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Keeping Her Young Just A Little While Longer

We celebrated my sister-in-law’s
birthday recently by having her and her husband over for dinner.
Maddie and Cora both adore their aunt and uncle, and look forward
for any chance to hang out with them and show off all their tricks.
The minute they walk in the door the girls hang on them like
puppies, scampering around their feet and begging for attention.

Maddie’s been on a good streak with potty-training, using the
potty to pee all the time now and saving the diapers for “the
other stuff”. So when she said she needed to pee we hurried
off to the bathroom, leaving Aunt Nikkie and Uncle Daniel playing
with Cora. Maddie had been to gymnastics class that morning and had
refuse to take off her leotard and leggings, making the potty thing
a much more complicated affair than it had to be. Add to that the
fact that Maddie’s just learned how to put on her own leotard
and insists on doing it herself with laborious concentration, and
bathroom breaks were running a bit long that day.

Anyway, Maddie finished up her business as
I waited outside (as instructed). She then began yelling,
“Uncle Daaaaaaaaaniel!” I came in, saying,
“Maddie, Mommy’s here to help you!” I’m
usually the only one she’ll deign to accept help from in the
potty area and I thought she was joking with me. I was mistaken.

“Mommy, I want Uncle Daniel to come in so I can show him how
I can put on my own leotard!” my naked child said earnestly,
leggings and leotard puddle around her ankles.


“Well, honey, Uncle Daniel’s busy out there –
let’s get you dressed and you can tell him all about
gymnastics class,” I prevaricated.

I mean, let’s face the facts here. Her uncle has seen Maddie
running around naked, baby hiney to the sunshine, on more than one
occasion. And her uncle loves her dearly, no question about that.
But at some point, I need Maddie to understand that she has to
cover up around people, especially men. The question is, do I want
to have this conversation right now? I’ve got this trusting,
innocent face turned towards me, wanting simply to show off a new
trick to a favorite relative. I know, though, that the Stranger
Danger talks are circling ever closer to me and my first-born, and
it’s probably time to begin laying the groundwork.

“The thing is, kiddo, that the only man who should help you
go potty or see you get dressed should be Daddy,” I start

“But why?”

“Well, some grownups don’t like children, and there are
some bad men out there who may want to hurt you, and keeping your
clothes on helps keep you safe,” I continued.

And Maddie looked up at me and said, “But Uncle Daniel loves

What can I say? I explained the situation to Uncle Daniel, and he
watched as Maddie teetered out in her pull-ups and solemnly
demonstrated how to put on a leotard.

I’m a coward. I know that. I’m just not ready to make
my baby grow up quite that much.


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