Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Nudie Booty -- Not So Cutie

I wasn't worried until I overheard the word "vagina".

The Mayor was playing in his room with his friend Adam when The Rooster and I got home.

Roo hurried in to play with them and the next thing I knew...

"Blah blah blah VAGINA blah blah blah."

I hurried to the room and found three-year old Rooster buck naked showing off her lady parts to the boys.

The Mayor was occupied with a game on his junior laptop.
"Adam suggested she take off her clothes," he said nonchalantly.

"He's lying," Adam countered from his Lego-fortified position on the opposite side of the room.

"No I'm not," The Mayor argued.


The Rooster stood there grinning, basking in her own glorious nudity.
"First, I showed them my butt! Then I took off my shirt!" she announced with pride.

You have never seen a child so proud of her own bare hindquarters.

The child was beaming.

I admit, as her parent, I was thrown.

On the one hand, I'm clear that I don't want to make her ashamed of her body.

On the other hand, I'd also prefer that she not end up being the girl who shows the boys her business under the bleachers.

I wracked my brain for an appropriate parental approach to the situation and all I could come up with was the memory of my friend Elke's not-so-successful experience trying to explain to her son why some things were private.

Gah! What to say?

I've got to turn to the broader Internet on this one...

What do I tell The Rooster?


Jenny said... comments yet.

My best guess...don't make a big deal about it. Prepare if she does it again but it sounds like an attention getting move.

Great story, very funny when its not your own child.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

At this point, appropriate behavior is more important than her naked self esteem.

In this day and age, I think people would be less tolerant of her behavior if she does this in an environment like school. It's just too suggestive and parents would be very fearful of the implications if THEIR child is in the room with her if she does this.
And she very quickly could be labeled as sexually precocious if tales are told . . . .yes, even at her age. THEN people start wondering WHY is she doing this?????

There is a big difference between delighting in one's healthy body and keeping it clean and fit as opposed to parading it around. She needs to know that and I think she already does. Calling her on it firmly ISNT going to make her hate her own body. (And considering her booty moves, exactly WHAT is she watching on tv???)

And respecting herself is very important, and learning how to say NO - especially if she is being egged on, if Adam really did tell her to do it.

You dont want her coming home with Mardi Gras necklaces stacked proudly around her neck do you? It starts here.

Jenn said...

That you love her sweet bootie, but that it's something only for mommy's and daddy's to see, no one else.

Then give it a big squeeze and kiss her face.

Anonymous said...


I have read your blog so often and laughed hysterically! My two girls are Rooster's age and 7 and I admit I have dealt with this too! Your previous anonymous post needs to calm done and maybe consider medication. She is 3, and obviously trying to be silly and get the boys attention. If you follow Jenn's advice, and explain that this is her body and we don't take off our clothes in front of others besides mom/dad etc and love her up. It doesn't need to be a big deal. It certainly doesn't mean she will be collecting Mardi Gras neklaces!

Keep up the fantastic writing!

Queen Karana said...

I think you've gotten some good advice - being "polite" and/or "appropriate" with our bodies is not (and should not) equated with "being ashamed" of our bodies.

Bodies are glorious - but they should only be shared with certain people at certain times. You, as the parents, can decide when that time is. Only at bath time? In the privacy of her own room? When only other family members are around? Never when "friends" are over? You get the idea...

The phrase "being polite" isn't really what I am looking for - but it does come to mind. There are certain things that just aren't considered to be polite "in public" or in certain situations. You only have to focus on when it is inappropriate for her to be flaunting her glorious young self. :)

I guess you already know this though... I'm not sure on HOW you tell her. Other than just being straight forward? Try not to make it a big deal. "Hey Roo! It's not really polite to pick our nose in front of other people." "Hey Roo! When other people are in our home, we need to leave our clothes on!" I dunno...

frogpondsrock said...

Bahahaha. You could have asked her if she wanted a bath?

Vodka Mom said...

wait, wait!!!!! I am laughing so hard right now! I can just see her proudly strutting her stuff!!!

