When I was five years old, I used to play with a little girl named Megan who lived across the street from my grandmother. One day, we were at Megan’s house playing with Barbie and Ken and I had a confusing realization. Grabbing the Ken doll, I asked Megan’s mom, “Why doesn’t Ken have a penis?” pointing out his vaguely bulging crotch. Megan’s mom immediately sent me home and told me to never come back. Apparently, “penis” was a dirty word in Megan’s house. (Ironically, there were other dirty things in Megan’s house, as she gave me lice.)
Katie Holmes kind of reminds me of Megan’s mom. Remember that photo of Suri Cruise holding a bag of penis gummies? (It’s, duh, above.) Well, Katie addressed the “controversy” on “Ellen” yesterday, although she couldn’t bring herself to actually say the word. Penis, I mean. Read on!
“Recently, I took her to get ice cream in New York at this place called Serendipity that we go to all the time. It’s for kids. The clientele is children. We go in and we are waiting for a table and she grabs some gummies that are boy part gummies. I was horrified … P-e-n-i-s gummies. I said, oh wow those aren’t Swedish fish. They are called p-e-n-i-s gummies and they look like it. She was holding the box and I was like ok, wow we don’t need that right now. Because I thought if I said put that back and then she’s going to say, what is this? And I really didn’t want to have that conversation. I was like, why are selling these here? This is for kids. And then it was on the cover of a magazine that I’m giving her those gummies.”
No doubt, P-E-N-I-S gummies really aren’t for kids, but seriously, why the f**k are we spelling out the word penis? It’s not a dirty word! It’s a body part! Like arm or uvula! And, really, Katie, you’re not prepared to tell your child what a penis is? What about a vagina? Because she no doubt has discovered hers. I’m not a parent, but I’ve done quite a bit of babysitting in my 31 years and I know 4- and 5-year-olds are aware of their body parts. For example, a couple years ago, I was a nanny for three kids, including a 5-year-old girl. One night, I was giving her a bath and she told me how much she just loved to lay down on her back and turn the faucet on so the water was hitting her vagina. Now, I wasn’t about to overstep my role by talking to her about what she was doing — even when she asked me if I had ever tried it — but I didn’t want to shame her either. I just suggested she talk to her mommy about it and then I told her mommy about what happened. I really hope her mother saw it as an opportunity to have a conversation with her daughter about her body in a healthy, age-appropriate way.
Look, I know this discussion — and I would very much like to hear what you guys think in the comments! — is prompted by penis-shaped gelatin snacks, but considering Suri is allowed to prance around in high-heels, I’m kind of weirded out that Holmes seems so horrified by the possibility of telling her 4-year-old what a penis is. Sure, doing it in public would be awkward, and yes, it must be a head-in-hands moment when you realize paparazzi have snapped a photo of your daughter clutching such a “sexy” snack, but kids aren’t very good with timing. Given Katie’s resistance to even saying the word on TV, I have to wonder if she’s the one who isn’t ready, not Suri. [Just Jared]