An update on Nudity at the Nanny’s

So, as it turns out, I did not need to address the nudity issue again, because our nanny wanted to address it. And she was MAD.

Friday afternoon I went to pick-up and my daughter was still asleep and the nanny’s son was playing in the basement (obviously planned). She said she wanted to talk to me about pick-up the preceding day and how I was obviously uncomfortable with her son being naked. This is nuanced, but I was not uncomfortable with him being naked. I was uncomfortable dropping my daughter off into an environment where he was touching himself, playing with the same toys, sitting on surfaces she crawls on, and about to eat breakfast. I told her that I completely understood that he enjoys being naked in his own home, and I fully support that, but for the reasons above, I do not want him to be naked while she is around. I told her we pay for her to care for our daughter, and we would like him to be clothed when she is there. I explained to her that I never instructed him he needed to be clothed in his home, I told him we were not going to play with his rubber stamps if he was not wearing pants. I told her I had the same standard for our daughter, and if there were people who are not immediately family in our home, she would be wearing, at the very least, pants.

It became clear to me that she thought I was body-shaming her son and telling him he should not be naked. She pointed out, not incorrectly, that I did not want to engage with him while he was naked. I tried to make clear that I said nothing about his body on purpose, and he can be as naked as he wants, but not while my daughter is there, on the floor, playing with toys, crawling around. She eventually accepted the hygiene aspect of the conversation, and she said that he does consider us family, which is why it is appropriate for him to be naked around us and why he thought it would be okay. I actually completely disagree that he thinks it’s okay to be naked around us and not others, I’m pretty positive he thinks he can be naked around anyone (because he has walked out onto the front porch down to the sidewalk without pants on at least once), but I didn’t say that.

At the end of the conversation, she obviously felt a lot better. The problem is, I don’t. I’m super annoyed that she thought she was going to push back against be about him not wearing pants. I’m super irritated that it would not occur to her in the first place that he should not be pants-less around my daughter in that way. Aside: I still know and amĀ  comfortable with the fact that he’ll use the restroom, change into swim shorts, and occasionally need to change clothes in her presence. I’m irritated that she did not listen to my very intentional words to him – that we were not going to play until he was ready to play, or that we could wait outside until he was ready if we needed to. In my mind, it’s simple: playing with a friend (any friend) means having at least underwear on for hygiene reasons. Being comfortable and and naked in your own space with immediate family (or others who you trust and have consented to said nudity) is totally fine.

In the realm of childcare issues, this is relatively small. Our daughter loves her, she loves our daughter, and I do not fear for her immediate safety. In many ways, our childcare situation is ideal – she’s flexible, affordable, they do fun things, conveniently located, and we actually like that she has an older child to learn from. However, I’m a little stuck on this issue (and some small, irritating frictions that have come up over the past 6+ months). The last thing we need, or our daughter needs, is a big change in the routine, and I do NOT want to start interviewing new caretakers. But, should I? I wish I felt 100% great about the person my daughter spends 24-30ish hours a week with! But maybe I wouldn’t feel 100% great about anyone, because I could nit-pick anyone who is caring for my daughter. Any insight is appreciated.

Childhood Nudity

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I fear that I have fallen into a bad habit of greedily consuming all the wonderful blog posts and pictures you are all posting, but only contributing when I need advice! Forgive me. I WANT to post more, and I know you all feel the time constraints of parenting, but I’ve been (per usual) neglectful of my own space in the blogosphere.

So here’s my issue today. Our nanny has a son who is 4 (April birthday). He is with the nanny and our daughter off-and-on, because he is in some music classes, camps, preschool, etc. He’s with her more than he’s not.

We don’t align perfectly with our nanny’s parenting style (she jokes about infantilizing her only child…still a lot of carrying in the Boba, strollers, nursing, etc.). This isn’t a value judgment on her – to each their own. It’s just not our style. One of the ways this has manifested is that her son has started being naked a lot when we go to drop off our daughter. As a reminder, our daughter is now 13 months. She’s very alert and aware of her surroundings, so she knows exactly what and where boobs are, and she’s recently been curious about why there is hair in certain regions of one of her mothers’ bodies.

Now, as a general matter, we are VERY body positive and feel everyone should be proud and comfortable in their own skin. We let our daughter be naked at home too, because what is cuter than a naked baby? However, I’m really NOT comfortable with him actively tugging on his penis and simultaneously handing her toys or touching her. Maybe that’s silly of me, but ew. He also sits on the carpet, kitchen chairs, and sofa with a naked bum. We all know how stellar 4 year olds are about wiping their butts…

My wife normally does drop off, so if he’s naked, she freezes. She just isn’t the person to address it in the moment, so she panics and we both are silently angry that our daughter is hanging out with a naked kid (she relays the status to me via text).

I did drop off today, and he was naked. I immediately said, “uh oh! Did you forget to get ready for the day?” He ignored me as he danced around playing with rubber stamps. I said, “Should we wait outside for you to get ready? For you to put some pants on?” Again, he ignored me and asked if I wanted to play with his stamps. I said “No, I don’t want to play until you’re ready. As soon as you’re ready, we can play with you.” I didn’t put the baby on the floor, and the nanny silently gestured to her husband to take their son upstairs (presumably to get dressed).

Do I address it again with the nanny? Do I hope my very passive approach sent a clear message? Am I overstepping my bounds by insisting that this kid have pants (or even just underwear!) on in his own house? I personally wouldn’t let my four year old be naked around another child for whom I was being paid to care, because I think it’s important to set healthy boundaries around bodies and privacy. Also, this would never fly at any kind of daycare or preschool. However, I do NOT want to body-shame ANY little kid who is most comfortable naked. I handle sexual misconduct on a daily basis, so I know I’m more sensitive to it than others, but I am also VERY aware that kids start exploring their bodies and the boundaries with others’ bodies VERY young, and I don’t want my daughter to be any part of this kid’s personal exploration.

Ugh. Thoughts? Am I being overly sensitive when he’s just a little kid, or am I right to insist on some limitations, even though it’s his own house? I appreciate your ideas!

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