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Jul 17 2014

Are We Too Prudish About Kids’ Public Nudity?

By at 11:01 am

Beach-nudity

Being a very young kid in Southern California in the 1970s meant lots of beach time. It also meant minimal bathing suit wearing until around the age of 4 or so.

No one made anything of it. Maybe my grandparents had seen everything during the many summers spent in the crush of humanity on Coney Island, and a couple of naked small kids was par for the course. My parents have family photos of one particular beach excursion with visiting relatives, our smartly solar-phobic Great Aunt Lil completely covered up while my sister and I rocked our birthday suits. I love those faded, orange-hued pictures. (A teenager would probably ask which Instagram filter we used.)

That was then. This is now. Americans historically don’t have a laid back attitude when it comes to public nudity compared to say, Europe. But based on a couple recent experiences I had trying to quickly change my kids at public parks, I think our puritanical ways have hit new levels of intensity.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 20 2013

Taking Your Kids to the Beach When You’re Terrified of Water

By at 5:04 pm

little girl on beachI walk up and down the aisles of a local discount store, filling my cart to the brim. My kids are chattering happily about swimming suits, beach towels, matching flip-flops, and sand pails. I have an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“Mommy, what does the beach look like?” my 4-year-old son asks. We live less than a three hour drive away from the ocean, and even closer still is the bay, and yet he’s never been to either. “I know how to swim,” exclaims my daughter excitedly. “I’ve been practicing in the bath!” I smile uneasily. I know it’s time I really teach them to swim, to teach them all about water safety. I can’t keep avoiding it. Read the rest of this entry →

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