Suburban Snapshots

Uninhibited

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So listen, I'm no patchouli-wearing hippie. I shave my armpits, wash my hair, and think Birkenstocks are what Jesus would probably wear for his Flintstones cameo. I say this because when I tell you that I do and will continue to let my 2-year-old daughter run around naked, you don't suddenly picture me living on a commune in the Adirondacks practicing free love and herding goats.

Anna is naked a lot. She prefers to paint in the nude — the photo here is one of my favorites. Ninety percent of her visits to the bathroom end in pantsless antics. She spends naked time in the back yard, at my mother's house, at close friends' homes, at the dinner table. She jumps on the bed naked, chases the dogs naked, demonstrates her gymnastics acumen naked, and when asked to put her undies or pajamas on, she usually complies.

I don't remember the last time I felt totally comfortable undressed, in my own dimpled skin. I only walk nude through my own home if I've forgotten a towel, and that's more an ungraceful, hunched-over sprint. Sure, part of that has to do with our enormous picture window and the local police presence, but mostly, age and insecurity have sapped most of that brazen confidence, my body image taking a hit with each passing year.

Inevitably she'll feel this way too. As Anna grows she'll feel too skinny, or maybe too plump. She'll wonder if her skin is clear enough, she'll wish her beautiful, curly hair were pin straight (mark my words, people). She'll shave and wax and pick and pluck, study every dent in her skin, every crease, each pore. If I do my job right, this will pass, and eventually she'll come to an agreement with her body, she'll learn to dress it, treat it well, maybe even love it sometimes.

So for now, while her horizons expand and her world necessarily becomes less under her control, I'm letting her stay blissfully unaware that not everyone eats waffles in their birthday suits. I'm letting her live a safe, happy, and uninhibited childhood, and I'm hoping not to accidentally raise some sandal-wearing hippie.

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