One summer day in 1994 my two and one-half year old daughter went streaking. Hyped up on that exhilarated toddler “clean and wanting to be free” feeling, she wriggled out of my arms as I was toweling her off after a mid afternoon bath.
I was on my knees when this happened and by the time I’d made it to my feet in an effort to chase her down, I heard the front screen door open.
I was at least 25-30 feet behind her so the door was swinging back toward me by the time she had made it across the porch and lept into the front yard. I quickly pushed the door back open, towel in my hand and a surge of adrenaline aidEd my mommy-alert status as I followed her.
As I neared the edge of the porch I stopped, hesitated, then took in a scene that if shown in a movie would be a slo-mo moment. Hubby was standing in the next door neighbor’s yard, talking to two other dads from our ‘hood. Rylee saw him, sped up her already fast pace, long wet ringlets flowing behind her naked body and threw her arms open wide for the upcoming bear hug she expected to receive when she met him.
“EEEEEEeeeeeeeeEEEE!!!” She threw her head back and screamed, glee shooting from every cell in her body. Grass clippings covered more square inches of her wet skin with every step.
The startled man-group saw her, burst into laughter, but right before she lept into her father’s arms I scooped up her wriggling body, wrapped the towel around her and said the only thing I could think of at that moment. “Rylee, naked bathtime bodies are not for public viewing!”
I said it through my giggles, and the men parroted my message. “She’s right, Ry…not for public viewing!”
We said goodbye to the man-group, I hauled her, tow-sack style, back into the house and started bath number two for my little girl.
A few weeks later, Hubby announced that he was taking the girls with him while going grocery shopping so I could have a break. As soon as they were out of the house, I ran a bath, grabbed a book and sank into bubble-heaven.
I must have lost track of time because I was half-way through drying off when I heard the patter of little steps coming into the bathroom. I hadn’t bothered to close or lock the door because the grocery list was quite long. Evidently, Hubby was a quick shopper.
I spun around and grabbed a towel. Before I could even get it around my body the first time, Rylee pointed at me and said, “Na-KA-Ta-KA-Meewwwiiinng!”
“What baby?” I had no idea what she was saying.
A sing-song voice answered back. “Naka-TAKA-Mewing, Mommy!”
The atoms in my brain rushed around for a second or two until it dawned on me that I was indeed naked, having just gotten out of the bath, and was putting on a towel. My daughter was telling me that my naked bath body was “Not for public viewing.”
And so, “Naka-taka-miewing” became a household phrase. We’ve used it every year for different reasons, and in different situations.
And, seventeen years later, we used it last night after we staged our already stuffed Christmas stockings for our twenty-something girls, the husband of one, and the boyfriend of the other.
I’m so grateful for the gift of family pet-phrases and I LOVE that gift that keeps on giving from 1994.