Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On Modesty

We were gathered around the dinner table as we are most nights, passing the ketchup and re-capping our day in between commands to SIT DOWN! DONT TOUCH YOUR BROTHER! and EAT SOMETHING!...

Earlier that afternoon my nieces and nephews had been over and I noticed the Squirt relieving himself in the bathroom while his female cousins were about a foot away washing their hands. He has a sister and they have two brothers, so it wasn't a complete catastrophe, but I quickly shooed the girls out of the room and reminded him that "when we're doing private things we should always have privacy, even if it's just our family around."

Later on that same day Sweet B came out from her bedroom minus pants and asked a friend we had over (an adult male friend) if he could help her change her shirt - in her defense the shirt had a tight collar.

So dinner seemed like a good time to have a family dialogue about bodies and boundaries. I gave B Daddy the "I'm going in" head nod and began a thorough but brief explanation about respecting our bodies as well as other peoples' right not to see our naked body.

Me: "So Elijah - when you go to the bathroom what should you always do? 

Elijah: "Moooooom! (Eye roll) Close the door so no one can see you. If you're gonna show your private parts you should be in your room or the bathroom."

Me: "That's right! Now Britain, if you want to change your clothes where can you do that?"

Britain: "Well, if you have an itch on your heinie and you have pants on, you can scratch it wherever you are, but if you're NOT wearing pants, you should go to the bathroom." 

Me: "Ummmmm- close enough."

I was pretty pleased with the way I deftly maneuvered around the nuances of the topic. Definitely don't want to create kids with body shame around here! We went back to our regularly scheduled conversation and finished dinner. Before getting up to take my plate to the sink, I pulled our just-nursed babe off my exposed-breast and handed him to B Daddy to burp.

It took us far longer than it should have to recognize the irony of the situation given the lecture I'd just laid down.

I just can't imagine where the kids' lack of boundaries comes from.
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