Yesterday, we were changing into swim suits when my three year old looked up at me in horror and bellowed “oh nooooo mama! You have a mosquito bite under your nipple.”
Uh...you mean my breast? Thanks kid.
Why is it that my children no talk the English good but still manage to brilliantly illuminate faults of mine, most of which THEY are responsible for?
“Mommy, why you have so many boo-boos on your face?”
Because Caleb’s constant attempts to climb the kitchen island and leap to his death give me stress acne.
“Mommy, why you have that line on your tummy?”
Because even though I haven’t been pregnant in 21 months, my abdomen still believes that Linea Negra is a sexy life choice.
“Mommy, why are your eyes leaking?”
Because you are meaner than a menstruating 14-year old.
These are the things I want to say. When she called out my sad-beanless-hackeysack boobs, I wanted to scream THEY WERE NEVER BIG BUT THEY USED TO BE GLORIOUS AND YOUDIDTHISTOME. But alas, most days I choose not to be a shitbrick of a mother. I have to be thoughtful about how I respond to such an inquiry barrage
Children are so curious, so observant. It’s a beautiful thing to witness. Watching my kids experience the most mundane occurrences with delight and wonder shifts my perspective, reminds me to be present, to be mindful of all I have to be thankful for. But children are also honest as hell, y’all (Unless they’re lying about whether or not they whipped a sibling in the face with a plastic stethoscope). We’ve all heard horror stories about toddlers calling out a differently-abled person in a supermarket or screaming out questions about someone’s hair or skin-color or clothing. My 3-year-old watched a commercial starring a brilliant, beautiful, curvy actress recently, and after it had ended giggled, “Mommy! That show with the piggy is so funny! Can we watch it again?”
Um. The fuck??
She’s too young to be deliberately cutting. I’m not sure intentional cruelty exists within her yet. But, sweet-baby-Jesus-in-heaven, I was glad we were not in public when that happened. I want to nurture her openness and encourage her questions. I want to foster a sense of security in my kids such that they keep that curious enthusiasm as long as possible. But the child can’t be calling people piggies. What the what?
How best to walk that tightrope? I suppose it ultimately comes down to modeling. I have to think about whether or not I’m moving through the day with compassion and sensitivity, if I’m speaking kindly. Am I being defensive or am I prepared to be vulnerable? Do I have shame or judgement around a certain topic and if so, how do I process it myself prior to opening up to my impressionable and spongey toddler. Can I take a deep breath, be thoughtful, and meet my children with love, as I ask them to do the same?
So, when Sadie asks me what I’m making for dinner and, after I respond, looks up at me with those enormous blue eyes and sweetly responds “It smells kinda like your toots, mama,” I best be prepared to walk the talk, y’all.