I have always felt like re-posting earlier blogs was sort of cheating, but after three years, I figure some of the ones I find funnier are worth hoping a new audience may be coerced into reading my yarns.
Greg works in computers and has always been a technological junkie. The latest and greatest of electronic toys always takes up residence at our house. As and artist and design consultant, one of my things is to find the greatest digital camera that services all my needs—great resolution, big zoom, etc. This has resulted in about six cameras in the past ten years, all of them great in their own right given the available technology at the time. Plus we love the instant gratification of being able to see our photos immediately. There have never been two more well documented children in existence.
Michael at the age of four was beginning to be curious about our camera when we were using it, so we thought rather than by him a $50 children’s camera, we would pull out one out of retirement for him to try. He was having a great time photographing his dinosaurs and school buses and occasionally Pierce.
After two children, two c-sections, a love affair with food, and not enough exercise to offset the former, seeing myself sans clothing is not the great self esteem builder. Anyway, one morning I am in the shower with the bathroom door unlocked since Pierce was less than a year old, I needed Michael to be able to get to me if there were any problems with either of the boys for that two minute period. Unfortunately, Michael’s emergency was the need to take pictures. I’m scrubbing, shaving, doing the necessary hygiene routine at the speed of light, and I turn around–there is the paparazzi trapping me behind shower doors in the most vulnerable of moments. Laughing and tittering at the idea of mom flashing the flash. Thankfully, later that day, Dad deleted all the photos off the camera before I could suffer the humiliation of seeing them, otherwise my next shower might have been a bath with a toaster propped on the edge of the tub.
To continue the annie liebowitz love of photographing the human form, Mikey takes on yet another type of subject matter. First, let me explain a few things. I was intent on not having children with body shame and I also believed that if a person’s private areas were matter-of-fact, they would lose some of their ridiculous allure. So, we code named the penis “hoo hoo” and the vagina “nanny nanny” (something funny Greg and I came up with jokingly long before we had kids). The code is now broken, and henceforth we shall refer the male and female anatomy in code. One day shortly after the showering incident , the boys are playing and I’ll admit rather quietly (always a red flag for Mikey, not so much for Pierce); so, I went to check on them and Pierce is playing quietly on his brother’s bedroom floor. Mikey, however, is naked from the waist down with the camera in one hand and his hoo hoo in the other. The flash is going off on so many levels. My four year old is taking pictures of his erect penis!! Ahhhh—how to handle this… I guess in my desire to make the private areas less mysterious, I forgot that men from the time they breathe air have a very intimate relationship with their nether regions. I failed to remember to teach a certain amount of decorum. Thanks for that subtle reminder, Michael. Needless to say, the camera disappeared for a few days until Dad could see Mikey’s eye for composition and also delete the evidence of it, and we could convey the importance of now keeping the private area’s private. Oh—I now lock the bathroom door, too!
Long forgotten to me, I was out with some girlfriends whom I used to share Michael’s latest silliness with when we worked together and they reminded me of the fair warning I got when Mikey was about 18 months old. Not terribly modest with a toddler around, I came out of the shower into my bedroom one day and Mikey points to my “nanny nanny” and states “Puppy”. Oops… first of all—oddly embarrassing, secondly, wrong domestic pet, kid! I think I kept relatively covered from that point on.
On the subject of children and their need to comfort themselves through touching their privates—I was shocked, mortified and certainly creeped out when I learned that this is normal (and also relieved that my son was normal). I guess I was the one that got schooled in sexual shame!
Lesson learned here—don’t’ forget to teach a little shame—at least then the child may keep his pants on.