January 14, 2011

Raising a New Generation of Flashers

I give you three little fish doing their best Alfalfa impressions. Please note Riley's strategically placed bath toy.

Why do most of us stop taking baths as adults? Seriously. I mean, look at how much fun they're having. I suppose most of us are just too busy or short on time in the morning to take a soak. A lot of guys would gruffly say that baths are for women, but I disagree, and so does my brother-in-law. I hear he takes bubble baths. (You're welcome, buddy.)

I would gladly trade a hot shower for a hot bath any day, and not just because a bath is more relaxing. I prefer baths mainly due to the fact that it's hard to float your fleet of battleships and frigates in the shower. Not that I get to take many baths, because at six feet, four inches tall, the average-sized bathtub puts my knees somewhere in the general vicinity of my earlobes, so I guess I'll wait for the day I have enough room to install a big whirlpool job that'll accommodate my knees, earlobes, and all my aircraft carriers. Brady's aircraft carriers, that is. I don't have toy ships; I'm a little old for that.

My kids, as you can see, love bath time, which we call "tubby time" at our house. Most nights around bedtime, Ellie asks, "My take a tubby now?". The answer is yes about half the time; we do tubby time about three times a week, since it would be a three-ring, three-kid circus if we tried to do it nightly. Besides, Ellie does her best to drink as much bath water as she can, so we have to try to minimize her intake. Same for Riley, who will suck the water out of any washcloth he can get his chubby little fingers on. Brady is a professional splasher, and he's tutoring Ellie in his art, so they routinely deliver precision tidal waves at each other and me, which results in a very wet daddy and an even wetter floor. No way we could do this every night; I don't think my sopping floor boards could take it.

But the real fun starts after they're done with their baths. I don't know exactly when it started, but when Brady was little, he would run away naked after being dried off, and after a while I'd exclaim, "Hey, where is Captain Nudie-Pants?" He thought that was a gas. Then it evolved into a tradition in which Brady, and later Ellie, would have me wrap them loosely in their towels so that they could run to wherever Mommy happened to be, throw off their towels and proclaim, "I'm Captain Nudie-Pants!" It really never gets old. If you ask them, wanton nudity is highly underrated.

So I'm raising a new generation of flashers. What of it? If the wider world at the time Brady goes to college is the same as when I was in school, I'm sure antics like these will be widely accepted. My freshman year, some of the guys decided to make a Slip-n-Slide out of our linoleum-floored dorm hallway with dish soap and buckets of water and slid the length of the hallway naked. The other guys, that is; I would never participate in such nonsense. But I'll have a talk with Ellie before she heads off to school. Sorry ladies, it's just not the same for you as far as your dear old dads are concerned. Further, I think I'll have her tell the boys that her dad works for the CIA, owns a small arsenal of lethal weapons, and could pay them a midnight visit any time he should so choose. A dad's gotta watch out for his baby girl. Not that I'll be in any way overprotective.

But all in all, I want them to maintain their sense of freedom. I love how uninhibited kids are regardless of what they're doing. They have no prejudices, no self-consciousness yet; those are learned as they get older. So I've made it a lifetime goal to help them see through society's prejudices of what is and isn't attractive or acceptable, to teach them to see truth. I've got to start right now, which is why I encourage them to flash their mother every chance they get. They're going to learn important street smarts by experience, of course, but I don't think anyone else out there has the right to tell them whether or not they're cool or wearing the right clothes. Their worth is unquestioned and unconditional, and I want them to see that through my eyes, through the eyes of God. Free of expectations, they'll be free to be who they are.

Short of starting a Nudie-Pants colony, that is.

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