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Coed Baths: When Does it Go From Cute to Creepy?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

I have a four-and-a-half-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl. They bathe together a lot. I know there will be a time when this is not OK, but I’m just not sure when that is….


Alex and Nora bathe together because it’s convenient. They take baths and showers, though lately it's been mostly showers. Nick or I will also occassionally shower with one of the kids—as I've written before we are all pretty comfortable being naked and, again, it's about the logistics of getting everyone clean as effeciently as possible so they can go the $%!! to sleep. (Kidding.) 


Anyway, Alex has been refusing to take a bath with Nora lately. He’ll shower with her but he freaks out when I try to get him in the bath with her. Tuesday night he refused again but asked if he could help me give her a bath. He washed her hair and her arms and called her Hamburg (my sister’s dog) and then every time she’d talk, he’d say, “isn’t it cool that my dog can talk?” (He does not like to break character when he's pretending so he rolls with it....)


He won't give us a reason for refusing the bath*, but I can’t help wondering if it has something to do with Nora's interest in below-the-belt body parts. A day doesn’t go by without her saying, “Look, mom, that guy has a penis and I have a giney and you have a giney and she has a giney and my brotha has a penis and my daddy has a penis…” and so on. And if I walk away from them while they're in the shower, I will almost always hear, "Nora, stop grabbing my penis!” Regardless of the reason for Alex's bath strike, it brings up a good question for me. I don't have a brother so I don’t know the answer here. When do you stop bathing your kids together? I wrote a post about when you're supposed to stop being naked in front of your kids and the opinions ran the gamut but I wonder if this one is more straightforward. Would love to hear your thoughts!


*It could also have to do with the fact that Nora has pooped in the tub before.