My twin boys started kindergarten this year, and while we were very excited to be sharing this new beginning with them it also made us realize that some of the cute and funny things talked about at home did not transition very well into a school classroom. The most noticeable of these topics is the ones discussing genitals and nakedness. In the area of “nude or prude” we definitely fall into the “nude” category. It’s not uncommon for me and my husband to be in the shower on a Saturday, have 1-3 of the kids join us, and then lounge in a naked or semi-naked state until we have to go somewhere or someone is coming over. This constant exposure has sparked some interesting conversations with my kids….and other adults.
For example, one morning my youngest son Liam was riding naked on this Thomas the Train toy we have, when the inevitable happens and he crashes it. The handle bars go crashing into his lower abdominals and very upper thigh where they leave a slight red mark. This red mark needs a kiss from mommy. Mommy offers a band-aid instead but apparently nothing will fix this tiny red mark except a kiss from mommy. Mommy kisses her fingers and then presses them very close to those bits which should be covered when one is riding a train. Nope, that won’t do! “A kiss! A kiss for my owie!” is screamed about the living room until finally I just grab him and give that owie a kiss. All is well. Until we visit a friend’s house for a playdate with a few other moms and my previously terribly injured, but now miraculously better, son declares that he got an owie, but mommy kissed his penis and made it better. Ummm let me just say that what followed was an awkward moment when 3 moms who you’ve never met before look expectantly at you for more of the story.
Or when my middle boy James explains to me that his “bag” is wrinkly and therefore can’t go into a pair of undies because that will only make it MORE wrinkly, so there is no way he can wear anything below is belly button on that day. Except I have Kookie orders getting picked up throughout the day and this half naked boy insists on opening the door for me and telling people why he can’t wear clothes. Which prompts many comments by many customers along the lines of “I don’t think you were wearing clothes the last time I was here either”.
And thankfully my new neighbor also has a young boy because my kids insist on walking over to her house in whatever they may be wearing, which more often than not, is just a pair of socks, because you know, their feet are cold. The first time I was embarrassed, the third time I was irritated, but now I just joke that perhaps I should just leave some of their clothes at her house.
We’ve had to explain to my oldest that just because it “feels” like there is something inside his testicles, there is not, in fact, anything fun hiding in there, so if he could kindly keep his hand out of pants, we would like that. Yes it’s supposed to be like that, no you can’t “open it” and see, you’ll have to take our word on this one.
As much as I dread Winter, I’m looking forward to a few months where, when we’re outside at the park, I’m not getting another mom, or group of mom’s, going “excuse me, I think that’s your kids going naked down the slide….” And I’m that crazy woman, carrying a baby, with 2 other in-care kids in tow, screaming “Where the HECK are your CLOTHES!” as I run around the playground pulling socks and undies off monkey bars and ride on toys, like a little clothes tornado went through Rotary Park, chasing after my kids with their bits flying in the wind of their efforts trying to get them dressed…again.
Perhaps before this I never thought that much about it, we were instilling body confidence, and realistic expectations about the human body, we answered all questions as truthfully as we could given their ages, and never made a big deal out of nakedness as we didn’t want them to feel ashamed or like they had something to hide. Except now that they all attend school and preschool I wish they would hide what they have at least half of the time because if they’re not getting naked in public then they are telling the class about their naked adventures, giving more meaning to “show and tell”. My only relief comes from friends with older boys, who assure me that soon everything about everyone’s body will be “gross” and there will be no way I’ll even be allowed to buy them underwear let alone see them in it. In the meantime I better invest in some duct tape.