18 June 2009

On nudity

It's possible that there was a stripper somewhere in our family lineage, because our kids sure love to streak.

Perhaps David and I set the bar for this, as we have always both slept in our altogether, even before we knew one another. (I hope this does not cross the line into TMI?) But at this point in time, with three children, we're discrete about this, and keep bedclothes immediately at hand for any middle of the night emergencies, and the occasional noctural bed visitations.

Sarah is at an age where she has developed some modesty, but my boys are still going full force.

If I put the television on for Sacha, I am no longer surprised when I check on him to find he has TAKEN IT ALL OFF.

Adorable yes, but problematic.

First, he is not toilet trained, and thus armed with a LOADED WEAPON (technically, two). Second, as much as I love to see my kids naked, it is part of my job as their parent to socialize them, and as we do not run a nudist colony, that means that we put our clothes on in the morning, and keep them on until it is time for bed.

Sacha's other main offense is that he loves to remove his clothing after we have put him to bed. I have always been in the habit of checking on the kids before I go up to bed. (What mother doesn't do this? I do not understand how fathers can be perfectly comfortable retiring for the evening before a)gazing upon their beautiful sleeping children in awe, and b)being reassured that they are still breathing. But maybe it's one of those Men are from Mars divides.)

In Sacha's case, this pre-bed check is also necessary as he is NEVER WEARING EXACTLY WHAT WE PUT HIM TO SLEEP IN. Sometimes he takes off his pants, sometimes his shirt, sometimes both, until he is down to his onesie.

And then, some nights, he takes it all off, including his sheet. On those nights, it's also highly likely that he's peed in the crib, necessitating not only a change of clothes, but a change of bedding. Being his mother is truly exhausting.

Gabriel also enjoys sleeping in the buff. When he was younger, he wanted to sleep naked so badly that it provided an incentive for him to toilet train. He has two modes of dress for bed; feetie pajamas in the winter (which he calls his babies), and once the weather has warmed, nothing at all. So dedicated is he to the art of naked sleeping that although he falls asleep reading on the couch a few nights a week, when David carries him up to bed, he rouses himself sufficiently to slough off his underwear off.

One recent evening as the kids were getting ready for bed, Gabriel teased Sarah, giggling, "Ha- ha, I can see your underwear." This sort of conversation between siblings would be nothing to write home about, were it not for the fact that HE WAS STARK NAKED WHEN HE SAID IT.

Today, I was the subject to Gabriel's tittering. I recently made my first foray into old-ladydom with a sexy compression thigh-high for my left leg, proscribed to me by a vascular surgeon to soothe my aching varicose veins. (As I roll it on, I imagine that I am a flapper; it helps me feel more sophisticated, and less old.)

Sarah and I spent a wet day in New York City today, and by the time we got home, we were both soaked. I went upstairs to change, but my spare stocking—don't you also think stocking is sexier than compression hose?—was on the first floor. I ran downstairs in my underwear, pants in hand, so I could put it on. Gabriel was absorbed in a book, but not so much that he couldn't stop for a moment to tease me. He giggled and said, "Mama, I can see your underwear!"

This, coming from a kid who would spend most of his time naked. So I replied, "Hello, pot, may I introduce you to my friend kettle?"

And then I reclaimed what was left of my dignity, grabbed my stocking, and slunk out of the room.

1 comment:

  1. When we first moved to the US I was surprised to find it unacceptable for little kids to run around naked. I don't mean out shopping, but in semi-private spaces like someone's backyard with a group of friends, that kind of thing. Amongst our friends in Cairo if a kid decided to strip while we were hanging out together nobody thought anything of it. But, keen not to offend cultural sensibilities I covered them up. In the following years I noticed with some sadness that on trips to Europe our friends kids were uninhibited about their nudity but mine were not. I think modesty comes with age and that little kids should, when and where possible, enjoy the freedom of being starkers. Go for it kids!!! (But be kind to mom on the diaper front Sacha!)