Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lessons On Nudity. And Humility.

I've never been quite sure when to pull the plug on my kids seeing me naked. I mean, I grew up seeing both of my parents in the nude on a pretty regular basis. Not because we were a super liberal, free-to-be-me kind of family, more because I had zero respect for their privacy when in the bathroom. Being a parent myself now, it's nice to know that I'm not the only kid who was a total asshole to my parents; I'm raising three of them to follow quite handily in my footsteps.

I want to raise these people with a healthy respect for their bodies and without shame but I don't know how to maintain an openness on the subject while also instilling good boundaries about privacy and respect for others. Being a tricky topic, I've pushed it out of my mind and thought I'd wait until they were older to set up a plan. After several recent post-shower interactions with my kids, now is clearly the time.

My bathroom set-up is horrible. Think, hotel: shower and toilet in one room with a door (that locks, thank God) and then a sink/vanity and linen closet outside of the lockable area. My oldest sister - who has four older children - thinks my bathroom rocks; I, on the other hand, do not enjoy readying myself for the day with three children joining me in an area that is literally 15 square feet. Most mornings consist of me jumping out of the shower and racing through my "pretty" routine as fast as possible to keep to a minimum the number of times that I have to scream "GET OUT OF THIS BATHROOM BEFORE I LOSE MY COTTON-PICKING MIND."

No sooner have I shoved them all out of my way, when one will wander back in to stand directly between me and the sink, clawing at whatever body part said child can reach while crying/giggling/begging to be held. My youngest is two and finds delight in pinching my generous post-pregnancy-extra-skin pooch that lies just below my belly button. Endless entertainment for that one, and a giant dose of humility for me. No one ever said parenting was good for the ego, did they?

Last week while toweling off in front of my 3 1/2 year-old daughter I noticed her regarding me with a curled lip, head cocked to the side and a certain disgusted curiosity pouring from her big, blue eyes. After a few moments she shakes her head and says, "You sure do got a hairy bottom, momma." She walks away, turning back to offer me a sweeping glance full of pity, embarrassed on my behalf. Though speechless, I'm sure nothing I had to say would have convinced her I wasn't some mutant creature.

Two days later my 5 year-old son walks into my bedroom while I'm bent over, fishing some clean clothes out of the unfolded mass in the laundry basket. Gathering my things, I set them on the bed and feel his finger poking into my butt cheek and thighs. As I turn around to tell him to keep his hands to himself he says, "Why do you have all those dents in your butt, mom? Do they hurt? Look, they're as big as my finger!"

With that, I found that the Naked Dilemma had solved itself; turns out that whole nudity question has much less to do with the age of your children than your ability to take the heaping insults about your deformed, hairy, dented, fleshy body.

1 comment:

  1. Tears. There are tears pouring out of my eyes as I roll in silent laughter. Dents indeed!