For as long as our children could sit upright, we've bathed them together. Because, they loved splashing as a group, and it was a lot easier for us to wash them all at once. It was certainly nice having all of them in one place - as opposed to rolling or crawling or running throughout the house in different directions - while we were focused on the one or two in the tub.
So communal bath time has been something we've done around here for the better part of our children's lives. And it's worked well for everyone. But recently, it's getting a little awkward.
For me. Not them.
Because it's me that gets a little crazy when one of the kids will stand up and say, "I'm making a tunnel with my legs, climb underneath!" Or whatever they do that makes me consider, "Maybe the boys and girls should be bathing separately. Or independently. Or in their clothes?!"
I know the kids are at an age of "exploration" but I'm not sure what exactly my response should be to all of this budding awareness. It's certainly difficult considering we live in a small house and there are no doors on a few of our rooms. They can't help but see things and wonder. So do I segregate everyone and insist that they stay apart and not look at each other? Do I implore that they respect each others private parts and not act inappropriate? But at five-years-old, do they even understand what inappropriate is?
Last night, in mid wash, the kids were doing the whole tunnel thing which probably doesn't sound as risque as I actually think it is, and I tell them to STOP because it is not nice for them to be acting in such a way and they need to keep their parts private and respect each other's private parts and blah blah blah. And I'm very clearly upset about this. Right?
My children - in the midst of my very serious lecture - dissolve in to giggles. Laughing, snorting, absolutely unable to control themselves. So I ratchet up the angry level and pluck all of them out of the tub, despite the fact they are covered in bubbles. And I wrap each one tightly in a bathrobe and make them stand in different parts of the room, so that not a speck of skin is showing and they can't touch each other. And then, I make two leave while I rinse them off, one by one in the shower while I rattle on and on about the importance of RESPECTING your private parts blah blah blah.
Later that night, as I was tucking them in to bed, William apologizes and says, "Mom, I'm so sorry I was laughing about private parts. I don't want to laugh but private parts are SO FUNNY and I can't hold the laughing back. I can't Mom. I really, really can't. Hee Hee! See? I'm doing it again! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! Hee! Hee! Snort! HEE! HEE! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Yup. This is what I'm up against.
So do I allow this angst to over take me that my children are going to grow up with zero modesty and no understanding of personal boundaries, or do I relax and realize that my five-year-olds are going to know more about the intricacies of the opposite sex, than me in my first year of marriage?
What say ye, fellow parents with multi-gender children?