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!