Bath time is a pretty big deal around our house. My daughter’s routine was put into place when she was about six months old and has consisted of dinner, bath, books and bed ever since. It’s something we do every night and she looks forward to it each time. Dinner, as some of you have read, is not our finest hour some nights, so I welcome the respite from the day’s stress as well.
After dinner when I ask her, “You want to take a bath?” The response is something like celebrating a Giants touchdown during this year’s Super Bowl. She throws her hands up and yells, “Dat’s Gwrate! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!” This last part, where she is waving her hands around over her head in bath time excitement, involves her running around the house naked.
Naturally, once the clothes and diaper are off, she gets placed on the floor to run presumably into the bathroom for the tub. This, however, is not always the case and often she peels a right turn down the hallway and runs from one end of the apartment to the other yelling “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh” and waving her arms over her head.
Now if you have kids and have witnessed this, it is about the most precious moment you have ever seen. It embodies all the wonder, fun, freedom, happiness and good that exists in the world. There is no embarrassment, fear or sadness, there is just the joy of how good it feels to run around naked for a few minutes. This is something that my wife and I have learned to do from our daughter. If we find ourselves getting ready in the morning or evening and one of us is getting out of the shower, my daughter will immediately pull her bath time ritual move on us. “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!” Running around with her hands in the air and screaming “Naken! Naken! Naken!” We have resorted to joining in and having a family moment that none of us will ever forget.
I mean, what could be better? We, as parents, are reveling in the joy she takes in the simplest thing: not having any clothes on. We are letting go of some of that fear, anxiety and adherence to social law that goes almost unnoticed. People don’t wonder why nobody is naked, they just freak out when someone is at the wrong time. By joining our daughter in this fun, we are not saying that it should be done in Central Park; we are just enjoying a private family moment that is as innocent and natural as her instinct to take that right down the hall before the bath.
Who knows how long this will last. There will come a day when my little girl is going to say “Dad, get out of here!” And I will. But for now, when she is two and doesn’t realize that it is in any way unusual to run around naked and screaming, I for one am going to join in and enjoy it.