Wednesday, May 31, 2017

So this happened...

This was just not on my radar yet.

So Catherine has been talking about boys and friends and boyfriends and it's all mixed up depending on the day, sometimes the hour.   In one conversation they are her boys that are friends but not boyfriends.  Other times she loves them but just likes her teachers, showing some awareness about a distinction between the two, and indicating some level of knowing there's a romantic bent to the title of 'boyfriend'.

So we had one of the two boys she adores over today for a playdate.  He's been here before with his Mom, but today came alone.  For the sake of privacy, let's call him Jack.   On Jack's last visit his mother shared with me he has an obsession with diapers (???...whatever!) and of course we have a lot of those around with Matthew.  We currently have a stash behind the couch in the living room.  So she and Jack have been thick as thieves all year, and today were playing downstairs for a few hours.   In the first hour or so I knew they were sneaking into the diapers and sneaking back downstairs.  I told them it was fine to play with them, they didn't have to be sneaky about it, I wasn't and wouldn't get mad or anything.  A little while later I noticed it was pret-ty darn quiet down there.   So I went to check it out.  Jack was in the puppet playhouse and Cate just outside it.  I asked if everything was okay and they said it was, and I made a lighthearted reminder about what I always say when the kids are quiet..."trouble is brewing, right?"   Cate gave a little smile like she didn't quite know what to do with that information as it applied to her and not Matthew (which is who we're usually talking about.)
So I went back upstairs, no big shake.
At some point in there they said they were trying on diapers.  Whatev, right?  I figured they meant on the dolls, or over their clothes, didn't think much of it.

Later I hear some of their conversation as they're playing house, and it's so cute I go down to take a picture of whatever they're doing.  Cate is now in a cowgirl vest and tutu, so she had obviously changed her clothes.  Almost assuredly right in front of Jack, because that's how she rolls.  In her underwear most of the time, or changing outfits left and right.  Particularly dress up clothes with friends over.  Note to self, have a conversation about changing outfits with male friends over.
They were playing house, being darling.
Soon after I hear her going on about pretending to get hair cuts and then "OK, you can be an astronaut AND a hair cutter!  Then you can give my hair a trim when we're in outer space, OK?"
A few minutes after that, "No Jack!  You play what I want to play or I'M not going to play with YOU!"  Aaaaand then, tears and "Mom, Jack won't play with me, I want you to play with me!"
So she tells me all about how she wants Jack to brush her hair and style it and play dress up and I explain to her that honey, boys just don't often like to do that kind of thing.  And oh by the way, you are now totally naked and OMG GO PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!!!!  Wth?!  But being naked is a nonissue and this hair business is really upsetting, so in her world my priorities are totally upside-down.

After convincing her to go get some clothes on I find Jack downstairs basically hiding behind the puppet house in a corner.   Poor, traumatized kid.  I mention that Catherine was being pretty darn bossy.   And how that's not really fun to be around.  He agreed on both counts.  We didn't mention the nakedness.
"Science-ing" brought both kids around and all was again well (baking soda + vinegar = volcanos, food coloring + just about anything = my mom doesn't let me do this at my house, super cool!).    Eventually there was a baking pan full of water and about 4 bottles of food coloring.   Jack was using a small baster that came with the science kit to suck up the liquid and squirt it back out.  I hear Catherine say "It sounds like pee!"  giggle giggle.  Then I hear, "It looks like your penis."  I must have made a sound because she looks at me at says, "You know, the long part."  Yep, I say, because of course she means the long part where the pee comes out.  But, holy hell.  Jack didn't say a word and I couldn't see his face, so who knows what was going on for that poor child.

Later, I'm telling his mother about this because it sounds like hilarious stuff kids say and she's laughing like crazy.  Not until I go inside to look for some of the items Jack brought over to make sure they go home with him did it hit me....wait a damn second.  Diapers.  Trying them on.  Cate changing clothes.  Naked.  It looks like your penis.


So hours later, this evening, I casually and lightheartedly ask Cate if she and Jack were playing with diapers or actually trying them on.  She admits they were trying them on.  I ask if they saw each others privates and let's just say yes, they did.  She gave me specifics on what he saw and what she did.  Still super casual as if this must have been silly and didn't they have fun together today, I ask if they touched each other's privates or just looked.   The latter, thank you sweet Jesus.

Folks...I just did not know we were here.
I thought we were still in "Isn't this sweet, kids just being kids and unfazed by gender differences, just having fun and enjoying each other for who they are" glory!  You know, INNOCENCE.  And it's still innocent for all practical purposes.  But innocent doesn't mean appropriate.   And there were definite inappropriate portions of today's playtime occurring while mama was upstairs dealing with being double billed for our security system over the last 3 years.

Gonna be some new rules in town, kiddo.
1)  Clothes on with company.   All the time.
2)  If you're going to change clothes, do it where they can't see you.  Preferably in another room with the door mostly closed.  Modesty, girl.
3)  No showing others your privates.  Only to parents (or a doctor) if we or you suspect a problem down under.
4)  What am I missing, ladies?  It's now 12:45 am and I'm tired tired tired, but....holy cow.  Holy cow.


  1. At Finn's school they change into PE clothes one day a week. They have a little coat room next to the bathroom with three stalls and take turns changing there. But Finn, on his first week just stripped down and got dressed in the coat room for all too see, not a care in the world. And apparently his underwear came down with his school pants it did not bother him one bit, but made the other kids snicker/blush. His teacher told me after that they had a talk about it and we reiterated that you shouldn't take your clothes off in front of other people.
    Fast forward a couple months and I was changing and Finn came in my room and then said, "mom, it's not funny to see people's privates."

    Ah, kids. It is innocent, but yeah, they are starting to navigate what is appropriate and what's not and I think you'll help C navigate it just fine!

  2. Zuzu is still a blissful nudist and I'm conflicted about how to encourage modesty without making it feel like body shame. I'm trying to frame it like table manners. It's just not polite. I also don't know how much my girls know about penises (uh, weird sentence). I just mean, I had a little brother growing up so I got what a penis was. They know boys have penises, but have they seen one? Would they know it looks like a baster? Lol. No idea. A friend with older kids recommended a book to me called It's Not the Stork for conversations about gender difference and how babies are made. I think you're right that NOW is the time even though they are still such babies!