Okay, then. I am so glad she is proud - have you have the private parts discussion?? I'm sure you'll get plenty of good advice from others- I'm still laughing over here. I LOVE that girl

matt said...

two things - you coul link it to other things that she agrees people shouldn't generally do in public. maybe nose picking, or coughing without covering your mouth, or something like that. also, you could basicly tell the truth - that it makes people uncomfortable when you do it in public, and either she or you could get in trouble. definitely emphasize that it's fine in private, it's just when other people are around that she should be considerate.

if those don't work... I expect that social pressures would exert themselves and eventually correct it on their own. I doubt nudists become nudists because their parents never told them they weren't allowed to go around naked. :]

TZT said...

Amen to Matt's comment. It's best posed as just another bit of social etiquette. If the onus of shame has land anywhere, let it land on society - not on her.

3carnations said...

We tell our son that anything covered up by his underwear is considered private, and he shouldn't show it to anyone but us or a doctor, and he should tell us if anyone has asked him to show it to them.

I don't think that will make her ashamed of her body - If anything, it will foster respect of both her body and other people's bodies.

jeanie said...

I agree overreaction is very important - you have had some great advice. There are private things and there are public things - clothes define the line.

Oh - and if my daughter came home from mardi gras with a few leis I would think I would still feel happy for her.

WaltzInExile said...

Other than to second the people who have said to make it just another etiquette rule, I have zilch for advice (but I'll be checking back for answers for myself since my girl is also 3 and rather fond of teh nekkid.)
(Unless that first anonymous poster continues to toss judgment around as advice.)

Kyla said...

BubTar pulled down his pants in a playland tube once. I told him the old standby, in public we don't show anything that would be covered by a bathing suit. Make it clear that it isn't about shame, but manners and privacy. Some things really are private, ya know?

Jodi said...

Oh man, is there a perfect or easy or right way to handle this? Nope. You know your kids best. You know how you want your family to be. No matter how you handle it, it will be the right thing for you and yours.

Maybe just say, "Let's keep our clothes on when guests/friends are here" and then leave it. Might never happen again. But should you also speak to the Mayor? Being older, maybe he would understand better and could intervene if a similar situation ever occurs.

My son mooned his entire preschool class when he was 4. They were calling each other "Butt!" so he said, "I'LL SHOW YOU A BUTT!" Yeah, I'm so proud.

jeanie said...

Oh my - oh my - addendum to my first comment.


Over here - Mardi Gras is about gay and lesbian pride.

When I told my US-born hubby about my comment, he raised his eyebrows and the US meaning of "Mardi Gras necklaces stacked proudly around her neck" became clear to me.

yuk! yuk! yuk! yuk!

I would like my daughter to be secure enough in her self and her body to chose her own path, but I really don't think flashing at 3 is the first entry on the highway to that - cause if it is my daughter is NEVER going to the States!!! (or to a B&S for that matter)

Apryl's Antics said...

From my experience, most children end up doing something along those lines. It certainly doesn't come from television. Sheesh. Unless, of course, Dora the Explorer was exploring other things when I wasn't watching.

Anonymous said...

First of all, some reassurance. I have a friend whose daughter loved to go buck naked and would strip off in the park. She outgrew it. And she shows no signs whatsoever of showing off under the bleachers. Those things are so different. A little tyke like the rooster is just glorying in her own self. The under the bleacher thing comes from the opposite impulse: feeling low, lack of other sources of attention. That is not the case with the rooster. It also won't harm her at all to talk about privacy with both kids. That way it isn't a girl thing. Kids have different attitudes about privacy that aren't a reflection of self-esteem one way or another. Some kids want to be covered up, others don't. But somewhere in the junior grades it all evens up.

Anonymous said...

I still have problems keeping my clothes on, usually after tequila is involved....I confess, I used to do stuff like pull my pants down in the furniture store when I was a kid. No reason, just seemed like a fun thing to do. I was always discreet about it, I would hide behind a couch or something but I remember doing it. I think I would not make a big deal about it, just explain it in a way that she will understand and not feel bad about herself or her body. Love your blog.

