Naked as an Owlet
My Owlet prefers life sans feathers. It is extremely uncommon for her to make it through the day without at least one several hour period of nudity. Usually this is fine; less so if we are trying to head out the door and I’ve just gotten her clothes on two minutes ago. We make her get dressed if people are coming over or we are going out, and otherwise we let her be! Even the car seat is not always successful in pinning the clothing on the Owlet. The only pants she has that still have snaps up the legs are her two pairs of overalls, and while I adore overalls categorically with a joy both unbridled and unrivaled, without fail every single snap is undone no matter how brief the car ride. Usually the shoes are gone, too.
I admit to a bit of envy.
She is naked in a way I never am — naked without a stitch of self-awareness.
Lounging on the floor naked. Painting her belly at the easel naked. Frolicking madly across the grass naked. Covered in pasta sauce naked. Rosy bright from the bath naked. Wriggling tickling bedtime naked. Never once with a glance at herself with any emotion save curiosity.
What I wouldn’t give to preserve her this way. I am tempted to flee this land of the pornstar preschoolers (whoops! meant that gross toddler show that makes me happy I don’t have cable), and moms who call their daughters fat, where all little girls’ toys and halloween costumes are sexy, celebrities are photoslashed to a sliver of their real selves — not to mention a crayon box worth of flesh tones lighter — and where we mostly talk about how our girls can avoid sexual assault instead of pouring our efforts into how our boys can avoid becoming (or implicitly condoning the actions of) a rapist.
We could evacuate our little girl from this tucked-plucked-fucked culture, sure, but what about me? Am I allowed to come?
Owlet watches me frown at myself in the mirror, pivot to the side, and check to see if my saggy postpartum belly has been ironed flat since yesterday. On the three days a month that I am pulled together enough to apply makeup, she asks what I’m doing, and why. She hears me stumble in my attempts to accept compliments with grace. She’s just beginning a habit of saying “So-and-so will really like my dress/shoes/pants,” whenever I say an article of clothing is cute while she’s choosing what to wear (and if So-and-so is in the house, she’ll then run out to show them, all proud); while I can’t put my finger on precisely what bugs me about this habit, I want to nip it in the bud, but so far I can’t manage to stop myself from inadvertently prompting it.
I think I’m decently at peace with myself. I may be more self-conscious than my little one, but I have attained a certain cozy comfort in my imperfect skin. But it doesn’t matter how I feel… not unless I’m also successfully projecting it out in the world for Owlet to see.
Ok, little teacher. Lead on. I’ll try my damnedest to follow.