Skin

My kids are still naked.

I bathed them this morning and then it is their job to get themselves dressed. Some days they do this right away, especially my two year old. If she thinks we are going somewhere exciting she will go and get her pull-ups on, and her pants and shirt and shoes and sweater and purse and put her babies in the stroller and wait at the door. I of course haven’t even gotten to the shower part of the day yet and am nowhere near dressed.

Some days she forgets the clothing part and heads straight for the shoes and purse and babies, which looks really funny.

My son will stay naked all day if I don’t insist on clothing at some point. Except for the few days he has surprised me by getting dressed before I am even out of bed, one day he even put on underpants. (He never wears underpants; he prefers to free ball it like his father.) We had made a big deal about how when he stops peeing in his sleep he’ll get a huge big boy pants party and I guess that got him excited enough to put some on.

So what do I do? Nakedness was a big deal when I was little, my father was terrified of it and remains very squinchy when it comes to all matters physical. I picked up all sorts of complexes from him. My mother seemed like she always was naked. Of course I was a girl and liked to hang out in her bedroom when she was getting dressed or in the bathroom when she needed to go so it’s my fault I saw her naked all the time, I wouldn’t stop following her around. I will never forget one day when I was a teenager. (Sorry mom.) I went past the laundry room door, which was ajar and saw my mom standing there totally naked, except for a shirt that came down to just above her buttocks, ironing some clothes. She obviously thought she was alone and emerged fully clothed none the wiser, but some how that glimpse of my mother’s naked butt has never left me.

I don’t want to cause my children to be embarrassed or feel that there is any thing shameful about the way God made their bodies. They are beautiful. I also don’t want them to be exposed to the evil that can happen when other people look at them and aren’t themselves healthy and well adjusted. I want to protect their bodies from the eyes of others. I, of all people, ought to know how much damage another person's eyes can do.

So I have a few new rules. They can’t go out on our patio without clothes on, or out in public period. I’ve not had to explain why, which is a relief because I’m not sure I could without making them afraid, which I don’t want, or taking away their innocence a little, which I’m trying to protect.

Inside the house is a different zone and I just have to play it by ear. An hour ago I told my son to get some clothes on and he said, “I’m not cold.”

I told him that there are other reasons to wear clothes, but he didn’t ask what they were.

Now I have to go out and play with him because he has finally gotten dressed and put his shoes on in anticipation of an outside playtime with mommy and he’s waiting very patiently.

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