My toddler is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He's adorable with long, fluttering lashes, but his words are often abrupt, harsh, and (sadly) true. Even though I know there's nothing vindictive going on when my toddler low-key shames me every single day, sometimes I can't help but take his words pretty personally. Among some of my little guy's trademark shaming methods, I'm least excited about the times he catches me undressed or fresh from the shower because, well, ouch.
To preface all of this, my son is probably my biggest fan, so I try to take his insults with a grain of salt. However, and regardless of how well-intentioned my son is, his words can cut deep and when I least expect them to have any sort of impact. When I'm not the target, he often goes after his sister. With her I can tell he means no harm, too, but his observations of me, her, the world around him are different than ours. When I think my short hair looks cute, he "politely" disagrees by telling me I should grow it back out because then, "it would be prettier." Like I said, they cut deep.
I cut my boy some slack because he's still growing and learning how to read other people's reactions. Even still, I remain the one he practices with the most. Yay me! On that note, here are some of the ways my little sweetheart low-key shames me every damn day.
When He Tries To Smooth My Hair
As I mentioned, my hair is much shorter than it was a couple years back. You'd think my son's memory didn't stretch so far, but at a certain point every day he attempts to smooth my unruly curls, asks when I'm growing my hair back out, or asks where my hat is. Honestly, it only makes me rebel, tousling my "big hair, don't care" attitude that much more.
When He Questions My Wardrobe
Listen, I work from home and care for my kids when they're not in school. I don't need to dress up in anything but my damn shorts and damn baggy shirts for pickup/drop-off. At least, not unless my toddler asks when I'm going to wear "real" clothes again, forcing to re-think my life choices (again).
When He Asks About My Blemishes
I'm a grown-ass, 35 year old woman with children and still have the breakouts of a teenager. I use prescription creams, but I can't help how quickly they'll work (or fail). I also do the semi-weekly masks to help calm and soothe my skin, but no matter what I'm doing, my boy will undoubtedly point out the one blemish that has already set up camp, usually in public and usually lout enough for everyone to hear. Lucky me.
When He Comments On My Size
I've found that it doesn't matter what my size is, my son will comment on it in his own way. When I was a few pounds heavier, he'd innocently mention how he couldn't get his hands around me. When I'm lighter, he'll say something about my bones poking him (which isn't even close to true, BTW). In the aftermath of lifelong eating disorders, I aim to maintain a good health that promotes good self-esteem. When he says anything about my body — good or bad — I can't help but take it personally.
When He Remarks On, Or Avoids, His Meals
Every day I take the time to make sure my kids get the right foods into their bodies. This means I make most of our meals from scratch and it takes a lot of time. Maybe my kid doesn't mean to shame me by refusing the chicken tenders he asked for, calling them "gross," but it hurts.
When He Lies To Other People About Me
My son has a wild imagination, as most kids his age do. I'm usually entertained by his shenanigans (a benefit of being the rainbow baby), but there are times he flat-out lies to people about me, in front of me. Like the time he said I was pregnant to his teacher (I wasn't), or when he was asked what his favorite thing to do with me was, and he replied, "Nothing because she's always working." Sigh.
When He Asks Me To Remove My Glasses (Or Put Them Back On)
The most fascinating and infuriating ways my son low-key shames me is when he asks me to remove my glasses if I'm wearing them (because they "make my eyes look small") or to put them back on (because my "eyes are too big"). Like, can you make up your mind already? Also, I'll wear my glasses as I need them, OK?
When He Rejects My Public Displays Of Affection
My son and I are very similar. We're both introverts, semi-quiet, and are quick to reject any type of affection. I get this about him and I understand it, but when he does it in front of people by gently nudging me away when I go for a hug goodbye, my heart shatters into millions of pieces.
I know my son doesn't mean to shame me when he says and does these things, and I know it's my job to teach him how to respond appropriately. Still, it'd be cool if we'd make it through one day without him asking if I've changed my clothes since yesterday (I have, they just look the same, OK?).