Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why It's Great To Be A Toddler

"I like myself naked!"

The Barbarienne is a font of amusement when she's not a font of terror. (Actually, sometimes the two overlap, like an Evil Dead movie.)

In particular, she likes being naked. As did all her siblings. I never thought it was a good idea to shame a kid out of being naked, and was sort of curious if that meant I'd be raising a bunch of nudists. Naturalists? Whatever they call themselves these days.

I'm not anti-nudist, exactly, but I do think clothes are an essential matter of politeness. I think it's good that there has to be a context for nudity.

All bets are off if you're three, though.

I'm not sure what the cut-off point is, exactly, but there's nothing quite like the exuberance of a naked toddler. They've all gone through periods where running around naked was about the greatest thing they could imagine.

As it turns out, none of the kids have adopted nudism as a philosophy. Around six or seven, they all start to develop a sense of privacy about their bodies. Which I think is a good thing. (Though the rapidity with which they develop a sense of sovereignty over their bodies makes me not worried about "bad touches": My kids all started at about 18 months with doling out the hugs and kisses on their own terms; you don't want to be nearby when someone gives them an unsolicited pat on the head.)

I remember it being a problem for Calvin's parents (Calvin & Hobbes) but, then, he was perpetually six-years-old.

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