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Black’s Beach is a well-known “swimsuit optional” spot along the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, CA. During my freshman year of college at University of California, San Diego (where the campus sits on the bluffs just above the area), the notion of a nude beach was exceedingly intriguing to me as you might imagine. Of course, I never actually did go to the location. This was mainly due to reports that the folks who frequented the beach were older dudes — not exactly what my 18-year-old self was interested in seeing.
Fast forward to being the father of a toddler. Little did I know every day would be like a virtual visit to Black’s Beach. And unlike many moons ago (pun intended), I have absolutely zero problem with my 2-year-old son flaunting his goods around. Why? Simply put: it’s hilarious.
Here’s an example of why I’m totally okay with him expressing himself without clothes. My son loves music. One night when my wife was taking his temperature with a baby thermometer, I unconsciously started singing Sean Paul’s hit song “Temperature” from awhile back. Our little performer picked up on it right away and now refers to the catchy tune as “his song.” Now, part of his pre-bedtime ritual is jumping around in the buff to the former chart-topping single.
On another occasion, my wife took our son to the park on a playdate with her friend who has 3 daughters, ages 5 and under. Imagine everyone’s surprise when our Little Streaker decided to do his best Channing Tatum impersonation! It wasn’t quite Magic Mike XXS — but the scene that unfolded was certainly unexpected. After some moments of laughter and apologies, my wife got our junior nudist’s clothes back on.
Parenting is all about picking your battles, and this is one I choose not to wage.
The reality is I’d much rather wake up to a toddler butt in my face than insist my boy cover up at all times. Understanding his body is a good thing. And let’s be honest: toddlers are unstable lunatics who often display erratic behavior. I’d rather allow him to be a nudist than have him throw a tantrum. Parenting is all about picking your battles, and this is one I choose not to wage. Plus, the kid is flat-out entertaining when he’s unencumbered (and otherwise, too).
There are also several practical reasons I’m okay with him being nudist…
Living in Southern California, it’s often pretty warm out. So after having those pesky underpants on all day at daycare, it’s no surprise when an uncomfortable combination of perspiration, chafing, and rashing occurs. “I’m itchy” is a common refrain heard from our boy.
However, the clothes don’t come off immediately once we get home. There’s still play time and dinner to get through! But after a shower (yes, he prefers showers to baths), it’s “Full Monty” time. By the way, my wife and I try to limit showers to every other night (unless things get really messy at dinner), due to his sensitive skin.
And letting your kid flit around the house in their birthday suit before bedtime is good for a few reasons. Applying moisturizing cream is easier. And the time also lets our son simply feel free. When (and if) he does want to put underwear on for bed, we’ve noticed boxer briefs are actually far less restrictive and present more breathability for our son’s skin.
Or toilet learning as it’s also referred. Look — it’s simply less frustrating for all parties if there’s no middle man (i.e. clothes) involved when you’re going through this period with your toddler. Of course, accidents can and will happen (make sure you have a spray bottle of carpet cleaner, a rag, paper towels and, a potty nearby at all times!).
But the fact of the matter is, I’d rather have my kid naked around the house and be able to hop on the can quickly than go through the whole rigamarole of undressing prior to relieving himself. Soiled clothes (especially poopy ones) aren’t the most fun to clean. Do yourself — and your washer and dryer — a favor: let your kid be a nudist. Your energy bill will thank you!
There’s a reason why Alanis Morissette recommended “walking around naked in your living room” once upon a jagged little pill: it’s fun to be in the buff! And this especially goes for toddlers. Learning how to dress and undress themselves is a new skill for our little ones; let them revel in it. And if they end up going commando for a bit, it’s okay.
So while there are legit reasons why I’m cool with letting him do his thing au naturale, ultimately it’s just funny. I may not have checked out Black’s Beach during my college days, but now, thanks to my toddler, it’s “swimsuit optional” in my house every day.
Blair Johnson is an award-winning multimedia producer and former TV sports guy who loves spending time with his family, ‘80s music and all things pop culture. Read more from Babble below: