26 January 2007

the n-word

No, not that N-word. This is a family blog! But Evan has a new favorite word, one that begins with N, and at first, it was cute and adorable. Now it's making me want to rip my hair out. The word?


Every day, multiple times a day, we have battles over the N-word. Every diaper change comes with a plea to be naked. Every change of clothing comes with cries to be naked. And every time he does get naked, for a bath or a combined diaper and clothing change? Chaos. Trying to put that kid into a diaper and clothes when he is naked is like wrestling a tiger.

Letting him play naked makes him very happy. Of course, letting him play naked means he usually pees on something. One time that "something" was our bed, which resulted in us limitiing the nudity. But let me tell you, once you've gone naked, it's hard to go back.

On top of this, every time Evan asks to be naked, James asks to be naked. James is now at an age where we're trying to discourage the public nudity. We're trying to teach him about privacy and modesty and respecting other people's desires not to see a naked five-year-old running around. This is especially important when we are visiting relatives, where certain males who are not directly related to us tend to get very uncomfortable seeing James naked. We're also trying to explain that there is a difference between being naked for a few minutes during a diaper or clothing change, and just tearing your clothes off and running wild.

So in addition to Evan screeching "I WANT NAKED! I WANT NAKED!" we have James whining, "Why can't I be naked? Evan gets to be naked. I want to be naked tooooooo!" And it seems kind of silly, because in our house we don't really have any issues with nudity. We're all pretty comfortable with it. But I don't like to encourage running around naked just for the heck of it.

What to do? On the one hand we want them to be comfortable with their bodies, but on the other hand, we want them to be considerate of other people. On the one hand, I'm getting so tired of listening to the whining and crying to be naked all the time, but on the other hand I don't want to give in to whining and crying.

Sigh. Nudity. Who knew that this would be a complicated parenting issue one day?


kim said...

I wonder if it would help to give them a short, designated period of "naked time" every day. You could make it for a limited period of time and in a limited space (thus limiting who could see or where they might pee). The boys get to have their time of freedom and nudity, while you make it clear (especially to James, who can understand) that there are times and places where this isn't okay. It might help him learn more about boundaries and we can hope that it might eliminate some of the whining.

Anonymous said...

i have no advice, but i do have a little tale. A few years ago jacob (like all children) wanted to be naked all the time. he was running around naked one day and straddling a railing or something of the sort. my mother cautioned him say, "jacob be careful of your pee-pee you might need that some day if you ever want babies." to which my witty little bro replied exasperated, "ummm mom, girls have babies, boy's don't"
maybe not a lesson in clothing, but it sure was a lesson in reproduction.

karen said...

Hmm. I'm trying to remember how it is I came to understand when naked time is and isn't "okay," 'cause, goodness knows, I was (am?) a fan of nudity. I know with Tess and Brandon (my babysittees), Brandon gave in to wearing costumes is all else failed, but really was more enthusiastic about clothes he got to pick...which I know you already do for James. Tessa finally started wearing clothes when I explained that was the only way I would let her come with me to pick up Brandon, go to the library, etc. Gradually, this carried over to home-life, as well. I also had the added benefit that she liked to pick clothes that matched mine...some of the novelty of a babysitter vs. a parent.
Kim's suggestion is a great one, as well. Life is all about the balance of boundaries and freedoms, after all.

Good luck! Miss you guys!

and rudeness said...

"once you've gone naked, it's hard to go back."

Like I havent heard THAT before...

Oh geez, I myself have trouble keeping my daughter in her pants but nothing quite as extreme as your boys!

I wish I had some great cure for you! It understandable that you dont want to make your boys ashamed to be naked... but at the same time, not naked all the time.

Would they think it was awesome to wear pajamas during the day? Because that may be out of the norm? Like it was a treat or something?

Pffft, I hope it gets better! Or they learn a new word?