From the time my kids were able to dress themselves, they've loved to do one thing: undress themselves.
And stay that way. Naked as freshly hatched baby birds. As often as possible.
It isn't like I don't provide them with plenty of wardrobe choices, or make them wear things that are ridiculous or tight or scratchy — they have drawers and closets full of comfortable, wearable outfits. Stuff that's easy to put on and softer than pajamas. Stuff that's festooned with pictures of their favorite characters from the shows they watch over and over. Stuff I've let them pick out themselves, even against my better judgment (a pair of Mario and Luigi printed shorts comes to mind). So for the life of me, I can't understand why they insist on wearing these things for as little time as they can before casting them off like they're preparing for life in a nudist colony.
Naked as freshly hatched baby birds. As often as possible.
It started with my oldest son. I remember the end of his first day of kindergarten: he walked in the door, directly stripped naked from the waist down except for his shoes, and passed out on the couch. Now, I'm not saying I don't understand the allure of being comfy in your own space – that's exactly why my shoes and bra come off as soon as possible when I get home. But what I don't get is how, exactly, being completely bare improves your experience when you're watching TV or pooping or eating dinner or playing a video game.
I'm not sure my kids could offer a valid explanation, either, yet they're all staunchly devoted to their clothing-optional lifestyle. I thought it was a phase they'd outgrow, but it's been, like, 10 years now. I'm holding onto hope that by the time they're teenagers they will have at least embraced the concept of, you know, wearing underwear.
But for now, when the doorbell rings unexpectedly at my house, it's a crazed scramble to the nearest dresser to grab whatever will most quickly cover "the goods." So when company is over, instead of seeing my adorable children dressed in coordinated, size-appropriate outfits, they'll typically see my kids wearing something they snatched out of whoever's drawer was handiest. No, those aren't clamdiggers . . . my 7-year-old just happened to put on his 4-year-old brother's pants. Thanks to the windows that flank either side of our front door, the UPS guy, the mail lady, and the dude who delivered our pizza last week have all been treated to the sight of a bare butt (or two) streaking madly up the stairs.
The UPS guy, the mail lady, and the dude who delivered our pizza last week have all been treated to the sight of a bare butt (or two) streaking madly up the stairs.
My husband and I are so accustomed to our kids being in the buff that we hardly even notice anymore. That is, until we get an unexpected eyeful of "the brown eye" while they're playing. Or when we take an adorable photo for Instagram, only to notice that there's a full-frontal shot happening in the background. Or when we just realize that, damn, there's a penis perched directly on the upholstery. (Hang on a minute while I dial Stanley Steemer.)
Ironically, their penchant for prancing around in nothing but skin doesn't cut down on my laundry – because even if they've only worn a garment for 30 seconds, it's considered "dirty" and tossed into the hamper (or, more frequently, on the floor). And if I can't tell with complete certainty that it's clean, I err on the side of caution and wash it anyway, which means I probably do approximately 75 percent more washing than I actually need to.
It's not that I haven't tried to teach them about modesty and privacy. But apparently the statement "put some clothes on" is about as impactful as, say, "lift the seat" or "brush your teeth" or "don't wipe boogers on the wall" — which are also things I've said until I'm blue in the face, yet I find myself continually reminding them despite that. I guess some habits die hard, but I figured this one would be easier to break. Apparently I was mistaken.
You never imagine that you'll ever have to enforce such a preposterous rule as "no pants, no dinner" . . . but then you have kids.