Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Naked and the Nude

My kids like to get naked. A lot.

I see no problem with that. They're kids. They're little. Like, really little. They're all skinny with big fat baby bellies sticking out. They're ridiculously pink.

I say, whatever. Let them wait a few years before they figure out that being naked = bad in our society. That naked = wrong. They don't get that. They know that when you go somewhere you have to wear clothes. But they don't know that it's because we're ashamed of what's underneath. And I'm glad they don't know.

They have no shame. At all. They will strip down and run screaming around the house at the drop of a hat. Also around the yard. And/or the neighborhood. They seem to kind of enjoy it. I will admit - I think it's pretty cute. They're like little brown barbaloots in their barbaloot suits.

My ILs don't seem to share my fondness for this little idiosyncrasy. Every time one of them sees a Naked Girl, the first thing I hear is always "Where are your pants?! Your diaper?! Your choneys?! Get Some Clothes On, Girl!" I don't quite get why this freaks them out so much. Are you offended by their teeny tiny tushies? Is it the flagrant display of vulva? Could there be a *less* sexual display of nudity?

They do some funny stuff, though, which I'm filing away for when they grow up and bring home boys I don't like. For example, as soon as she pulls her clothes off, Tank demands that we inspect her belly and exclaim about how big it is, and then she pinches her nipples. The Bear does the same thing, which is where I think she got it from. I don't know where the Bear learned that, though. She likes to look at her belly after she eats to see how big it is. She's so happy when it gets all round! I took a picture of Tank pinching her nipples, and if the Internet wasn't a gathering place for every pedophile between here and Saskatchewan, I would post it for you here. Also perhaps the one of a young Jane, about three, sitting buck naked on my rocking horse, riding hell bent for leather with my underwear on my head. My dad has a framed print of that one on his desk at work.

The other day I was on a field trip at an art museum with a bunch of twelve-year-old girls. We happened to browse through an exhibit which featured one or two very tasteful nude pictures. They weren't the focus of the pictures - they just happened to be *in* the pictures. Anyway, some of the girls were all freaking out. Ew, gross, how can you look at that, why would you put something like that in public, how can you call that art, it's so gross, etc. And I was so sad. I bet their parents never let them run around naked as children! I finally had to give them the "everyone's naked under their clothes" speech. A few of the girls were very cool about it - if you don't like it, that's okay. You don't have to look at it. Nobody's forcing you. But it's just a body - everyone has one. I was really proud of them.

Anyway, I'm trying to keep my kids from becoming ashamed of their bodies. And it's not easy around here, that's for sure. Am I being silly? Do your children run around naked? Does it bother anyone?

1 comment:

Julie said...

Orange and Apple don't have a lot of control over it yet, but Raisin loves to run around naked.

I try not to let it bother me, but my main issue is that it's JANUARY in MINNESOTA and she must be cold.

Still, you're right -- I don't want to make her self-conscious, just self-aware, so I try to let her be at least some of the time.