August’s preschool is a little like “Lord of the Flies”. Scratch that, it’s a lot like “Lord of the Flies”. When we pick up our kids at the preschool gate, we never know we’ll find. To be honest, I’m always excited to see how the kids have changed themselves in the short three hours that they’re there.
They often use their clothes as a paint palette, and glitter to accessorize. Sometimes kids will come out with water dripping from their hair and a bag of soggy clothes dragging behind them. And every now and again, but very rarely they will come out looking exactly as you left them. If they do come out looking exactly the same, be concerned because they may have had a “thumbs down” sort of day.
Luckily it’s a co-op, which means I work at his school once a week, and I know that all these things are to be expected for our preschool. In fact when I was contemplating which preschool to send August to, a mother (from an online mom’s group) suggested we might not want to attend this preschool because they let the children run around naked! (Say it isn’t so.)
Naked?! At a preschool? That’s awesome! Sign us up! And we did. As it turns out, being naked at this school is so popular that they created a special time when everyone has to have their clothes back on. “Shoes, Socks and Clothing time” happens at exactly 3:00pm every day. This is the time at which boys and girls get to choose what clothing they put back on. It can be their extra clothes that remains in their cubbies, the clean stock of girls clothing in the bathroom, the clean stock of boys clothing in the bathroom, or the clothes they wore to school (NEVER happens!). My personal favorite was one day I saw a boy go in to school wearing jeans, a baseball t-shirt, socks and sneakers (very boy like) . After three hours of preschool, he came out wearing a yellow sundress, girls panties, pink nail polish, black sneakers, slightly damp hair, and a bag of wet clothes in hand. That, my friends, is a two thumbs up day at preschool.
Not August, though. Seven months in to our first year, and we were still waiting for him to shed his clothes. Every week I watched the cute little bottoms of other preschool girls and boys enjoying their freedom and wondered when August might partake. At some point I thought to myself, “Maybe he just doesn’t notice the other kids taking off their clothes and running around naked?”
Until this week when we had an unusually warm day in San Francisco (Don’t get any crazy ideas, it was only seventy degrees, but it felt like a heat wave to us!). Since August has very fair skin I told him he was going to need some sunscreen before going to school. I had to prepare him for this in advance because he hates sunscreen. I decided I would only torture him with his arms, neck, ears and face.
But when I started putting the sunscreen on his arms, he looked up at me and said, “Hey Mom, let’s do this all over!”
“Yes. It feels nice.”
Umm, okay, you don’t have to ask me twice. So he preceded to dictate where to apply sunscreen.
“Thighs. Knees. Ankles. Chest. Tummy. Back. Elbows. Feet. Butt, please Mom.”
Once we were done he said, “I’ve been DYING for you to do this. Now I can take my clothes off at school!”
Huh? That’s what he’s been waiting for? Sunscreen that usually I need to tie him down for? Anyhow, I smiled, and wondered if this really meant what I thought it meant. I admit I was a bit nervous about him getting naked. I don’t know why, but I was.
Gate time arrived, and I stood in line waiting to pick him up wondering what state I would find him in. He walked out, with a big grin on his face wearing his spare clothes from his cubby and said, “Mom, I was naked today!”
He did it! He had his coming out party. The hazing was over, and he was finally a part of the group. I was so proud. And he told me he had a two thumbs up kind of day. Of course, all of this left me jealous and wondering “How was it? Was it scary to take your clothes off? Were you cold? Did any of the other regulars notice that this was your first time?”
I found myself bragging to all the moms, dads, and even the Director of the school about August’s first naked day. There were high-fives all around.
The only question I wasn’t still contemplating by the end of the day was ”Will you do it again?” Pretty sure that’s a resounding “YES!”