China Misunderstandings

About four months ago, Eddie inquired as to why I sit when I pee prompting my very brief and simple explanation that girls do not have penises.  Apparently his mind then assumed we ladies pee out of our butts, so I needed to tell him about vaginas.  There was no “show and tell” or anything, I just said girls do not have a penis that hangs out like boys have, we have vaginas and we need to sit or peeing would be very, very messy.

Other than his randomly peeking around the corner of the bathroom door at me when I was peeing, he let that explanation be enough.


Eddie has started to ask “is this for boys or for girls?” about almost everything.

If you know me at all, this question makes me simultaneously sad and angry. Gender stereotypes at this age are, at best, annoying.

Our answer is “if you like it, it’s for YOU.”

We try to discourage anything being “for boys” of “for girls” at this age.

(don’t even get me started on how I almost lectured a poor McDonald’s’ drive thru worker for asking if the happy meal I ordered was for a boy or a girl. I’m not proud of that momma snap moment).

Anyway, Eddie has a lot of girls he plays with at daycare–his best friend is a girl–and he loves princesses, purple, and tiaras.  He also loves dinosaurs, monster trucks, and trains.

It’s all good, yo.

But it is a constant, conscious effort on my and Cort’s part to make sure he knows that we support his interests no matter what they are.


Eddie has a responsibility chart.

Each night while he brushes his teeth, we go down the chart.  If he has done a good job with each “task” he gets a magnetic smile face:

“Did you get dressed on your own?  Did you clean up your toys?  Did you say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’?  Did you use your listening ears?  Did you get ready for bed?”

If he gets all his smile faces for a week, he gets to pick a treat.

A few weeks ago he did it and picked going to the donut shop with Cortney.  They got their treats, and sat at a table chatting and eating.  When they were about done, Eddie asked for a quarter to get a cheap piece of crap prize out of one of those bubble gum-looking machines.

Since Cort is much nicer than I am, he gave Eddie a quarter.  The prize?  A pink ring.

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Eddie turned it over and looked at it and asked Cortney what it said.

“Made in China.”

Eddie took it back, frowned and thrust it at Cort.

“I don’t want this. It’s just for girls!

Cort sighed and asked him why he thought that, prepared to once again explain that pink is NOT just for girls if he likes it.

“Because, dad.  Only girls have chinas!”

“Um. Ok.  Tell your mother about that,” Cort replied as he shoved the ring in his pocket.


I tried to explain to Eddie that CHINA is a place and a VAGINA is what girls have.

He didn’t seem convinced that I knew what I was talking about.

And then, later that day, we were listening to the Sofia the First soundtrack’s song “Blue Ribbon Bunny”.

I dig up a tasty gourmet lunch
and serve it on china
’cause when we’re talkin’ ’bout food my friend
there’s nobody fina!

And then Eddie asked me if Clover was a girl since he is singing about his ‘china.

I think I have to wave my white flag.

I just…I can’t anymore.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Awesome. Top to bottom. Or from head to toes, with a trip to China in between.

  2. HA! Funny that talking about different body parts spurred that boy vs girl thing in his head. Alexa’s first preschool had the “boy’s table” and the “girl’s table”. She’s still stuck on “liking girls better”. GAH!!!!!!

  3. This is the best story I’ve heard in ages.

  4. I had a similar conversation with Elizabeth about peanuts. Which, you know, are only a boy thing.

  5. LOL. Awesome!

  6. Hahaha, that is hilarious! And now you can tell this story to Eddie’s significant other in years to come and totally embarrass him, the way a good mom should!

  7. I have tears going down my face at my desk right now and once again, my coworkers probably think I’ve flipped. Once again, I care not. But it makes you wonder: what if our chinas came from China? What are the factory warranties like for those things? Would they be plastic?

    Z is squarely in the “for boys and for gir-oles” phase. And like you, it irks the hell out of me. I know he’s just being a 3 yr old boy and responding to the things he sees and hears but come onnnnn man, just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t play with your trucks or that you can’t like to wear your sister’s shoes. (I remember telling a girl at McDonald’s in response to her “for a boy or girl” question with, “It’s for a child.”) I figure he likes what he likes and he has two older sisters and a girly mama, so…

  8. Holy. Awesome.

    And also- we too try to keep things as gender neutral as possible.

  9. Bwhahahahaha… as a mother of 3 boys (and 1 girl), I can so relate.

    And yes, sometimes girls do sing about their ‘chinas but that might be a lesson for another day.

  10. Peanuts and China. So funny!

  11. That’s pretty funny. I dread the day I have to explain that to my 20 month old son. sigh. I think I’ll let his dad handle it. Haha!

  12. I’d rather a ‘china than at “pagina.” My girls are fascinated that my hubby stands to pee. I often hear them say, “Oh yeah, dad has a penis so he gets to stand.” What really confuses them is that Daddy has nipples (as do they), but only Mommy has boobies. The crazy things kids notice.

    McDonald’s drives me batty. We rarely every go there, but seriously, “boy or girl?” Why the hell does it matter?! My girls would gladly play with a Barbie or a race car. Mira’s favorite color is blue after all.

  13. Haha… That’s so cute!

  14. i cant stop giggling.

  15. Like, like, LIKE!! This is laugh out loud funny!!! Love it!!!

  16. Oh gosh, kids are the funniest!
    And Eddie is adorable.
    China. Hee!

  17. I loved this on FB last week. I love it MORE with the Sophia the First bit.

  18. Yes, my sister and I read this together at work. I’m sure the customers are wondering about the giggling coming from the kitchen.

    Oh, and good luck…Mom.

  19. Oh goodness! I just laughed out loud at my desk and now people are looking at me funny! I had no idea where you were going with the title and the vagina story. That is just…so funny! Kids are stinking hysterical!!

  20. I just love this. It totally made me laugh. And I love that you guys are embracing sharing anything and everything with him. I definitely struggle with that.

  21. That just cracked me up.. Poor little guy. I know some girls who think theirs is china.. wait did I just say that out loud?

  22. I love ALL of this – but my favorite part might be that Eddie still isn’t sure you know what you’re talking about.

    I can just picture the side eye he’s giving you.

    Oh this is the BEST!

  23. Oh Katiekatiekatie.

    Have fun with that.

    With the two at, near-precisely, the same age, my son & daughter share a room, and frequently bathe together. The other day, he asked why she had a hot dog bun.

  24. Too cute. They are so inquisitive at this age and the way their brains work is just amazing to me. Does Eddie do the “Why?” routine? All three of my kids did at about that age – always asking why, why, why… and any answer got another why. How I don’t miss that at all. 🙂

  25. This made me laugh so hard! Loved it! I would love to know what kind of magnetic chart you use? Is it just a whiteboard that you made into a chart?

  26. Bwahahaha I just I just can’t all I can think about now is how Clover would react to being called a girl and I have that song in my head.

  27. Ha! Out of the mouths of babes, right? 😉

  28. That was the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time!

    And as someone who has only girls, I hate the gender stereotypes too. I cringe every time I hear one. In my opinion, kids are just kids.