[For the sake of PG rating, imagine a picture of someone's naked behind here. Preferably female. And while you're at it, preferably attractive...please?]
I was asked to see a coworker at her office the other day, and I walked the entire length of a long hallway to see her only to be greeted with horror. "Where're your pants?!" I shrugged and mumbled a faint I dunno. Then she wanted me to look around the office to see if anyone saw me with my assets in full view. Again I shrugged nonchalantly and did as she asked. No one was there. I didn't care either way. And then I woke up.
Of course it was a dream. If I really did something as ridiculous as forgetting to wear my pants to work, do you really think I'd announce it to the world? OK, maybe I would, but that's not the point. Office half-nakedness only happens on The Benny Hill Show. (Sorry, can't think of an American equivalent. Blame the Puritans.)
I don’t usually remember my dreams so this one struck me as peculiar. Especially the part where I felt no shame, like Eve before the apple. Quite unlike real life, where the tiniest public squawk from the Little Miss would embarrass the real me. Yes, I smack of new-momminess but I'm also a little gun shy - when your toddler's crying louder than the plane engine and disturbs everyone from rows 1 to 40, or when said toddler dives onto the filthy museum floor to throw an obscenely hysterical tantrum IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY, how do you keep it together?
But then again, I do wonder sometimes. When onlookers stare aghast at my screaming child and then accusatorily at me, do they really think I could easily stop that silly behavior? Just give my 17-month-old a stern talking-to? A wave of my mommy wand and a little sprinkle of stardust perhaps? Or worse, GIVE HER WHAT SHE WANTS AS LONG AS SHE SHUTS UP! Oh. OK. Sure. Why didn't I think of that?
Is a toddler tantrum embarrassing? Sure. But it’s also a healthy part of their growth (just not so healthy for my nerves). As a parent, I know that. As horrified onlookers, I'm just a breeder of the Devil's spawn. (And maybe I am - it's too soon to tell). The shame I feel is dulled by sheer practice, but it’s there. It makes me more mindful about the space we're invading and the people we're intruding, and I'd like to think that it makes me a more considerate parent. And that's a good thing, isn't it?
I'm also a believer in all things in moderation - I don't leave a party at the sound of the slightest whimper but I don't let her kick the seat in front of us, annoying a fellow passenger, just because it keeps her happy and relatively quiet on the plane (yes, I'm talking to YOU, Mama; YOU know who YOU are). However, I am also realistic. Little Miss will occasionally throw a public fit and launch a spoon to an unsuspecting stranger’s lap - and if they're really unlucky, there may be soup in it. That is her gift. And thankfully, if I play my cards right, it's also a phase. So maybe I should cut her some slack, and in the process, do the same for myself too.
Which reminds me (slack --> slacks --> or the lack thereof) let's get back to this dream of mine. (Naked butt? Hello?) I'm still having trouble deciphering it. Perhaps it's about shame? Modesty? Parenting at its kinkiest? The merits of underwear? Who knows. It's just a dream. If you asked Freud, he'd probably say it's about my mother. And he's probably right. But he's dead; so I guess I'll never know.
[What kind of parent are you? Or person? Do you do whatever it takes to make sure people view you (and/or your kids) in a positive light? Or does that have no bearing on your actions? Do you have naked butt dreams too? And if you do, more importantly, do you know what they mean? I'm really curious.]