As he should.
I mean, this kid will spend a good five minutes begging for some skin to skin and then spend the next ten playing with my nipples and laughing and loving how fatty and squishy my boobs are for him. They are his favorite part of my body, sans my lips smacking little kisses all over him.
He fed from my bosom until just last year. And even if he wasn’t feeding, he knew he could lay his head upon my chest and feel the heartbeat of warmth cradling him. He knows my body is where he was attached in a womb and latched for a few of the long years he will live independent. He is in love with my naked breasts.
My genitals? Not so much. Hates the hair, hates when it’s waxed or shaved, hates that there isn’t a penis like his because he can’t relate. So stepping out of a shower will put him in a silly tail spin. But my boobs? Hell, in the middle of the night he will find a way to be sure his hands are on them.
Now, my boobs are not the only part of my anatomy my kindergarten child is enamored with. He, for some reason, must always be tackling my neck. And his fetish with my fingertips and nose are enough to put me over the edge. But he’s a child, so I endure his attachment to the frame that holds and comforts him.
Including my naked bosom.
Social norms don’t much take to this philosophy of children. In a sad and sorrowful display, we’ve chosen to cover even the chests of female infants — and we train our girls and boys that there’s something inherently different about some parts of the body, even though there isn’t.
We have chosen to teach our daughters that their upper body merits privacy while they watch their male counterparts enjoy the breeze on their skin, shirt- and shame-free. A freedom those boys only have because their grandfathers fought to make it happen. And so all our children are taught to be sheltered from parts of a body based on nothing that makes any sense.
And generation and generation we go. Perpetuating these silly norms that are not normal at all. And what does it cost us if not the innocence of a five year old. Who just wants to caress the nipples that used to deliver some milk. (Or not).
These arbitrary rules hurt.
They are why I was so reluctant to nurse my boy in public. Why I still fight to protect families from harassment. Why I still let my five year old lay upon my naked bosom. Because somewhere along the way, society made up rules that negate his innocence.
And my child is innocent.
He doesn’t deserve the arbitrary standard that suggests my bosom is off limits. He doesn’t deserve the judgment. He doesn’t deserve someone seeing his journey as inappropriate. Because he’s simply enamored with the frame of his mother where he has always understood gives him comfort.
And I don’t merit the judgment either. Some want to say it’s wrong or inappropriate. Probably because they just don’t see boobs for what they are. Fat. Just a bunch of fat hanging there, pushed up and out, a few nerve endings that stimulate in certain circumstances. But, it’s still just fat.
Don’t get me wrong, Boobs are a part of the body and nerve endings live and thrive there. They can be amazing in the use and display of the architectural positioning of a female body. They… are… something.
But I mean, to a kid? They are the fun, the memory, the comfort and the zone of something that has absolutely no social norm construct laid upon it. They are just… a part of that awesome body that holds on tight. No different than the bosom of daddy or grandpa or grandma… because it’s a child… navigating the comforts of human interaction and his understanding of intimacy that matters most of all.
So many want to say the day will come he will be embarrassed that he was five once? I say, they are wrong. That children can and will navigate exactly what we teach them.
And we teach them.
As a parent of a five year old boy, I’m going to be having more and more discourse about his own body soon enough, and all the nerve endings he has and all the social constructs that inhibit or celebrate something he feels or not…
Today? I’m going to let him enjoy the bosom of skin he first cradled on.
*Breasts are classified as secondary sex characteristics, much like facial hair. They signal the onset of puberty. Breasts are not classified in men or women as sex organs.
*There are more nerve endings in the fingertips and lips of a human being than a breast. Any argument that breasts are sexual based on their role as an erogenous zone must account for every other part of the anatomy that serves dual or multiple functions. Sexual arousal begins in the brain.