Little Red eats with his shirt off. I’m not at all ashamed of that. We discovered when he was very young that it was much simpler to strip him down and let him feed himself (he had to learn eventually, right?) than feed him and clean the clothes afterwards. At playgroup one day Marcy teased me that she could imagine him at sixteen, on a date. He’d sit down in the restaurant and immediately begin to undress.
Of course I insisted that we only undressed him at home, and that in restaurants and at the homes of others we kept his clothes on.
Now he’s weeks away from turning three, and at home it is an instinct to take his shirt off before he climbs into his chair. He has still never undressed at a restaurant or at the home of a friend. But on Saturday, at Peekaboo Playland for Big Jack’s birthday, we turned around to see him sitting beside Kyra at the table, ready for pizza, shirt off.
Marcy’s words from two years ago came back to haunt me and I tried to talk Little Red into putting his shirt back on. I reminded him that he is a very good eater and he won’t get any pizza on his beloved robot shirt. I also instructed him to look around the room and notice that everyone else had their shirts on.
Just then, Jen walked by. “That’s right,” she said to me, “teach him to be like everyone else.”
I gave up. His shirt stayed clean. The other parents had stories to tell when the party was over, of the half naked boy sitting beside Cinderella.