Or why kids can’t seem to keep their clothes on.
By Js Kendrick
“Why are you naked?” I found myself asking that question the other day. I don’t have to ask that question as often anymore as my little children get older, but on occasion, I still have to ask. On rarer occasions I’ve had to ask the same question to my millennials. Luckily they’ve moved out, so I don’t have to ask that question anymore. Well I certainly hope I don’t have to ask that anymore.
This time I was asking that question to my 4-year-old niece. The bigger question was why I was so surprised in the first place. She, in turn, looked at me as if I was a complete idiot and answered in the polite’s tone possible.
“We’re playing dress up.” Duh! Uncle Jon, you’re really slow sometime, was the look in her eyes. I had to point out that yes, we have costumes downstairs in our basement playroom, and yes, you are allowed to play dress up. But no, removal of undergarments is not a requirement for dress up. In fact, you can keep your clothing on and just put the costumes over your clothes. I received dirty looks from my niece as she dressed. My two little ones, received dirty looks from me, they knew the rules, thankfully they were mostly dressed.
I’m not a prude, but I tend to keep my clothes on. You know, except for showers, but even then I have stepped into the shower without disrobing before. In my defense it was 5 a.m. and I’m a 2nd shift person. Kind of like putting the milk away in the cupboard moment.
My two littles one, and good god I hope my oldest two, know that clothing is not optional at home. But it happens, the naked Nick coming out into the living room after a bath telling us he doesn’t have underwear.
“Did you check your drawer?” His mother will ask.
“Oh yeah!” naked Nick will say and we watch his naked butt walk back to his room. My wife and I exchange looks and try not to giggle.
“Put your clothes on!” Is a common enough phrase from my wife. Luckily, modesty is kicking in lately. So I hear it less. But…
If you have children, invariably they will be naked at some point in time. That’s how you got them originally and for some odd reason they prefer it. It is almost as if disrobing is a childs act of civil disobedience or they just find it fun. Not sure which, maybe both.
Sometimes it’s just practical for a child to be naked. Take my daughter Kayla, who at the age of 4 (must be something about that age) was doing dishes. Okay she was playing in the water and pretending to do dishes. I thought it was cute, took a picture with my 35mm camera. Then a bit later I notice she had her top off. Eh, no biggie.
I don’t think it was much more than 5 minutes after her top came off that everything else came off. Kayla was now doing dishes in the buff. She told me she didn’t want to get her clothes wet, even though they were wet already. I being the good parent, and for posterity, took a picture, you know, of her backside.
Side note: Yes, I used that picture as blackmail for future boyfriends.
Flash forward about 10 years later and as I walked into our living room, just after finishing dishes, (might be a connection there) I see my oldest Jenelle, in an open bath towel, flashing her sister Kayla. I stop dead, looked at Jenelle and ask her why she did that.
“I didn’t know you were coming into the living room!” Was her answer. I had to remind her that I still live here, so walking into my living room wasn’t uncommon. The two were giggling like they were both 4 again. And still, to this day, I haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer as to why Jenelle flashed Kayla. And I’m okay with that.
Before writing this post today I did do a little research on why kids like to be naked. You know, read some articles and stuff, this is what they said:
It’s a phase. It’s natural. Children find clothing confining. Your child is asserting their independence. Not sure on the last one. I’ve never taken my clothes off to vote, but hey, I may be in the minority here.
I really didn’t find a consensus for children being naked. Other than they prefer nudity from time to time. A shocking find, since I have four children.
Then there is my grandson BenBen, he will disrobe on car trips. My daughter has to make sure the windows are up and locked or those poor souls following her will get size 5t clothing on their windshields. I think the shoes hitting the windshields might be a bigger concern, but that’s just my opinion. She gets a little distraught by this behaviour, and me telling her its normal and that he is just ‘asserting his independence because he’s not yet 18 and voting is out for a while’ just gets me dirty looks. At least being buckled in, the nudity is confined to shirt, shoes and socks.
One part of child nudity, apart from birth, which by the way is perfectly normal, is how you handle it. Most articles did suggest not screaming at the top of your lungs “Oh my god! What are you doing!?” that phrase should be left for times when your child tries to flush the family cat down the toilet. Then it’s okay to flip out.
They suggest it’s better to tell your child in a calm voice to dress; discussing appropriate times when it’s okay to be naked, like baths, getting ready for bed or school. They even suggest pouring yourself a stiff alcoholic beverage and shaking your head is deemed a correct response. (okay so I made up that last part.)
In truth it’s going to happen. Some kids like to disrobe more than others. Determining appropriate places, times, durations is really up to you. (Oh and Federal, State and Local legal ordinances.) But it’s not the end of the world. Unless all the children of the world do a sort of flash mob thing, then it might be a sign of the apocalypse.
Of course just wait until they are teenagers and start taking naked selfies. Then you can scream “Oh my god! What are you doing!?” and flush their phones down the toilet.
Your family cat will appreciate it.