Sunday, January 22, 2012

No Shame

Sophia has no shame.

For now.

Carrying her in my arms, running to make a doctor’s appointment, Sophia passed gas. Long and loud.

“Sophia! You just farted on me!” I exclaimed.

“No, mommy. That was just my butt saying hello to your arm.” Nice. Hello to you too.

She dances around naked save for a pair of sunglasses and several strands of beads slung about her neck and tells me she’s a puma.

And just today, in front of the neighbors she stripped off a Simba costume to reveal nothing but princess panties underneath. “I’m in my underwear! Nothing but my underwear under here!” she sang.

This is about to change. I can feel it.

Kevin noted that the sign outside the Jewish Community Center locker rooms, read: No children of the opposite sex allowed over the age of three. “They got that exactly right.” Kevin said, because just yesterday at breakfast, when Kevin was fully dressed standing and eating his Raisin Bran, Sophie sang, “I see your penis. I see your penis.” I can only imagine what she’d say if she saw a whole bunch of them, exposed, on elderly Jewish men.

But, just the other day, when we were visiting “the boyfriends” she decided she wanted to change from her everyday clothes into a princess gown. Rather than stripping on the spot, as she has always been known to do, she gathered up her royal robes and disappeared into the bathroom. Reid followed, but she shut the door in his face, telling him, “I need my privacy.”


I consulted with my friend Elisa, who has two children a little farther down the road of life. They slept over last night.

“When did your kids first start to experience a sense of shame?” I asked her as her eight-year-old son, Marc, disappeared upstairs to change into his pajamas, unobserved.

She looked thoughtfully at the ceiling, trying to recall. “I think it was about six that he first started telling me he needed his privacy.” I exhaled. That was still two years away.

“And Julian?” He’s six now.

“Oh gosh, he still has yet to become self-conscious. I don’t know if he’ll ever hit that point.”

Just then, Sophie whipped off her Rapunzel dress and slipped on her heart pajamas as Julian stood by hopping from foot-to-foot, taking no notice of her semi-nude state, wanting only for her to hurry up so they could snuggle together and read a bedtime story.

I know it can’t last forever. But I hope, when modesty comes, that it’s not because she’s embarrassed of how her body looks or what it does, but simply because she has learned a social norm. I hope that she’ll play by the rules, carefully relegating the private to the private, but that deep down, she will always be…a puma.

1 comment:

Sheri said...

My son Merrick just celebrated his third birthday with a party. Our house was full of guests, mostly other moms with kids he's played with before. Prior to the party, Joe and I prepared Merrick, and we asked him to make sure he asked for help putting his underwear back on after he goes potty.(He just goes without announcing it these days)... Lo' and behold, sometime right before cake, he came running downt he hall and into the living room with just a shirt on. Penis flapping with every leg movement and all the moms just nodded. I also have started to not dress in front of him. I ask him to leave my room when I need to take my shirt off, so I think he may start doing the same thing.