With a six-year age difference between our oldest to our youngest we currently are experiencing an interesting dichotomy in developmental phases. I know that our sweet baby Lilina is truly a toddler now because she has entered the “naked phase.” Meanwhile, my almost 8- and almost 6-year-olds have finally discovered modesty.
I think many, if not most parents, would recognize the naked phase. For some odd reason at 2 they just don’t want to be dressed anymore. I think it’s because taking off their clothes is something they can finally control.
Lilina particularly likes to take her pajamas off and on. We put on her pajamas at night and while we’re finishing up with the other two, she strips herself back down to her diapers. She wants to run around in her towel that looks like Elmo. She wrestles and squirms and yells “No!” when we try to redress her.
We started a music class and last week she decided she didn’t need to wear pants during the class. I looked over and she was pulling off her pink sweatpants. I tried repeatedly to put them back on her but she wouldn’t have it. She would scream at each attempt. It was all ladies and little babies in the class and her diaper was covered by one long-sleeve onesie so I just gave in. (I know, I know. Bad mommy!)
Later that week I was trying to figure out what size dress to buy her at a store. I pulled off her top to see if the 24-month size was big enough and when I tried to redress her, she ran away and flopped around on the floor. Meanwhile, the sales ladies were loving her toddler tummy.
Friday when I took her out of her crib after nap, I realized she had taken off her pants, taken off her slightly wet diaper and put her pants back on inside out sans her diaper. (This may be a toilet training readiness sign as well.)
I think Lilina is just gearing up in this phase. When Rose and Walsh were this age, the nakedness was all day long. (Let me qualify naked by saying I insisted that everyone wore underwear or a diaper.) We would start the day out dressed but after preschool it was just a free for all. I didn’t care enough to fight with them about it. I’ll battle to the death to make sure they eat their vegetables or drink their milk, but I really don’t care if they’re not dressed as long as no one else sees them.
At the same time that our youngest has embraced her nakedness, our two oldest are really focused on keeping their bodies covered in front of us and especially in front of each other.
I think this focus on privacy and modesty has developed in part from lessons at school. They talk a lot at school, even in kindergarten, about keeping private parts private!
These talks have lead to Walsh becoming the nudity police for the family.
Every now and then Rose is thinking about something else and comes prancing naked through the hallway on her way to the bathtub. This now elicits a scream from Walsh “Rose is showing her private parts!”
He’s even gotten onto me before. I stepped out of the shower and went to help him do something in his room. Since they had been so focused on privacy I had wrapped a towel around myself. When I got in his room, he said “Mom you are showing your private parts.” I said, “Where?” And he pointed to my breastbone and top of my chest which is WAY above my breasts. (Believe me, way above!) I said, “That’s not private parts. That’s OK to show. People see that in a bathing suit.” He said “Oh.” He’s obviously still figuring out what’s really a private part.
While I completely agree that modesty is important and at this age probably appropriate for our family, I am a little sad that a little of our openness and innocence has ended. I am glad I still have one little person running around in her diapers and we don’t have to worry about what she sees or shows – at least not yet.
Do you remember the naked phase? Were your OK with it or did you keep trying to get them redressed? When did your kids discover modesty? How old were your kids when everyone started to cover up?
You can reach Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ideas, comments and dilemmas for the community are all welcome.