Monday, January 29, 2018

Like It Is

Loquacity and keen observation are trademark characteristics of my three-year-old.  As such, it took me less than half a second to know what the concluding adjective of her sentence was going to be one time when she started out saying:

" Mommy, that lady is really..."

I was waiting in a relatively quiet lobby with her and my youngest as the astute child began her study.   Several people were also there waiting when a woman walked in to join us all.  My daughter, noticing the woman's larger girth, attempted to give commentary on the her size. These  efforts were temporarily obstructed by the stern "You'd better not" expression plastered across my face as I looked straight into her eyes.  Before the first sound exited her mouth even, I felt exactly what she wanted to say.  

"Mommy, that lady--"

"Shhhh," I uttered.

"But Mom, that lady--"

"Baby, just be quiet. It's not always appropriate to comment about someone's appearance.  Ok?"  I continued my attempts at silencing her.

"OK, but Mom, that lady is really big!"


Well, at least she had lowered her voice.  Kind of.

But then, as she got up to go throw away a piece of paper ( a task I had assigned as a distraction), my child tip toed across the floor, belly poked out, and commenced to imitate the woman's walk all the way to the trash can. 

"And Mom, she walks like this."


*Face palm*

Now, in no way was she making fun of or teasing the lady (thankfully she knows nothing of that behavior at this point). She wasn't grinning, being humorous, or doing any such thing during her observation and subsequent commentary.  She was merely looking and reporting.  Even still, since I recognize that it's not generally accepted as proper to remark about a person's size or appearance--outside of what's considered to be aesthetically appealing or desirable anyway--I felt compelled to prevent my child from even just stating what she had simply witnessed with her eyes: the woman who had come into the lobby was big in size and had a tip toey way of walking.  That in itself is not loaded, yet to just have it spoken out loud could cause the woman as well as others present in the room to feel uncomfortable.  My sensibilities wanted to prevent that from happening.  It turned out fine, though, as no one was really able to hear her or catch on to what her impersonating gait represented on the way to the trashcan.  (It likely would have been fine even if they had, but still.) 

(We've started jokingly calling her "Pressha" (Pressure), since she will have people under so much pressure with her high energy,  hundred questions, and general love of talking.  When I wrote THIS blog post two years ago, I had no clue what was ahead.)

And because I'm working to build her up for that time when she learns through experience via a force outside of my control that there is such a thing as bullying, teasing, or saying unkind things about how someone may look, I'm preparing her with some "pre-installed apps" that give her access to an internal database of affirmations that build rather than destroy.  Because she's able to tap into this and sees it as a norm even at the young age of three, after walking back from the trash can to her seat that day in a lobby, she added:

"And Mom, she looks so nice today!"

Hopefully we're heading toward some beautiful ways of being.

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