Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Bare Naked Mommies
So until what age do you shower with your child? Until what age do you undress in front of them? It depends on the child I presume - not to mention the adult who for the purposes of this discussion I'm assuming to be healthy and appropriate. And of course gender matters. If you're a dad with a daughter it's different than being a mom with a son or a mom with a daughter or a dad with a son or a...
A friend of mine stopped showering with his daughter when she tugged on his penis and said, "toot toot."
Another friend stopped bathing with her son when he started pooping in the tub - on purpose as a joke.
Some households - gay or straight - are just naked households as in everyone sees everyone else naked all the time. The household I grew up in was the opposite of a naked household. We rarely saw each other without at least six different layers of clothing on.
My own home is somewhere in between. I change in front of Betsy and will shower with her if she can promise not to grab my breasts.
"I can't promise today," she's been known to say.
It's not just my breasts she's titillated (I had to) by. If Betsy knows someone within a 30-mile radius of our house is naked she will make an all out effort to see them. She's interested in it all: breasts, vaginas, penises. Though she's especially obsessed with comparing the size of women's breasts. Her life's dream is to attend a mammogram with me.
"Please please can I go watch them smash your bobbies?"
"Children are not allowed to watch mammograms."
"Then I'm going to become a mammogram giver."
"You want to be a doctor?" The Jewish mother in me was thrilled. "You'd be a great doctor."
"No I want to give mammograms."
She wants to be a technician. That's fine too.
I think it's about stimulation. If a child is over-stimulated by something it's likely not appropriate. And that can vary from child to child, moment to moment.
It's up to us as parents to keep up and adjust accordingly.
Of course as a lesbian I'm a bit paranoid about at-home nudity, as if the biggest fear of the religious is just this: a house full of bare naked vaginas, children over and over again exposed to middle-age muff.
Why that would be damaging and households sporting sagging scrotums wouldn't be, I can't say.
The real issue is this: at some point our children will be repulsed by the site of us naked. And that my friends is likely the time when we must close up shop.