“Can animals be naked?” he asked, his little forehead creased in perplexed concentration.
“Naked how?” I responded. “Animals don’t usually wear clothes. People may dress their dogs with coats or booties if its raining or snowing, but even that only sometimes.”
He waved me off. “I’m not talking about dogs, even.”
I smiled. The kindergartener’s contenance was a smaller version of adolescents’ exasperation at the ‘know-nothing-adults’ they are somehow expected to live with.
“Oh, okay.” I conceded, “I guess I misunderstood. What did you mean, then?”
“Other things. Like, um … snakes.”
“Snakes?!” I repeated.
“Yeah.” He moved his head up and down for emphasis. “Because I think maybe a snake took his clothes off and ran away and now he’s naked.”
Comprehension slithered in to lift my confusion. “Was this when you went to visit your grandma in Arizona?”
He nodded again. “It looked like a snake but it was only snake clothes.”
I grinned. “I think you saw a snake skin shed! How cool! But don’t worry, it still has skin on its body. You see, when a snake’s skin is too small for it, it grows new skin underneath and then it wriggles out of the old skin and sheds it inside out like a sock.”
The little boy narrowed his eyes and inspected my expression to see if I was perhaps pulling his leg. What he saw in my face must’ve reassured him.
“Good,” he said. “Because I didn’t want everyone to see his privates.”
For The Daily Post