Honeybell said...

All four of our boys have a thing for being naked.

First, lock yourself in the closet until you're finished laughing.

Second, explain that they are called "private parts" because they are private. While it CAN be fun to be naked, it's best not to be when company is over, because then private parts just aren't private anymore.

Anonymous said...

OH my gosh. I hope it's okay that I have not stopped laughing. I have two kids, and it is important for me to help them be comfortable about their bodies - there will be so many other ways for me to screw them up, body image does NOT have to be one of them. But I am getting to the point with my son that I need to figure out how to teach him about modesty as well. But it's a little sad - a little bit more Childhood Innocence replaced by Big Kid Awareness.

Anyhow, I agree with the Public/Private stuff. We also bring God into it at our house - our bodies are a special gift, only to be shared with special people, yada yada.

But secretly I am a little envious of her delight and self-confidence, aren't you?

Miss Ash said...

The good news is that she's totally normal!!!

And I doubt there's really any bad news...

When my step gal, Kora, was 4, she was having a "problem" with lifting other little girls' skirts up at day care.

We try not to make cultural things like this a huge deal. And by cultural, I mean that in many other places this wouldn't be an issue... Basically, though, to reinforce the idea that their bodies are their own and should not be shared with other people...

Of course, once they reach the age where the Sex Conversation happens, it will be a very different conversation... but for now, I think it's important to teach modesty!! (Not to mention protect them from grown ups who aren't right.)

Anonymous said...

I have to admit to a little giggling over this. The only thing that bugs me is the older boy encouraging her to take her clothes off, but, I think kids are just naturally curious about one another. I remember being naked with my sister because we were just so curious. I remember my baby brother racing out of the bathtub and into the living room where my sister and I were, and just wiggling his naked weiner around yelling "THIS IS MY PENIS!!" as my mom ran up behind him trying not to laugh. Honestly I think it's just the way kids are, clothing covers up things that are interesting and they just want to know what's going on there.

Also, at three she calls it a vagina? I think I was still calling it a "birdie" at that point... hahaha!

Recovering Sociopath said...

Huh. Well, I think at three it's probably not a huge thing-- she's just getting to know herself and humans in general-- wow, other people have the same parts as I have or another set, isn't this interesting?

I'm guessing, at three, that a sufficient explanation for now would be something along the lines of "certain parts of you are private."

I do not think this invites shame. Why must we assume that if it ought to be covered up, it is shameful? Just because we hide the things we're ashamed of, it does not follow that everything hidden is shameful. So telling children that certain things are secret or private doesn't mean the kid will grow to be ashamed of herself.

Miss Grace said...

Explain that everyone, boys and girls and grownups, where clothes to keep themselves private. Don't otherwise make a big deal out of it, but be aware to stop it from happening again?

King Isepik said...

"Great! I'm glad you can remember your parts. I'm very proud of you. Those parts are also called provate parts because they are supposed to be kept private. For now, you can bare those parts for using the bathroom, taking a bath or for changing. When you're older, I'll tell you some other uses for those parts, but for now, they're private parts."

I think that about covers it. Give that (or something similar) a shot. :)

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

I'd go with the "your body's *special* and not just anyone should see it" route. Good luck!

Naomi said...

I had this very same experience although my 3.5 yr old daughter mooned 2 of my girlfriends coming over for hang time! I couldn't believe it. I pulled her aside and shared with her that those are private parts and only mommy or daddy are allowed to see those parts at bath or potty time. I tell ya kids! LOL

lynn said...

Awwww... I love 3 year old butts! I've got my 4 year old butt here and am just in love with it still... but I agree, just tell her mommy and daddy LOVE your butt but only mommy and daddy and your doctor should ever actually SEE your butt!

Cyndi said...

That her body is private and she shouldn't show it to people except you and daddy.

Ponygirl said...

