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Privacy

September 14, 2006

Do first children ever have a sense of privacy or do only second children learn it from the first who eventually pick up on because at some point the first childs parents scream, “Can’t I go pee ONCE by myself?”. First children are use to the spotlight and second children learn to share everything right away.

My son who is 5 1/2 has no sense of modesty or privacy, still. He could be naked in the front yard with all the neighbors passing by and not give it one thought. My daughter is the same but is now wanting privacy to do things herself. Like going to the bathroom. Today while going pee my wee one walked in and said, “Mama, you need privacy? I shut the door a you.” I answered yes and peed by myself. What a revelation! Aside from the no sleep thing that no current parent can describe with any accuracy to a new-to-be parent is the issue that you may never do anything alone ever again. For example if you are taking a shower so is your 2 year old. They want to help you shave your legs, wash your feet with the scrubby thingy and rinse off your hair while intoning with a Hilter-esq bark, “Close you eyes!”. Who would ever guess, until you have children, that  a hot shower all alone could be so wonderful. On the rare occasions that I am not forced to have a bathing party I stay in way too long, use up more than my share of water on the planet and even get to shave my armpits. I revel in that because I am aware that as soon as I open that door a barage of requests, proclamations and questions will be fired at me while I am trying to dry myself, put some conditioner in my hair and remember to put on deodorant. When I am most harassed I do forget the deodorant and curse my spawn for making me smelly all day.

All rites of beautification have become a joint venture. If I use my lipstick, so does my daughter. If I use the blow dryer, so does my daughter. Afterward though I am rewarded with a , “Mama, you are pretty now.” or “Look how pretty we are?” I am thrilled to have a girly girl who is into all things traditionally feminne and enjoy her delight in pink lipstick and my many eyeshadows, blushes and mascaras. Painting her toenails we have discovered gives us a good 15 mintues of stillness as she preens and allows her nails to dry.

Another aspect of privacy is picking out their own clothes without the direction of Mama. I have my favorites and try to dress them funky and cool but mostly my son wants to be matchy-matchy poo-poo man and my daughter wants to wear only inappropriate for the weather outfits from the dirty hamper when left to her own devices. I want to hang a sign on them both that says, “I dressed myself” so that no one thinks that I deliberately put my daughters jeans on backwards and her sweater inside out when it is 95* outside. Like wise for my son who insisted on wearing his “outfit” from Greece, a treasured gift from his Grammy, every single day for a week straight even though it smelled and had many stains and looks like what a retired school marm might wear to the family reunion.

When they are babies you can’t imagine them apart from you. You yearn for your little ones smell and warm snuggliness. As they grown into toddlers you are tired of carrying them everywhere but when they learn to walk you are constantly chasing after them. As it becomes less a threat to cross the street and go out in public with out your hand attached to theirs at all times you ease up on your protectiveness and it feels good to let them go a little knowing that they always crave you and will demand  your time, mind, body and energy once again. As my 5 year old matures into a sweet little boy who notices nice girls in his class but still tells me everyday how pretty I am and my 2 year old wants me less and less to do the everyday tasks for her I feel liberated and free.

I am sure there will be a point at which I yearn for the times that they run into my arms and only need the warmth of me, a kiss and reassurance that all is right in their world. I find it strange that each stage you simultaneously wish they could just do it themselves and then wonder when that will start to feel painful.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2006 1:51 am

    I know. My son is in a one day a week “school” (actually a playgroup, but don’t tell him that) and I figured I’d hang out the entire time on his first day…but he didn’t need me. And so I left with just the baby. It was strange to have only one child to look after, and we had some great one-on-one, but still…it’s strange to me that he feels secure enough with “Miss Mary” and “Miss Kathy” to hang with them, no mama in sight, for 90 minutes at a time.

    I’m not sure I like it. I’m thinking of moving us all into a bomb shelter.

  2. September 14, 2006 2:26 am

    > the issue that you may never do anything alone ever again
    No, it is right there in the Freedom of Information Act. They have the right to know what mommies are doing at all times, and the right to freak out if mommies do not open the door after 60 seconds.

    Thereare also FISA provisions that give daddy the right to unlock the bedroom or bathroom door with the secret ‘key’ (or any pointy metal object) if he is clueless about something in your absence and cannot understand your muffled replies as you stuff your face into the pillow or sink under the bath water. Um, honey, where did you say her favorite dolly is most likely to be?

    Daddies do not have this problem. Unfortunately, we have the Law of Testicular Attraction, which says that, while roughhousing, daddy is very likely to get hit in the nuts.

  3. September 14, 2006 6:08 am

    Man, do I love a hot shower.

  4. September 14, 2006 4:43 pm

    Thank god you shave your pits, otherwise I couldn’t be your friend.

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