Private Parts

Today, I took my two girls, my niece and her wonderful nanny to the aforementioned crazy-town kids’ museum.  Maybe I was in a zen place or maybe because there were no domineering big kids today, but it wasn’t a complete disaster.  One of my best friends and her two boys met us there too (they’re the same ages as my girls).  We each had one kid strapped to us and the other running around getting soaked at the water tables.  Thanks to the water table and the glass of water I gave my older daughter in the cafeteria (wishful thinking as she spilled the entire contents all over herself, the chair and the floor), I was that mom who rips off her kid’s wet shirt and changes her right at the table in the cafe.  Breasts as a private part have not yet been discussed. 
But are breasts really that private anymore?  Aren’t they being flashed in front of your face all day long?  There’s a Victoria’s Secret on the corner of the main street in my town.  I walk or drive past it almost daily.  There are life-size posters in the window that have photos so provocative I’m surprised there aren’t more accidents at that intersection.  But no one seems to be complaining.  Aren’t the breasts the highlight of what makes a woman’s body so much better to look at than a guy’s?
Yes, I’m straight, but I’d rather go to a stripclub to see women shake their things than see a man shake his.  I’ve been to both sorts of establishments.  Once, in the weirdest “super” club (there were at least 5 dance clubs in addition to a male strip joint in this establishment) on the outskirts of Boston, I saw a dude pour hot wax on himself.  It is a sight that I will never be able to un-burn from my retinas.  (Dad, I’m just joking.  Everyone else, I’m totally not kidding and it was nasty).  I also saw (thanks to my college roommates’ birthday wish, not of my own volition) a show called Puppetry of the Penis.  The name alone should shock you enough, I will spare you the gag-worthy details.  Then one office Christmas party gone horribly wrong, my husband and I wound up at Scores in NYC.  Very awkward, but also enlightening.  I encourage all wives or girlfriends to go to a stripclub, it will demystify the experience for you and perhaps you’ll feel a little more at ease when your partner wants to go.  At least, that’s what it did for me, but I digress. 
My point is the woman’s body is a beautiful thing, much nicer to look at than the more utilitarian male form.  So how do I teach my daughters that I don’t want them to go flashing their boobs for beads at Mardi Gras, while at the same time to be proud and not ashamed of their bodies?  I want them to have confidence in themselves no matter their shape or size, but also to respect their bodies enough to cover them appropriately? 
I undress freely in front of my daughters and encourage naked time at our house.  I am trying to set a good example of being comfortable in my own skin.  I truly don’t know how to approach this post-op.  In my head, I’m imagining some really bad scarring.  My older daughter is sort of obsessed with boo-boos.  My mom had a mole removed 6 months ago and the little one is still saying, “Nanny has a boo-boo on her nose. She went in the sun too much without lotion.”  My mother-in-law burned her hand at least 4 months ago… “Gammy has a burn on her hand.  Don’t touch the oven.  So very hot!”  Obviously, we’ve all tried to show her the consequences to teach her not to do those things.  So what do I say about my scars?  They’ll be a consequence of something that could not have been avoided… genetics. I’m searching for the lesson to teach both of my girls.   I hope when I see the scars I think more about how they represent strength, courage, and health.  I just have to figure out the right way to help my little girls understand that.

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