Baby. Baby. I need a baby. NO NO--not me (chill yourself. I'm not even a tiny bit ready!) But you've certainly heard people say that before, right? They want a baby. And rightfully so. So squishy and cute and ohhh a little sweet bundle to love. I, too, wanted a baby. Each time. And I got two little beautiful girls.
But the thing is? They are babies, for like, four point two seconds. Then, they are kids. They don't stay babies for long. They're kids for a good bit of the time they're in your nest, and then they're tweens, and then they're teens (and oh God, hold me)....and then they're off to college and like, Mom, who? (I may hold back tears just typing that. Ouch. My girls better not do that to me. Sob.)
It's a very short, trust me, VERY short time until they are telling you their opinion, verbalizing everything they absorbed that day (mostly through your parenting mistakes...speaking from experience, ahem), and causing you to fear the future, and/or pray for wisdom daily---because parenting ain't no joke, kids.
I struggle every single day with the things I realize that my not yet 3 year old (but too soon for my liking) absorbs. I mean, it's everything, basically. And I totally, TOTALLY understand why parents have full conversations spelling out every letter of--
S-H-O-U-L-D W-E G-O T-O T-H-E P-A-R-K T-O-D-A-Y- ???
Because God-Forbid, you change plans, something goes awry, or whatever--you will never live it down.
Also, I suck at following along with secret parental spelling contests. I'm slow, I guess.
But that? That's the easy stuff.
It gets harder. And my kid isn't even 3 yet.
The other day, Emeline came across a photo from my senior year. I was in a bikini, giving a piggy back to my friend, also in a bikini--on the beach. We were young and cute. Yes, we were in our glory days, if you will. We looked good.
She looked at it. Paused. Looked up at me.
Then she said, "Mom? You were skinny?" (while pointing to the picture), in a sweet, innocent voice.
I sat there, blink-blink-blink. Did my 2 year old just say that? Skinny? Where did she hear that word? Have I said that without even thinking? Oh, sweet Jesus, why am I having this conversation with her already. She is too young. This is all my fault. Oh.my.gosh.what.do.I.do.
In shock, I just very calmly said, "Oh, you think?" (not sure if she even knew what she was saying)
She looked at me. Looked at the picture. Looked back at me, and said...."Oh ::giggle::, you're skinny now, mom!"
Shock doesn't even begin to describe it.
I scrambled. I started telling her about health, and how taking care of your body doesn't mean you are skinny. I talked to her about eating well, and exercising, and how it makes our bodies strong so we can do fun things. It's more important to be healthy, I emphasized that over and over and OVER.
Then she said, "Oh, yea, you're helfy, mom!" and then bopped away like she does without a care in the world.
I was left there feeling awful, honestly. Not about myself. Not about my body. BUT THAT MY KID JUST USED THE WORD SKINNY.
You know, I've thought about this, over and over. I don't use that word in reference to my body. I can't remember ever saying it out loud in front of her. The only thing I can remember talking about are stupid skinny jeans. Which, honestly--I need to come up with a new name for them. Because it is NOT OKAY for my kid to use the word skinny.
The truth is, though. She probably picked it up from adult conversation. Someone saying, "oh you're looking skinny" (while meaning a compliment, obviously, or paying tribute to hard work)--things that girlfriends say to one another, or family members in quick conversation.
It made me realize, even more so, those ears are always listening.
And I could not believe that I was already having, essentially, a talk about body image with my toddler.
Every day is a challenge. A challenge to remember to choose my words properly. These kids are smart. They soak it up. The fact that they are sponges, as I told my husband, is both amazing and the worst thing ever all rolled into one.
When they can count in spanish, you're all BEAMING from ear to ear with pride.
And then they repeat something utterly embarrassing you thought you said in private to your husband, in front of all your family, and you want to go hide in a corner.
All this to say. Every single day my kid teaches me more. Babies--they turn into kids, fast. And soon issues like sleep deprivation will feel more like a minor annoyance than The Worst Thing Ever. The real things you deal with as your kids age--those are the toughies.
...and she's not even 3.
Seriously. I pray for wisdom every.single.day--for now, for my future.
This ain't no easy thang.
Since Google Reader is gone July 1st, I've switched to Blog Lovin--so make sure to click below to keep following.