Weird as it may seem, I am still rather embarrassed by a naked incident from when I was about 3. Apparently I broke free from my mom when I finished with my bath and streaked through the back yard where we were having a big barbecue with friends and family. I have a very hazy memory of it but as I grew up my parents would laugh and tell the story every now and then, and I was embarrassed by my bold behavior. One piece of advice is to make sure she knows she didn't do anything embarrassing when she got naked in front of the boys because as kids get older this is just one more thing for them to learn.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

I have to say, the priority is to teach our kids appropriate behavior. Just in a nice loving way, remind her we don't flash our friends, it probably won't be the last time you have to remind her.

As far as harming body image, I'm pretty much convinced girls/women have very little hope of NOT feeling bad about their bodies at one point or another.

Definitely talk to big brother and make sure he understands it was not okay to get sister to do that or let his friend get her to - we tell our kids they are responsible for protecting each other, "Roths stand together."

Might want to talk to friend's parents, too, not in a freaked-out way, but, ug, you just never know.

Yes, much funnier when it's other people's kids.

Anonymous said...

I love that little free spirit in the Roo girl. No matter what you come up with it will be perfect, you and K have got it going on.

Omaha Mama said...

My B went through a streaker phase. She caught on to the word private. And was okay with that. She still thinks it's hilarious every once in a while to moon us. Sigh.

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

You're asking me? The mom who can't explain tampons to my son when I use a silicone menstrual cup?

Speaking from my OBVIOUS expertise, I say the speech about who we can show our body to and who we can't. But what do I know. I can't talk about tampons to an 8 year old who discusses marine mammal reproduction.

Anonymous said...

Oh My! This is so normal. It's great! My younger brother used to meet our neighbor at the backyard and strip down with her (and a chain link fence that separated them). What good Midwest fun! Every time they did it, my mom and the neighbor's mom would run back there and put their clothes back on them. I think we are always sexualizing everything that we now even think our preschoolers are being sexual with each other. They aren't. This was happening before TV and all that too. It's just curiosity. I'd tell her that she has a marvelous body and that it's hers and only hers. She gets to choose what to do with it when she becomes an adult. But for now, she must keep her clothes on and hide her marvelous bum. Only her parents are allowed to see it or ask to see it. (the same should be said to your son too)

Good luck. Can't wait to hear how she takes it.

kittenpie said...

I take the line that it is private because it is only for her until she is grown enough to decide if she wants to share it with someone.

I would be more concerned with that boy's asking her to remove her clothes and her going along with it - we tell Pumpkinpie that no one has any business in her business. We may have to take a look if it feeling uncomfy or to help make sure it's well washed, the doctor may have to take a look at it during her checkup, but no one else should be even asking. I would also mention that to the Mayor, and add that he should help look after the Rooster, too.

flutter said...

um. Uhhhh

Twisted Cinderella said...

I just told my daughter that some parts of her body are private and not for people other than herself, mommy and daddy.

The Book Ladi said...

I remember my daughter was very proud of her parts. I told her they were called privates for a reason. They were her private property. If every one was meant to see them they would be called publix. She took the hint and covered up.

My son on the other hand has renamed his man parts "publix" and flaunts them shamelessly. Him I pray for.

creative-type dad said...

I have no idea....

I blame Dora!

Emily said...

This is a funny anecdote and I'm glad you also see the importance of keeping a healthy body image. That bodes well for The Rooster.

I'm sure someone has already reccomended What's The Big Secret by Marc Brown (the author of the Arthur series). It talks about bodies and differences and why it's important to keep your private parts private in order to be healthy and safe.

I think it's all about empowering kids in a positive way. Giving them information they need to stay safe from things like sexual assault (Which happens to an alarming one in three girls before the age of 18.) Open conversations sans shame and/or fear are our best offense in protecting our kids.

I volunteer for a non profit in my area that talks to children and adults about how to stay safe from sexual assault, bully assault, and stranger abduction. You might find some helpful information and links on their website.

Good luck. The Mayor and Rooster are so lucky to have such an attentive Mom.