1) You’re walking home with your kid and they start singing ‘pineapple, coconuts, big banana’ with corresponding hand gestures.
What do you do?
a) Look confused. What’s the pineapple supposed to be?
b) Roll your eyes. Children are SO immature.
c) Look horrified but say nothing. Glance over your shoulder and hope that nobody saw.
d) Be enraged. Forbid the singing of the song. The human body is strong, beautiful and worthy of our ongoing respect.
e) Pull out the always applicable ‘that’s not appropriate’ and tell them to stop as you cover your gaffaws by sticking your head into a mailbox.
2) Your kid puts on a show for you, your spouse and your parents with elaborate dance moves. ‘Milk, milk, lemonade. Around the corner fudge is made.’
What do you do?
a) Look confused. Has the kid been taste-testing human waste?
b) Sigh heavily. Children are SO immature.
c) Look horrified but say nothing. Shoot daggers at your spouse and hope they didn’t teach it to the kid.
d) Be enraged. Banish lemonade forever. Bodily functions are… bodily functions and are worthy of our ongoing respect.
e) Pull out the always applicable ‘that’s not appropriate’ and tell them to stop as you conceal your chortle by shoving popcorn in your mouth.
I sang those songs. Our children sing those songs. Our children’s children will likely sing those songs. So, what do we do?
I think its okay to laugh with them if you find them funny. I find them funny. So I laughed and I joined in.
Bodies and their functioning are beautiful, powerful, strong and fantastic. And we want to communicate that to our kids.
AND, bodies are funny. They jiggle in funny ways. They make funny noises.
So after the gaffaw and chortle, (that you don’t hide from your kids), you can mention that while those are silly songs, bodies and what they do are amazing. You can point out that the songs are focused on the body parts that are considered more private than say, the elbow. With that in mind, it’s important to let them know that some people may find the songs offensive and that they need to exercise judgement about when its okay and not okay to sing them. You can then brainstorm a list of okay and not okay audiences. You can let them know that if they aren’t sure, they can check in with you about it.
You can also talk about what the songs are referring to in more explicit terms. I really don’t know what the pineapple is, but the coconuts, you can explain, refer to breasts, which can be plum-sized, nectarine-sized, orange-sized, or grapefruits. Hell, together brainstorm all the fruits that might be applicable. The big banana of course isn’t always big. Make the point that adult penises come in all sorts of sizes. As do testicles. Labia too, for that matter.
Rather than ignore the childish song, or condemn the singer for singing it, use it as an opportunity to throw in a line or two about bodies and how they work.
“Milk. Isn’t it amazing that after a woman gives birth her body can usually make milk for her baby? Some moms don’t breastfeed or can’t breastfeed. You drank breast milk when you were a baby and you loved it!”
“Lemonade? It would be so amazing if our urine was lemonade but its not. Instead its water that our body doesn’t need, and also salt and other waste materials. Hey? Do you know how the lemonade (just joking, urine) leaves our bodies? It travels down a tube called a urethra. Both male and females bodies have a urethra even though boys have penises and girls have vulvas.”
Fudge? The waste bodies make after digesting food is nothing like fudge. Well, it’s brown like fudge. Also, feces starts with the letter F like fudge. So does the word fart.
Laugh. Talk. Inform. Repeat.
ps. Can anyone tell me what the Pineapple is supposed to be?