Naked Baby

[twitter]”Daddy! Try and eat my bum!” Charlie will squeal at least a few times a week as he rushes up the stairs to get ready for bed. He giggles and laughs as he races me, the bum eating monster, up the stairs. It’s a sure fire trick to get the kids to go to bed. If they linger too long downstairs, I’ll bet that I can eat their bum before they get up to their room and the chase is on.

It’s just one of those silly games parents play. Like Naked Baby.

After the boys get their clothes off to hop in the bath or get in their jammies, they’ll run the length of the upstairs hallway screaming “Naked Baby!” It was something we started when the boys weren’t yet walking. We’d chase their naked crawling bums around the bedroom screaming “naked baby! naked baby! naked baby!” until they inevitably peed themselves from giggling so hard.

As the boys are older, once a month or so, I will shock everyone in the family with a “Naked Daddy!” run around the upstairs. Do I do it to teach my kids a lesson? Is there some grand scheme of body acceptance? No. I’m just being an embarrassing ass in front of my kids and trying to make them laugh.

It works every time.

The issues around body acceptance and parental nudity have hit the blogging headlines this week after an article in The Huffington Post by Rita Templeton (Fighting Frumpy) extolled one parent’s reason for letting her kids see her naked.

She’s taken the full force of the internet since “Why I Want My Sons to See Me Naked” was published. While her reasoning of wanting her sons to appreciate a “real” female form before they are exposed to the airbrushed perfection of plastic surgery was noble, people have taken it the wrong way.

Because internet.

Her “wanting her sons to see me naked” thesis basically boils down to not being embarrassed about her body. She’s not actively hiding in closets, closing doors, and being modest. She’s being real because “right now, for these few formative years, my flab is their one and only perception of the female body. And I want them to know that it’s beautiful, even in its imperfection.”

I understand what she’s trying to do, to make the naked body not such a big deal and to appreciate we all come in different shapes and sizes. Do I take such a measured approach to my parenting with my “Naked Daddy!” game? No. I’m just trying to be silly.

But Rita’s ideals have segued to another issue I deal with around the boys, and it relates to privacy and their bodies, and being naked in public after swimming lessons.

The men’s shower at our pool is an open room. There are nozzles all around spraying into the middle. When you’re showering, you’re on display. I did have one issue with some older kids making fun of Zacharie after swim lessons one time, and I barked that down fiercely. For the most part, though, it’s no big deal. The boys see young, old, big, small, black, brown, white men.

Nudist

But sometimes they stare. It usually happens when one of them is done showering and sitting on a bench waiting for me to finish up with the other. I turn around to find them dazed off as their eyes are riveted at the crotch of a stranger. I get it. Things are different. The business parts of people are different, and they’re examining the world around them. But the staring.

I lean in and whisper and ask them to think about how they would feel if someone was staring at them. I ask them to remember to give people privacy and to respect everyone’s bodies. I’m not trying to shame being naked, I’m trying to make being naked a natural thing, and nothing to be ashamed of – but something that is private and deserves some modesty when around others that are naked.

Would me lecturing my kids about my “Naked Daddy!” game help them to stop from staring? Would walking around naked more often cause them to make it not such a big deal to see naked people? I’m not sure. Rita’s doing what works for. I’m doing what works for me. You’re doing what works for you. And we’re all just trying to teach our kids a little respect for each other, and themselves.

Images via Todd Morris and Jeremy Page

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