“Mom, I think Dad is a little bit smarter than you,” my six-year-old divulged to me while I was driving him and his brother to the library.
This was the day after he told me my upper arms were “squishy.”
I took several deep breaths, squeezed the steering wheel until my knuckles were white, and managed to refrain from yelling, “You don’t see your dad taking you to the library, do you?!”
I can handle my children’s honest observations about me with grace, but when they direct their comments toward others, I’m at a loss for words.
The youngest member of our family has asked several adults why their stomachs are so big. He is blissfully unaware of his own round tummy.
The same son also yelled out of the car window at a fellow grocery store shopper (who was probably only in her fifties), “Hey, look at that granny in the parking lot!” I’m sure that made her Monday even more of a Monday. I might as well have followed that exclamation by driving through a puddle in the parking lot and splashing water all over her and her groceries for full effect.
You may be surprised, but my sons are actually two of the most thoughtful people I know. They put a great deal of thought into gifts for others and help with chores at school and home.
They just have no point of reference right now.
My sons don’t yet understand that their observations can sometimes be hurtful because they have yet to feel any shame about their bodies or their capabilities. I want to prevent them from feeling the shame that comes when comparing oneself to others as long as possible. There will always be someone who is better looking, more coordinated in sports, and smarter.
While the things they say sometimes cause me to cringe, it also reveals my children’s innocence and wonder about the world and the people that comprise it.
For that, I am thankful.