So a friend told me this story: The other afternoon, she was giving her son, who is two and a half, some naked time on their back porch. They live in a townhouse development, so the porch is off a second-floor living room.
Out of nowhere, the front doorbell rings. When she goes to get it, it’s a couple of cops, who proceed to tell her that she’s not allowed to have her kid running around without any clothes on; it’s indecent exposure, and she needs to get some clothes on her kid.
A couple extenuating circumstances: She lives in a development with some pretty tenant strict rules, and I don’t know if these were rent-a-cops or real cops, who should be out catching murderers and stuff. All I know is, she’s the kind of gal that believes strongly that a little nudity is good for a kid’s soul, and boy was she peeved.
It did start me thinking: When is it really time to wrap up the naked-baby stuff, and keep our kids’ privates, you know, private? At outdoor events, I’ll still lay my two-year-old down on the grass and whip off a wet diaper -- where am I supposed to go, the port-o-potty? -- but it does feel a little self-conscious. And looking at it from the other side: In middle school, I had a friend whose parents, being European, had taken a naked portrait of her every year until she was about 9 and were still displaying them in the hallway. At 13, believe me, she was no longer amused.