In Our Birthday Suits

What is it with toddlers taking their clothes off? Some days, we’re lucky to put them on in the first place. My kids become manic when they’re naked, and usually follow stripping with running in mad circles around the house. It’s like an Indy 500, with less protection and all the crashes. Yet, no matter how many skinned knees and bruised chins we have, everyone still refuses to put their clothes back on.

One day, Mr. Twin took it a step further and, in one swift move, ripped off his diaper and peed on my living room carpet. This was not a moment visualized in any of my sweet daydreams about having a child. He soon learned that his Houdini skills didn’t extend to duct tape.

Another day, both twins had poopy blowouts at the same time, and stripping for a bath was the only possible solution. While waiting in the buff for the tub to fill, Mr. Twin let loose and peed on Miss Twin’s feet. The image of his fascinated face and her horrified one, while she hopped from foot to foot and said, “Ewwwww!” was so priceless that I regret we don’t have it on video for blackmail during their darkest teenage years!

Now, we’re gearing up for potty training, and since we’re facing two at the same time, I realize that I spent far too much energy and angst on my eldest’s potty accomplishments. There’s guaranteed to be a lot more nakedness and accidents on my carpet in the next year, and since there’s not much to be done about it, I’m going to chill out and buy extra big rolls of paper towel. I think it’s pretty amazing that human beings progress so far in our first five years of life, when we start out with the same challenges as a puppy learning how to be housebroken!

After my experiences as a nurse and with three small children, I’ve noticed that most adults are uncomfortable with their bodies and the necessary processes. When my eldest asked an embarrassing question in her loudest voice in the middle of the YMCA locker room, I cringed and wanted to stuff myself inside the locker. Why? She was innocent of all the adult implications, and to her, it was no different than asking why the sky is blue. After all, our bodies are the most fascinating things that we have control over. It’s natural and good that she understands how hers works. I know one of my parenting jobs is to teach my kids about appropriate body conversation and behavior. (We learned that teaching our first little toddler to say “Good push” when someone burped was funny when she was 2, but not the wisest parenting decision for the long term.) However, I think that kids pick up on adult discomfort, and it fuels their fire to either become uncomfortable themselves, or to act out to get a reaction. For now, I’ll try to answer my kids’ questions matter of factly, and to their level of understanding. My 4 year old has a book written by Dr. Ruth, titled, “Where Did I Come From?” Apparently, it wasn’t hidden well enough, because she found it one day when she was 3 and I found her giggling at the anatomy pictures. Again, in all my daydreaming about having a child, I never visualized a conversation about the birds and the bees at age 3! But I learned that day that her questions were simple, so my answers could be simple. Whew. I still have time to work up to that one.  

I admit that my household may be more open than usual about body function, with both parents in the medical field and the unusual situation of a paralyzed dog who needs help with pottying. Producing results for the dog involves a Q-tip and getting much more personal with the poor dog’s posterior than anyone should. While in the process one day, I looked up to find three children lying on the floor next to me, noses only inches from the activity at hand. Miss Twin grabbed a Q-tip and said, “I do it myself?”

In all my daydreaming about having a child, I never, ever imagined having to answer that one.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beth derozier
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 13:00:44

    I will always remember fondly when, in a moment of just out of the shower weakness, I let my now 9 year old frolick naked so that I could enjoy her precious 18 mo old butt. Well, she was just tall enough so sit on her fave toy piano, but when she stood up this time,there was a present, that she managed to drop, step in and track across the living room before I could spring from my knees in my old age and catch her. It was worth it, though, because little butts never get any cuter.

    Reply

  2. abbyplambeck
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 22:29:33

    Beth, what a priceless story! And when do you share it with her? 😉

    Reply

  3. jasmeet sidhu
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 17:02:46

    Abby I know what exactly you are talking about….. I call it “Simi’s naked tribal dance”. I am not sure what gets her going, whether its the repressed memories of the primitive ape-age that automatically get decoded or its the freedom that comes with not having to feel any restriction in any cracks or corners…I’ll never know, But what I do know is that when she is naked she makes sure she is noticed….IN A BIG WAY!!!. Her performance is better than any Indian tribal dance that I have seen( and I have seen more than a few back-home), running in circles, beaming with pleasure, up and down the couch, shaking her head like she is engaged in some sort of voodoo performance. She is definitely on some kind of a high that doesn’t go away till the time the full set of clothes are on, not just the underpants, not just the shirt, but the craziness lasts till she is fully clothed……And after reading your super fun story its good to know she is not the only one doing the crazy b’day suite dance 😉

    Reply

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