Our boys love swimming lessons. We’ve scheduled them so that both my wife and I can take them and watch them splash and learn, it’s a great fun family night out.
We usually split the boys up, she taking the younger, me taking the older. (This is how favorite kids are born, by the way.) This week at swimming lessons, I dropped them off at the door because we were running late, and she hustled them through the changing room to get ready for class.
We usually avoid the ‘family’ changing rooms because they are so crowded. So she pulled both boys into the women’s room.
Zacharie is 6. Charlie is nearly 4. Until now, we’ve never thought anything of both boys being the women’s room with their mom, and nobody has ever said anything.
But this week, as my wife changed our youngest and left our oldest waiting, she noticed him staring. It was nothing odd, or weird, or creepy, he was just staring at a younger girl getting changed.
Now kids stare all the time. Watch them around anyone who is ‘different’ and they will stare, hoping to learn and understand why the person has one leg, a scar on their face, pink hair, dark skin, a wheelchair. It’s inquisitive, natural, and frankly it’s just the way kids are.
But when you’re staring at naked people, the rules change a little bit.
My wife noticed it, didn’t say anything, and then mentioned it to me as we sat and watched the boys splash.
“I think it’s time that Zacharie doesn’t go in the women’s changing room any more,” she admitted.
And so, after class, when Z was with me, I explained it to him. I told him that people, when they’re naked, like privacy, just as he doesn’t like me in the room when he’s on the toilet or having a shower at home. Sometimes girls and boys need privacy when they’re naked.
We underlined that he did nothing wrong, and this is just something that people do ‘when they get older.’ We made it sound much more like a big boy stage to accomplish, more than anything creepy or awkward.
But, as with every parenting challenge, conversation, or awkward incident, it’s a situation that we saw as out of ordinary, more than any wrong-doing on our son’s part.
When did you stop taking your boys into the women’s changing room at the pool?