In the Nude

I am at a strange cross-roads with Hannah. Issue of the day..."Nudity in the life of a child" Here's where we are today:

- She's 4 and a half
- She knows her "nipples", "pee pee" (I just never was able to teach her the word vagina. It's such a terrible word in my book and when I tried to teach it to her she was calling it her "Las Vegas" for weeks) and "tushie" are private and only her family can see these parts. She actually is very aware of this and will do her best to stay covered if ever there is a reason to strip her down in public.
- She can see me naked. And she is utterly and unabashedly curious about every part of my naked body.
- She can go into the bathroom with Tim while he pees. One morning a few months back she came RUNNING out of the bathroom where he was yelling, "Mommy, want to hear something really interesting? Daddy has, like, a little tail... IN THE FRONT!" This is when I started thinking MAYBE she was getting a little old to be with him in the bathroom. And Tim wasn't so thrilled that she included the word "little" in the sentence.
- She can bathe with Luke.
- She CANNOT go into the bathroom with either grandfather much to her chagrin. One of her grandfathers actually would NEVER allow it actually, even without my making the rule. But Hannah doesn't quite get the issue there.

So that's where we stand today. And here is where I've started to stumble with explanations that would make sense to her.

- She showers with me sometimes and she has started thinking it's funny to touch my "boobies" and Las Vegas. To her it's funny just like using the word "fart" brings on 20 minutes of hysterical laughing. I tried to explain that these parts are private but she doesn't understand if she can see them, why she can't touch them. "It feels different when you touch these parts" would bring on too many follow up questions. "They aren't clean" makes them seem like "bad" parts, plus the fact that we're in the shower wouldn't make sense to her. Any help here is appreciated!

- She has started touching Luke's "pee pee" which she knows is called a peNIS (that's how she pronounces it and then again breaks up in giggles). When she first learned the word penis she got confused between penis and peanut and just started calling it a NUT. This one entertained us for a good long time. You know it's cute when you don't even try to correct them because you don't want them to stop saying it. Like Hannah still calls the remote a morote and an umbrella a RUNbrella. Sorry, I digress. Hannah wanting to touch Luke in the tub makes him all the more curious about his penis and he starts stretching and pulling it like it's a piece of silly puddy. This just BOTHERS me. Is that NORMAL for him to want to pull it like that? Doesn't that HURT? This is when I want Tim to just take over. I'm not educated enough on the male anatomy to be able to deal with what to say or do... I tell Hannah she shouldn't encourage him to touch and pull it and she just thinks it's funny.

- When Hannah was 2 she did this dance where she turned around and stuck her tush out and waggled it back and forth. It was adorable. Then. She does it now though, and although it's still funny and silly, I try to explain that it's not polite. "But it's FUNNY mommy!" she says. And she actually added last time, "why do you have to be so serious?". Am I wrong to try to discourage her from wagging her naked tushy around at 4.5 years old? Should I just laugh and turn my cheek (ha! Get it? CHEEK?)? I don't want to pull the seriousness from her but I also don't want her to be THAT girl in 1st grade who thinks it's funny to lift up her shirt or pull up her skirt and do the tushy waggle, waggle dance.

Oh how I know I overthink these things. Tim has been telling me lately that I worry too much. I think there's a difference between worrying and wondering. I don't want to assume that everything is a phase that she'll just grow out of. I want to understand if I need to intervene at any point to teach what I feel is appropriate or not. I live half of a mile from a high school and SEE these girls and how they dress and act. Are the girls wearing the little belly shirts, skin tight jeans with their thongs hanging out the top BAD kids? I have no idea. But I DO know the impression I get from them. Are the girls wearing Oxfords and khakis GOOD kids? For all I know they are the ones stripping down and getting into real trouble, but at least they leave more to the imagination. I'm not WORRIED about Hannah (I mean for god sakes she's constantly paranoid that her tushie is hanging out of her underwear/bathing suit and won't wear any shirt/dress where her nipples are ANYWHERE near showing) but I wonder what lessons are appropriate to be taught now (and how to teach them) so I don't have to teach them when I know she won't listen.


Headless Mom said...

I remember all of that! Just keep a clear balance of what is for "in the house" or "with family only". She'll probably just naturally get a little more modest on her own as she gets older.

Or, you know, she may just end up being the one that gets "ran around the playground naked in first grade" written under her senior picture in the yearbook! (Kidding!)

Liz said...

Ohhhh, I so get it! I am currently trying to teach my oldest that it is not cute/funny/appropriate for him to shake his bare tushie (a.k.a. "vanilla cupcake" pet name for it) for anyone but me or Daddy! I have started the whole "private parts" talk...he thinks my "boobies" are hilarious, and he is fascinated by the fact that we pee differently. He is also now getting into a constantly touching himself Such a line between teaching appropriate behavior and giving the impression that some of it is "bad." AY!

Carrie @ Who Knew? said...

Holy cow, I have absolutely no thoughts or advice. My princess is only 10 months old but I'm already quite concerned about all of this. So yeah, I have no help but this post is hilarious. Ah, the little tail. How much fun is that gonna be.

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