Any parent of little children understands the fundamental loss of any type of privacy or personal space. It starts when they’re infants and you have got to take a pee but dear god you just got the kid to fall asleep and if I put him/her down now the screaming will resume so I’m just going to hold him/her while I tinkle and you only need one hand to wipe, right? Before you know it, they’re walking and they’re your shadows and they just kind of follow you anywhere and everywhere. Then they’re talking, and everything is deserving of commentary. That’s when it gets….uncomfortable. But they’re little so you can’t just lock them out, particularly when they’ve really started throwing down with their baby brother over the tea set. An almost-20 lb weight advantage is huge when you’re not quite 4 feet tall.
Mommy, why do you have hair on your butt? (Butt in this instance is actually my hoo-ha, but it’s all in the butt-type-region so who cares when you’re talking about it?)
Mommy, you’re tee-teeing! I can hear it!
You have long boobies.
You’re pooping. I have to poop, too.
It’s stupid and annoying but it’s all natural, right? So you just roll with it. There is no alternative other than to hold your urine and bowels until they go to sleep (in 16 hours) or revert back to junior high gym class clothing changing techniques, whereby you manage to put a shirt on underneath another shirt without exposing skin. But you were 13 then, and much more flexible…
Just when you reach acceptance of this kind of thing (although you dream of the day in the next 3 years when you can mandate bathroom privacy, damn it, because girls and boys and mommies and daddies need private time to attend to personal matters), there’s a new wrinkle: periods.
I just can’t handle that kind of discussion or running monologue. I can just hear it now:
Mommy, you have a giant bo-bo! You need a band aid!
Mommy, why is your butt bleeding?
Mommy, is that a diaper?
Mommy, you need to cut that string.
Already, she’s been reading the box on the back of the commode: Mommy? What’s a “tame-pone?” I usually ignore her or quickly mumble something about grown-up stuff.
When I got my first period, my mom took me out for dinner. We had Chinese. It was a special “coming of age” kind of moment. I loved it, particularly after reading all of those Judy Blume books. I’ve already told Will I’ll be doing something like that with Stella. But y’all: I am not prepared for a Judy Blume moment with a 4 year old.
It’s that delicate dance of not wanting to create weird body issues/ hang-ups and GETOUTOFMYFACESOICANCHANGEMYSANITARYPROTECTIONDAMNIT. Other moms? Input? Advice?