Putting up with idiotic and patronizing mansplaining comments is often part and parcel of daily life for modern women. Honestly, and rather sadly, I guess I've grown used to it over the years. However, I didn't expect to find myself falling prey to mansplaining in my own home. Thanks to my son's enormous toddler ego, however, my 3 year old old thinks he's smarter than me. The times my toddler son has actually mansplained me range from the hilarious to the side-eye worthy, so unlike other mansplaining situations I'm forced to deal with in the "real world," at least I can laugh when my son does it.
I take solace in the fact that my darling boy isn't sexist, he's just a kid. He gets to hang his hat on the excuse that he's a toddler who doesn't know better, especially when he not only treats me like an ignoramus, but literally everyone he encounters. He'll roll his eyes at your ignorance, then slowly and carefully explain the world to you (as he sees it, of course). What confidence he must possess, to imagine he is already the most intelligent being alive. I have to get me some of that self-esteem, you guys.
Back when I was a class teacher, I once got into an argument with a 4-year-old child in my class who swore dolphins were a type of whale. I tried gently correcting him, pointing to my years of experience on Earth as evidence of my superior knowledge and even employing a colleague to back me up. Still, my young student stuck to his guns. One not-so-smug Google search later and I was apologizing profusely; it turns out dolphins are indeed a type of whale. Who knew, right? Well it turns out a 4-year-old toddler knew. I guess sometimes we all need a little 'kidsplaining,' like these important lessons my son taught me:
When He Defined Imaginative Play
I don't love to actively play with my child. Honestly, I feel a bit silly and I worry about ruining the nature of his child-centered world. I prefer to watch and work together on more art-based or educational projects.
However, when I do play imaginatively with him. and become totally immersed in being a tiger or a fairy or a robot-witch hybrid, he'll suddenly get all serious and say in a condescending tone, "You do know this is just pretend, right mommy?"
Well, that just sucked the fun right out of it, kid. I think I'll go dust something.
When He Interrupted Me To Ask About My Boobs
I breastfed my son until he was a 2-year-old toddler (and a little beyond, actually) but even now (half a year later), he'll sometimes reminisce about my breasts and their "yummy, yummy" milk.
The other day I was in the middle of a sentence when this conversation happened:
Him: "Ssh, Mommy. Those breasts are so soft."
Me: "Um, thanks? Now, I was saying..."
Him: 'They still have milk? Yes or now?"
Me: "No. I'm trying to tell..."
Him: "Hmm. It was good, wasn't it?"
Ugh, child. Yes, breastfeeding was awesome and clearly beneficial but can we just, you know, move on?
When He Demanded The Remote
My son's favorite show involves a lot of "selecting" on the remote control. You have to choose his version of the app, get to the right DVR recording, and then select the right episode in his folder. Keep in mind, I'm being asked to do do all this in the morning, when my eyelids don't stay open by themselves.
At that point he usually snatches the remote from me and says, "I'll do it!" while mumbling that I am taking too long. How in the world does he know how to do this already?
When He Tried To Encourage Me To Try Something New
My child, like many kids his age, is very fussy about new foods. As a result he will flat out refuse to even allow something new on his plate.
However, he expects me to be way more adventurous, usually forcing unknown food items (or whatever he's found under the couch) into my mouth yelling, "Try it! You'll like it!"
When He Taught Me About The Female Body
My son was staring at me in the bath when he asked, "How come you don't have a penis?" Since my son isn't age appropriate to really dive into conversations surrounding gender construct and whatnot, I decided to simply say, "Because I'm a girl, and girls don't have a penis." He responded furiously, "Yes, they do!" and then followed it up with a very serious suggestion of, "Maybe yours just fell off."
That's hard to argue against, my friends.
When He Told Me How To Do My Job
My son loves to tap away on my computer, or his own toy version, and pretend to do "work." The other day he told me I was doing it all wrong. "You cant work with just one hand, mommy. Put your coffee down and do it properly!' Sure, kid. Sure.
When He Patted Me On The Head
My son literally reached across and patting me on the head. He then said, accompanied with a sickly sweet smile, "There, there."
When He Taught Me About Hockey
My son knows even less about hockey than I do, but still likes to try and "teach" me all about the sport. The "rules" of the game, as he explains them, are completely made up and have no logic to them at all. Still, I nod politely and thank him for explaining it all to old mommy.
Even though my son's "kidsplaining" sometimes makes me feel undervalued, most of his lessons have a side dish of hilarity and a good dose of the absurdity, which makes them a little easier to bear. However, I think I might need to work on my "momsplaining."