We at Naptime are doing our best to raise two feminists. Our boys know that grownups do dishes, laundry, sewing, construction, parenting, policing, fire fighting, paying, cooking, driving, and fixing. Both know men with ponytails, boys who wear pink, girls who like mud and bugs…any gender stereotype our society fosters, we fight. Hard.
And one pervasive social pressure I’ve been working to eliminate since I was pregnant with Peanut (honestly, because I thought he was a girl and didn’t want her buying into “should”s) is the oppressive body image issues that American women, especially, are saddled with. I don’t talk about body size or dissatisfaction.
Peanut pointed to my belly about a month ago and proclaimed that I was probably going to have another baby because my uterus was making my tummy pretty big. I shuttered slightly, then smiled and explained casually that after a baby sometimes it takes a while for tummies to get small again, and that sometimes they never do.
He also came home from year two of preschool and asked what “fat” meant because they heard a story at school where fat didn’t seem to mean part of the fat/protein/carbohydrate triad.
I think it’s important that my boys grow up to be men who see people for who they are and what they do, not what they look like or how they can be labeled.
Well, my chickens came home to roost on a run today. I was pushing ButterBaby in a jogging stroller, and Spouse was behind me, pushing Peanut. Halfway up a moderate hill I hear, “Mommy, it looks like two monsters bonking each other. But it’s just your bottom.”
I laughed. Hard. For about half a mile. He seemed pleased.
Look, I have at least double the rear end I did before gestating two kids. But I don’t know what it looks like from behind. Running. And my self worth is not wrapped up in how my almost-five-year-old describes my ass. Maybe it does look like monsters. I asked him later how the monsters were bonking each other. On the head? Side to side? “Of course not,” he answered. “They were bonking each other on the mouth.”
Honestly, that baffled me a bit. But I went with it. It’s his story, not mine.
Because what I realized pretty quickly, is: this is not about me. This is about Peanut’s storytelling skills. He often spins interesting yarns and interrupts himself halfway through to say, “This is only in my imagination.” He gets the distinction between fiction and non-fiction. And is his version, my bottom is two monsters. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say when he gives them voices.