Thursday, 13 September 2012

Too old to be nudey rudey?

Last week we were at divine Clifton Gardens with my extraordinary Mum.

She is an amazing Mum and an even better Grandma and I am constantly in awe of her. She is all about letting kids be kids, get dirty, climb trees, be outside and so on.

So, when Wild Man stripped off for an impromptu swim, I was completely astonished when my Mum said "He'll be too old for that soon, you know."*

Seriously, three and a half is too old to be nude at the beach?

I was astounded that she thought that because it hadn't even crossed my mind. Perhaps I'm in denial about how big my little man is getting.

It also made me really sad. Playing naked in the sun is such a lovely thing in a child's life and I don't want it to be over for Wild Man yet.

And it isn't. Not yet.

I hope people aren't offended by it, and I do take my Mum's point that on a crowded beach in the middle of summer kids should probably wear swimmers, but if it happens that we end up somewhere that Wild Man can swim and he wants to strip off and play in the water I'm OK with that.

But clearly the time is coming when he is too old to paddle nudey rudey (as he calls it). And perhaps it is sooner then I thought.

But how do I know when that time is?

Perhaps it is when they start school? Or become self conscious themselves?

I've asked around at preschool and no one seems to know, except that the Mums mostly think it isn't yet.

Clearly opinions will differ widely on this. But do they split along generational lines? Or parents of young kids versus people who don't have young kids? Or conservative versus laissez-faire?

And is the time to stop different for boys and girls? Would I feel differently if it was Princess who was three and naked?

Who would know.

My plan is to take it day by day and assume that I'll stop him before he's 18!

So, what do you think the cut off age for playing naked is?

*In my Mum's defence ...
1) We had swimmers with us
2) She did clarify that it was less of an issue if not many people are around
3) Part of her point was that he needed to get used to wearing swimmers all the time for when he is older
4) She isn't offended by naked kids, she just thinks that there comes a time when swimmers are more appropriate.

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