said firmly. "Why are you acting like this?"
Gertrude said, plainly and unmistakably in her clearest voice, "My penis hurts!"
Gary and I looked at each other.
Everyone in the entire restaurant looked at us, as did everyone with a several mile radius.
I had absolutely no idea what to say to that. If I explained to her that she was a girl and girls don't have penises, that would inevitably lead to a conversation about what girls did have. If I shushed her and explained that we don't talk about things like that at the dinner table, it would confirm that she did have a penis to be quiet about.
Gary cleared his throat and leaned over to whisper something in Gert's ear.
"Oh!" said Gert.
The entire place seemed to exhale and gladly resume its business.
Later that night, Gert was lounging on the floor in front of the television watching her usual run of Disney Channel shows.
"Mom," she announced casually, "guess what?"
"What?" I said.
"My Venus is still bothering me."