We're on the last leg of our Pennsylvania adventure, and staying with another twin mommy friend of mine. Her identical twin girls are four and have recently developed a sense of modesty. Except for the times when they run around naked. Yesterday they suggested a "Naked Fashion Show," and even my crazy kids were like, "uh, no thanks."
So of course my friend is concerned that her daughters are going to grow up to be pole dancers or something. I reassured her that at least in the case of the Young Carnivores, the naked vs. modest tug-of-war is normal at age four, and just continues on and on as they get older. I'm sure some day my children will stop thinking that it's great fun to leap down the hall naked on the way to the shower. I'm really hoping it's before they move into a college dorm.
The thing is, one minute they're leaping around naked, and the next minute they're screaming at Little Dude for walking in on them while getting changed. Little Dude also wants privacy while getting changed. After a bath, though, he's completely fine with scampering about au naturel. You know how when you give a puppy a bath they get all crazy and frisky? He's exactly like that, except puppies have fur and Little Dude just has one of those hooded towels that makes him look like a little duck. He has totally outgrown the duck towel so it's more like a duck hat with a short capelet attached. Also, we've had the duck towels since Cookie and the Pork Lo Maniac were born, and they're so worn it's like trying to dry off with a pillowcase.
(Wait. I totally just realized that I could get a couple black towels and make him a hooded Darth Vader towel. How awesome would that be? Luuuuke. I am your towellllll.)
Back to the naked business. When Cookie and the Pork Lo Maniac were just barely two years old, they freaking loved to get naked. If I asked them to get undressed at bedtime, it took forevah and they had trouble with buttons and whatnot. But if I left the room for 30 seconds to switch out the laundry, they would be stark naked upon my return. It was like the Fine Motor Skill Fairy had magically appeared while I was cleaning the dryer lint trap. Or they had gone through Superman's phone booth. They were like two tiny little naked superheroes. They were The Naked Girls.
At one point I decided to put them in overalls all the time to at least give them a challenge. FAIL. You know how you can take off your bra without taking off your shirt? They could do a similar maneuver with their diapers. This was actually worse because I thought they were fully dressed, but really they were just going commando. Which is not good when you're not potty-trained. So I gave up on the overalls and went back to pants and shirts, and they went back to being the Naked Girls.
Now, I'm all about body confidence and having less clothes to wash. However, I need to point out again that they were not potty-trained at that time. Nowhere near it. So if they were naked, they would just pee wherever they were. For pooping, they would hide somewhere like behind the couch. This made me wonder why the hell they couldn't hide somewhere like the bathroom, specifically on the toilet, when it was time to poop.
One time I was on the phone with my friend Anne, and I could barely concentrate on the conversation because there was a suspicious smell in my living room. Eventually I blurted out "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SMELL?" and started hunting through the house, still on the phone. Poor Anne. Finally I found it, and this is what Anne heard:
"Gaaaaah! There is a poop exactly in the middle of a pillow, between the couch and the wall. What the hell is wrong with these little creatures? They're like wild animals. This is not a goddamn forest! This is my house!"
Actually, what Anne heard probably had a lot of swears in it, but that was the general gist of things. I had to throw out my new accent pillow. Sigh ... I just can't have nice things. Because people poop on them.
After that, I started getting serious. An incredibly wise triplet mom gave me some awesome advice: duct tape. (Oh duct tape, is there no problem you can't solve?) Basically the idea is that you duct tape all around the diaper like a belt. I mean, you don't tape anything to your baby's skin or anything. Because that would be weird. No, you just tape all around the diaper, covering up the Velcro tabs. To remove the diaper, carefully cut the tape using those snub-nosed nail scissors that came with the baby "grooming kit" that you never use because you're too scared to cut their tiny little kitten claws fingernails with any scissors, even snub-nosed ones.
Here's another important tip about the duct tape diaper belt: duct tape comes in white. Use that one. Because when your little munchkin bends over at the playground, that traditional gray duct tape is really noticeable. It's particularly noticeable by those eagle-eyed Perfect Moms who have Perfect Kids who have actually never been naked (except for that one brief moment after birth until the baby was slipped into a tiny Lily Pulitzer dress).
As a side note, If you happen to have one of those kids that doesn't love to be naked, don't worry. That's apparently normal too. The Peanut Butter Kid was never super into being naked. She was too busy gnawing on wooden furniture to worry about being naked. Seriously. As a baby she chewed on the crib rail, and then she moved on to chewing on windowsills, the banister, and the dining room table. There are gouges in Cookie's bunkbed where the Peanut Butter Kid munched on it. She didn't just get splinters in her mouth, she would have chunks of wood in there. It was like she was trying to make her own mulch. We had her tested for vitamin deficiencies and lead exposure, and she was supposedly "normal." Eventually I bought her some hard rubber chew toys at PetSmart and let her chew on those. And I swear an occupational therapist and our pediatrician said it was a good idea.