Daughter: I've got balls Mommy.
Wife: Really!? And what color are your balls?
Son: Mine are outside!
I think I am fast approaching a pointwhere being naked around my own children will no longer be the breezy, innocent thing that it clearly is. First off, my son thinks being naked is the most fantastic thing on earth. He's a generally happy boy - although the last month or so have seen him introduce feral-rage into his behavior and the constantly cheery demeanor he had has been chipped away somewhat. He still has large periods when he's just refreshingly cheery. But that can evaporate in an instant - leading to a demonic little shit who seems to have carefully read Donald Rumsfeld's Book Of Sadistic Torture and is maniacally attempting to try it out on everyone around him. But if he's naked for any reason (and he often will invent any reason) he beams a smile more joyous than at any other moment. Which is perfectly understandable. From a purely sensory position being naked is quite nice indeed. While I'm not about to sign up to any nearby naturist clubs or groups that insist on organizing outdoor activities that are strangely to be carried out naked (I once saw a sign for naked abseiling - the semantics of which make me wince) I'm certainly prepared to point out the delightful virtues of mother nature glowing and blowing across the naked flesh. For example, recently on the family camping trip I took advantage of the myriad opportunities for getting dressed outside. Either entirely outside in the buses, or with a strategically placed car door to protect passersby from getting an eyeful of my personal-parsnip. Or more frequently within our very good tent with carefully selected flaps raised and lowered to obscure view inside, but to allow air to flow through. In fact in the dark I greatly enjoyed getting undressed in the tent safe and sound in the knowledge that, even though I could feel the soft caress of the Thousand Island breeze on my skin, that none of the surrounding campers could see anything. I also enjoyed the, "just so you know" conversation my father in-law gave to me the following morning pointing out that, once the headlamp light was switched on that night, the tent walls were basically invisible.
But secondly and more importantly, my children are beginning to think me being naked is far more hilarious than it need to be. Some evenings I escape upstairs secretly to snatch a sneaky shower without telling anyone - naively hopeful that I'll get to take one by myself. My daughter though is genetically fitted with a proximity alarm that goes if if I am not within five feet of her. So she always ends up checking to see what I'm up to. Add she always does so after telling her mother and brother to come with her to check as well - thereby roping the whole family in on the deal. At which point I'll be striding about the upstairs in the buff - possibly squatting over or straddling things in a way I wouldn't do if being observed by people I might see again. In times gone by my kids would find me and just crack a slight knowing smile that it was time to join in the shower or bath. Recently that has given way to full out laughter and a cheeky Carry On film-style "oo-er Missus!" response. It's almost as if my daughter is smarmily pointing out that she has discovered me doing something that I shouldn't be doing that would get me in trouble with decent folk. But not just showering without letting her know. More that I've just been discovered filling a hot tub with melted Nutella and then Nigella Lawson walks in wrapped in a towel asking if I'm ready.
This is pretty much how I felt this morning getting dressed. My daughter had a school introduction thing for kindergarten this morning (please read the rest of this paragraph before just assuming that I exposed myself to a teacher and that I've just now realized that it's not on) - so her mother didn't get up early to bugger off to work. Once it was clear that the wife had finished lazing about in bed I was eager to get dressed and get on with the day. At which point the three of them all lay about in bed and watched me get dressed. And there followed an odd back and forth that began with a reference to my love-eggs and spiraled into a bizarre confession from my son that he keeps his testicles in the cemetery across the street. All of which means I might have to buy one of those Victorian folding curtain-things that look like three doors hinged together to get dressed behind.
In completely unrelated news (one would hope) I found myself having to explain Mennonites to my daughter. Which I swore I'd done before already. Nevertheless yesterday she asked me why a bunch of people stood nearby were dressed strangely in old-fashioned gingham dresses and slightly-odd looking suits with a big round hat on. I rejected the, "they're like the Amish - but they like electricity, shopping and sports cars" angle. Mostly because it's useless when you don't know what the Amish are, rather than the fact that is a terrible description. Although I did note that a decade ago the wife and I worked for a semi-retired inventor alongside a Mennonite guy (and with frequent contact with a Mennonite company down the road) who's biggest interests in life were the Mennonite way of life, ice cream and flying airplanes. In the end I started wittering on about how some people believe core, fundamental principles about how people should conduct themselves that aren't the same as how modern-day capitalist America has developed. All of which was somewhat stupid considering there were six of them all trying to cram the massive quantities of toilet paper and Goya beans (I couldn't see anything else past the mountains of that they had) into a Subaru Forester outside the local Walmart. We're bound to encounter them again soon as they're right down the road - so I shall have to come up with a neater description for next time.
Yesterday at the Salvation Army I landed some pants for my son and a couple of long sleeve shirt for my daughter. The pants are irritating because they are still constructed with the idea in mind that a three year old is wearing a massive diaper. So one pair of cargo pants will never ever fit because they'll be too short before they'd get anywhere close to being tight enough around his arse. But the Sally Army here is ace because it's massive and seems to be catered to by huge numbers of people who buy all their stuff from LL Bean, J Crew or some other high-end stores. The kids stuff is hit and miss - but if you're an adult bloke you would be laughing. The stuff is so good, new or barely warn and well-priced that I honestly cannot stomach buying most stuff new now. My daughter though needed some shirts after managing to grow massively without me really noticing - so no longer fits anything from last year. And I mean she's much lankier and longer (as evidenced by looking at videos and photos of my kids from this week from last year and finding it vey odd that they appear to be completely different children) so needed new shirts. She got a few - but became feverish and extremely excitable about wanting to buy a camouflage sweater (99 cents so who cares). Which I did - then when we got home she inststed I put mine on and her brother got one he has. He wouldn't join in - but I did remember a jacket I have so here's a nice photo of what makes us look nothing like either of our demeanor's actually is.
Lastly, speaking of clothes, right before we left for the school appointment this morning my wife thought it best to ask her daughter if s=what she was wearing (dress slacks and a neat shirt for work) was suitable enough to meet the teacher in. At which point my daughter remarked, "mommy you should wear a skirt." Which she's never asked for before. But then she's never felt the need to also add the warning of, "and try to keep your legs crossed Mommy..." as if it were a constant struggle to remind her mother to keep her legs closed whenever she's around others.