There is a toddler in here somewhere. Naked.
My child loves to be naked. LOVES. I think more than the normal amount.
And he doesn’t just feel comfortable in his own skin. He also really loves his penis. I’ve heard that that’s pretty normal for a little boy. But it certainly makes for interesting events at our house. I honestly do not remember the last time I went through my day without having a discussion involving the word penis. As soon as we walk in the door everyday from wherever we have been, it is inevitable that he will ask, “Can I be naked now?”
Last week, we were waiting for the mobile vet to come to our house for our cats’ annual check up and shots. (Which is AMAZING. Mobile vets are the best idea ever. My cats have not been to the vet in three years because how in the world was I going to drag two cats and my son to a vet’s office? I am so glad I got this recommendation, because they were amazing and now my cats are healthy and I did not have to leave my house.)
But the entire time we were waiting for the vet to arrive, my son said, “Can I be naked now? Please!”
“No, love, we have to wait until after the kitty doctor comes. They will be here very soon.”
“And after the kitty doctor leaves I can be naked?”
I kid you not, the kid was naked within 30 seconds of the vet driving away.
He just can not stand the confines of clothing.
He watches TV naked. He sleeps naked. He eats naked.
It’s a really good thing that naked toddlers are so adorable, because around here there is no shortage of a naked toddler.
I have at least taught him that we can only be naked at home. He understands the need for clothing in public. And he knows we can only be naked in front of our family.
A couple of weekends ago, I had a fabulous girl’s weekend with a friend from college. We went out two nights in a row! (This is hugely significant for me. I rarely get to do anything fun.) Since the hubs was on night shifts and I was determined not to miss my weekend of fun, that meant that I had to get babysitters. The first night, I hired a sitter to come to our house. When I got home she had successfully managed to put him in pajamas. She’s a keeper. The next night, we went out to a movie with another friend of mine who has a boy the same age. Her husband said he would watch the kids. When we got back that evening, her kids were already in bed asleep and my son was watching TV on their couch. Her husband said he had told my little one to get comfy and he could lay down if he wanted to. To which my son replied, “I can’t get comfy here! I can only be naked at my house.” My friends husband was pretty shocked and tried to understand by asking my son if he could only be comfy if he was naked, to which my son said, “Yes, I love being naked!”
At least he’s honest. But it forced me to confess that yes, I do allow my child to sleep naked. And be naked a lot. You have to pick your battles, right? If my choice is naked or a tantrum, I’m going to go with naked.
Due to his frequent nakedness, my son is very aware of his body, and his favorite part is his penis. My days are often filled with comments such as, “Mommy, look at my penis!”
“My penis is so big!”
“Hey, Mommy, you know what? Sometimes penises are big and sometimes they are little.”
He often includes his penis in our games. A few days ago we were building a rocket to go to the moon, and we needed to put on pretend space suits. As we put on our space suits, I said, “Do you have on your space helmet?” My son replied, “Yes! And my space penis!” Obviously.
The most worrying statement came when my son said, “Mommy, touch my penis!”
I think he said this from genuine pride of his private part. He likes it so much that he just wanted to be nice and share it. He is never in a situation where I do not know his caretakers and he is rarely away from me, so I know he’s never been in a dangerous situation. I know his request was innocent. But it scared me.
I told him that his penis, his bottom and his body are just for him. They are not to share with anyone else. At first, he asked why and seemed kind of bummed out. But since then, with my repeated mantra, “Your penis/bottom/body is not for sharing,” he has begun to repeat it back to me and understand it as a rule.
Now he will randomly tell me, “Mommy? We can only be naked at my house. And my penis is not for sharing.”
I always respond with a very enthusiastic “That’s right!” and talking again about how important it is to keep our private parts private.
It’s a very fine line to walk between wanting my son to feel comfortable about his body and trying to protect him.
I assume that at some point, the naked all the time phase will pass. And if he can just remember the “We don’t share our penis” mantra until he’s married, I will be a happy Mommy.