by Brooke Seguin

Naked Children. To be more precise, naked boys - mostly under the age of 8. To some, this may sound unsettling, uncomfortable, and very naughty. To me, "naked boys" merely conjures images and memories from a very special time in my life: The summer of 2002. That summer, I worked as a counselor and a summer day camp - a baptist summer day camp. And surprisingly... I do believe it's the Baptists who are most likely to nakedly run amuck. And I must add to the observation that - it's all boys.

My introduction the naked six-year-old form started rather mildly. It began like most mornings: greeting kindergarteners as they entered the classroom while I readied construction paper, crayons, and glue. And in walks Dylan. "what's up, Dylan? How ar.... where are your pants?" To which he replied .... (shoulder shrug)... "my mom's on vacation?" ... "From enforcing pants?" Apparently, his father had done the dressing duties this morning and forgot to check his kid for pants. And, I had to explain to Dylan why he had to sit in the office until his dad brought pants. Not easy to explain the delicate social implications of no-pants in public to a 6 year old. Those Superman underpants were super cute though.

In the very same class, Zachary. Quite a young charmer, Zachary had a new swimsuit. It was pretty cute. He was very pleased with himself... showing off to everyone including the 6th grade girls table in the lunchroom They all gushed "how cute" "we love it" and Zachary replied "yeah? Wanna see what's underneath???!" They screamed in terror. Zachary looked very satisfied with himself and his swimsuit.

Swimtime was always a dangerous time for unexpected naked. Because swimtime involved changing. I would always send 2 and only 2 kids at a time into the restroom to change while I waited outside. This was to discourage playing in the bathroom and wasting time. I sent the last two boys in, Dylan and Reed. I remind them: "no playing in there. Get in, get out, so we can get to the pool". "YES MA'AM!" They go in... 5 minutes passes... I hear giggles. I knock, "Dylan, Reed - you better not be playing in there. Hurry up, change, and get out or you'll lose 3 minutes of swimtime." - "YES MA'AM!" "YES MA'AM!" A few more minutes pass - more giggles. I give my final warning, "boys. This is it. If you don't come out in the next few seconds - I'm coming in and you're in some BIG trouble." "YES MA'AM!" "we're coming" More seconds roll by - more giggles. "alright! That's it! I'm coming in!" I open the door and there before my are two 6 year old boys - completely naked. One is holding a GIANT sam's club size bottle of sunscreen above his chest - and dancing like so. ...... I'm stunned. The entire bathroom floor has an inch deep sunscreen coating. And these boys are having the time of their lives. I can't say a word. I shut the door quietly and fall on the floor laughing. It takes a good 5 minutes to recover and compose myself. Knowing that this image will be forever burned into my memory. I walk back into the bathroom, prepare the sternest face I can muster, and deliver the sentence: Boys, the bathroom is not where we play. We also do not play with sunscreen. Nor without our clothing. That comes much later in life. In your adulthood, you can do this all you want and judging from what i've seen today - you will do it and do it well. I instructed them to dress and clean the floor. (cause there ain't no way I"m doing it) and then welcome to Time Out.

And, of course, there are those times when naked presents itself unexpectedly. And you're forced to explain things sooner than you'd like... one beautiful Monday morning I unlocked the playground to let the children run free inside their chain link cage. As they enjoyed freedom among the slides and swingsets, the other counselors and I settled atop a picnic table to do some gossiping and laughing when suddenly the world stops - - and time begins to move very slowly. And almost simultaneously, we turn to see the same disturbing image. We all take off in slow motion like a bad baywatch montage. Before us (probably the most annoying child created - the music minister's son" is pulling an object up to his face. "NNNNNNNNNOOOO.. Put it down... put it down... no no..." We're freaking out. The child, puzzled and afraid... "what? It's mine. I found it. I found the balloon." ..... "yes. Yes, Austin. You did find a balloon but it's a dirty balloon. We don't put dirty balloons in our mouths." But of course this was no balloon. Austin had found a condom. A used condom. As we send a crying Austing to the restroom to ~ wash his mouth?~ and try to decide who will be calling his mother to explain the situation and give our sincerest wishes that her child will not contract a mouth disease - We notice that almost every other child is holding a "balloon"! Yes the playground is strewn with condoms. So we go into lockdown. Yell for the kids to put down the balloons and get against the fence. They're all upset because they think they're in time-out. I try to explain ... No you're not in trouble... there were balloons on the playground and.... yes. Yes, okay. You're all in timeout. Now quite and don't move. Explaining "balloons" - not my job!