It’s been about a year and a half since I published my first piece, Control Freak: Brandon’s Story. Two incidents today made me reflect a little on the work.
As part of the Nursing program I’m in, I had to become CPR certified… something I did today. When we were doing the infant CPR with the Baby Anne dolls, one of the students mentioned he went to the store to purchase a doll for his daughter on her birthday. He got it home and found the doll was anatomically correct.
I’m laughing right now. Well, for him, it was a no go, but I was thinking, what’s the big deal? Why shouldn’t a baby doll be anatomically correct? It’s not like the body should be a huge mystery. Most people have girl or boy parts… some folks have both. Are we to pretend we don’t have genitals?
I’m surprised the little girl hadn’t seen boy parts already. Most kids I know are fascinated by babies… and eventually babies need diaper changes. Who’s the first to pop their head at the changing table? Kids.
Besides, if you have children of both genders (like I do), eventually they’re going to find out boys have different parts than girls.
So that was the first incident today. When I returned home after the CPR class, I sent my kids to the pool. About an hour or so later, I returned to pick them up. The youngest (5 year-old boy) was dripping wet. And like any parent, I thought about chlorine water soaking into the seats. I asked him (encouraged him) to consider taking off his shorts and wrapping the towel around him. That way I could throw the sagging shorts in the back of the truck. My boy wasn’t havin’ none of that.
I’m thinking, he’s 5. No one cares if he’s nude half a second before he gets into the truck. Again, he’s 5… what does he care about what’s decent and what’s not? But like I said, his answer was an emphatic NO.
It’s odd, because he wasn’t always like that. For the first 3-4 years of his life, he loved running around the house naked. In fact, the minute he got inside he started stripping. It was a big deal to my husband’s parents for some reason. They worried he’d start taking his clothes off in public. He never did though. I don’t even think he ever stripped at my their house. It was a special time he reserved just for home… as if he knew his home was a place specifically for his comfort.
These days he’s a bit more modest. He might run around in his underwear, but never completely nude. In fact, if you catch him nude… like straight out of the shower or running to throw his dirty clothes in the laundry before a shower, he’ll act like he’s shy… covering himself and such.
It’s the oddest thing to think that the adults around him have had that much influence… made that big of a deal over his nudity that now he covers himself as if it’s wrong. But really, I wonder what is so wrong with the human body that it needs to be covered in shame?
So why am I talking about all this. Like many authors, I read the reviews on my books. When Brandon’s Story first came out some readers looked upon it with disgust. Why? Because Regina is a bit of a nudist. Not only that, but she’s married with children. Some readers described her nudity in front of the children as child abuse.
I have to say, when I first read that, I was absolutely shocked. Others accused Regina of being sexually active in front of her children or compared her to a mom’s friend who paraded around in her undergarments when company arrived. haha
Apparently, folks have read entirely too much into Brandon’s Story. Truly some of my readers have quite the imaginations. They should be writing their own books! Seriously… put that imagination to paper!
Yes, Regina does walk around her house nude… and in the children’s presence. However, there’s nothing pornographic about it. Her nudity is no more pornographic–or God forbid, an attempt to entice–than a family of naturalists. Or for you manly men out there, showering naked in front of a bunch of guys in the locker room.
Nowhere does it say she waits in lurk for her children’s friends to show up to expose herself. Really, that’s just ridiculous. That’d be the same as putting on SuperTroopers in front of the kid’s friends or serving alcohol to other parent’s children. It may be okay to serve your kid half a glass of wine, but you don’t choose that for another person’s child.
The bottom line… don’t read more into the Brandon’s Story than what there is. The story is about the relational dynamics of Brandon and Regina… their marriage as a couple. It’s about two people with different values and backgrounds coming together to figure it all out. The hangups Brandon has about nudity are not shared by Regina, and from the way Brandon tells his story, the kids don’t care either.
So next time you’re eating your blood sausage, chitlins, thousand year old eggs, or kimchi, remember the norm in your house isn’t always the norm in other households.