The newest game with our daughter is we lift her shirt, press her belly button, and say “Boop!” Of course she thinks it’s hilarious and loves to return the favor lifting up Mama or Daddy’s shirt and jabbing our navels with her tiny little finger. I’m awaiting the day when we’re out in public and she raises my shirt to expose my less-than-flattering midsection to the world. I know it’s coming.
Even when we’re in the comfort of our own home, with no prying eyes I still have the same reaction to this intrusion of privacy. It’s not really an intrusion though. She’s my flesh and blood. She can punch me in the crotch, grab my boob, and put her head on my bum and I wouldn’t flinch. Well maybe I’d flinch, but it wouldn’t be weird. Just like it’s not weird that I have to slather her bum with paste five times a day and clean poo from her crotch biscuits.
I can’t help my reaction though. When she lifts up my shirt, I squeal and try to stop her. Mostly it’s because her hands are cold on my stomach, but the real reason is because I’ve never been good at exposing myself — unlike her father who proudly shows off any chance he gets (just like a man).
I’ve never taken to nudity. If given the chance I’d move to Alaska just so I could be bundled up year round. But I don’t want this for my daughter. I want her to be comfortable in her skin, at every age. I’ve told myself that I need to get over this hang-up so she doesn’t end up with it as well. But it’s not like I can turn back the prudish hands of time…especially when this body has been ravaged by pregnancy, too many slices of pizza, and not enough gym-time.
Being able to get dressed in front of my daughter should be no big deal. I shouldn’t hide my body from her. She should know that this is what a real woman looks like, and that those scrawny broads in magazines are 100% airbrushed. I hope I can do this for her later on. Right now it’s not that big of a deal because she’s not yet aware. But down the road when she’s capable of asking questions I hope I don’t hide in the bathroom or turn away from her. I will gladly share her pale, saggy, stubbly future with her.
Poor poor child.