Raising two kids, watching them grow, I often wonder: “How am I doing as a parent?” “How do my decisions affect Ruby and Edward’s development?” “How long will they be in therapy over this?” And I often end up thinking about how they would be in a different household, with different parents. Would they essentially be the same people, or would their personalities be totally different? If Ruby grew up in colonial times, or in North Korea, how would that affect her.
I don’t know if there’s any way to tell for sure if her sense of humor, so similar to mine, is genetic, or if she learned it from hanging out with me all day. But I do know that some of who she is was there from the day she was born. I have proof.
From day one, Ruby hated being swaddled. She could not wiggle and squirm out of those receiving blankets fast enough. We didn’t think too much of it at the time. We tried to wrap her for months, but eventually we just gave up. As she grew, she continued to shun blankets, cuddling, and all other forms of swaddling. At night these days, she sleeps with no sheets, no blankets, and, if she has her way, no jammies. She likes to be, as she says, a Nudey Ruby.
But Nudey Ruby is not just for bedtime. Oh no. Nudey Ruby is everywhere. I mentioned yesterday that every room of the house has some of her underwear in it. This is because we cannot keep it on her. Any excuse to get her clothes off and there they go, onto the floor. It was funny at first, before she started going outside to greet neighbors.
One day last month, as is our morning routine, I put her on the couch with a bubba and turned on Mickey Mouse so I could run up and take a shower. As I was in the shower, I could have sworn I heard the door open and I thought I heard voices, although it could have been the television. I quickly got out, dried myself off and threw my clothes on. I went downstairs to see Nudey Ruby standing in the living room.
“Did you open the door?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” she said smiling. “Some ladies were here and they asked if Mommy was home, but don’t worry. I told them she was at work and would be home at 5 o’clock!”
I’m still waiting for child protective services to show up. To this day I have no idea who those ladies were, or what they thought of the naked girl, seemingly home alone all day. And no matter how hard I try, I cannot get that girl to keep her clothes on. And that is all her.