Posted by: , August 29, 2008 in 10:35 pm

As I type this, the cool breeze coming in my window hints at autumn.  Yet, it seems like only yesterday I was being treated to the distinctive mating call of the Pseudacris crucifer, the Spring Peeper. 

Here in the Allen household, a different sort of peeper has recently been observed.  He is approximately three feet tall, and only when he spies a street cleaner or passing dump truck does he emit his distinctive call.  Alas!  It is not the tenor of his call that deems him a peeper, so much as his voyeuristic tendencies.  His affinity for gawking at the female figure is not uncommon, as this peeper is a young male of the species.  Now that I think of it, his daddy taught figure drawing—a class featuring nude models—for a couple of years.  In fact, he taught a semester of Figure Drawing while I was carrying Ben.  Maybe, whilst in utero, the little guy gleaned something. 

Nah.  He’s just fascinated by his mom’s anatomy.  Why?  Because it is different from his own and his Dad’s.  Plus, we’ve never been a prudish household.  We do not hide behind thick, terry cloth robes.  We do not bolt the bathroom door.  On the other hand, we’re not exactly John and Yoko, either.  No birthday suits.  I sleep in an oversized CBGB tee and Michael is most often found in flannel jammie pants and his faded U2—Elevation Tour tee.  Much to my dismay, he retired his Skid Row t-shirt a few years ago.  Youth gone wild.  More like just gone.  Hey, I never claimed we were fashionable. 

While pregnant, I remember reading about the importance of placing one’s infant on either mom’s or dad’s bare chest; the skin-on-skin, kangaroo-care soothes baby, fosters a sense of security, etc.  Researchers claim that baby thrives on the attachment to his mama.  So, it shouldn’t really surprise me when Benjamin—albeit, quite a few years late—requests the occasional nude embrace.  He sometimes follows me into my bedroom at bedtime and once I am undressed, he purrs, “Pick me up.”  Of course I scoop him up and I hold him tight.  Why?  I’ve seen his eyes wander over the front of me, questioning every curve.  If I don’t squeeze him close, he’ll make an attempt to explore the territory.  It’s understandable, I guess.  But lately, lately I’m beginning to feel like I’m in some sort of preschool peep show.  An exotic dancer in a booth.  Wait.  Do I hear him shaking his piggy bank?  Is he looking for quarters?

In the last few weeks I’ve found myself singing, “Priiiivacy,” more than ever before.  I used to say, “Can you please give Mama some privacy?”  Or, “If you don’t give me some privacy, I will have to close the door!”  Now, I just sweetly sing the word, Privacy and he backs off.  I strive to avoid him perceiving my requests for solitude as my cruel erection of an impenetrable wall between mother and son.  He is always free to ask questions.  And, if need be—for the sake of his personal research (a.k.a curiosity)—he may reach out and touch someone (as long as that someone is either me or Dad and not the children’s librarian).  But, there is a fine line, ya know?  At this point, during any partially exposed moment I can expect that my square inch or two of bare flesh will become the focus of his wide-eyed interest.

There is another issue.  Another reason for full disclosure: potty training.  If a child is to learn to use the potty, he must see the process in action.  So, as I mentioned, we do not bolt the bathroom door.  However, that doesn’t mean I intentionally invite onlookers.  Last night at bedtime, for example, I moseyed into the bathroom.  Michael remained outside in the hall, lying on the carpet and waiting for the bedtime story-reading ritual to commence.  Ben, of course, followed me into the bathroom and quietly closed the door.  He climbed onto his step stool and cozied up next to me—knee to knee.  If he had been able to bring popcorn and a box of Goobers, I’m sure he would have.  I smiled.  He smiled back at me.  I made my appeal in a relaxed tone.  “A little privacy, please.”  And how did my precious three-year-old react?  Utterly perplexed, he replied, “I closed the door.”  Ah, yes.  The door.  Thanks.  It keeps the paparazzi at bay.  And Dad.  God forbid he catches a glimpse of his own wife in the buff.  We wouldn’t want that, huh?  Poor Dad. 

At some point this voyeuristic phase will end.  In the meantime, I could become one of those moms whose kid never, ever, sees her naked—that mysterious mom who sleeps in a pressed and tailored pantsuit.  But, The secret is out.  The little guy knows the drill.  CBGB.  It’s my sleep uniform of choice.  If I start sequestering myself behind locked doors or sporting a silk kimono, Benjamin will become maladjusted.  Our family’s quasi John and Yoko-lifestyle suits us.  Even if I have to dodge and weave to avoid the occasional areola graze.


No feedback ever written. Care to share yours?

Leave a Feedback

You must be logged in to post a feedback.
No new account required.