These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Buckle up, little buddy - embarrassment coming at you at 100 mph.
Okay - I have debated blogging this, but have decided with it being part of life and all - anyone that would tease you about it is only lying that they haven't struggled with these same things, so call them a F*&^%ING LIAR and move on without them!
I have to blog about one of the latest developments you are undergoing.
Okay - first off - potty training? Almost complete.
You only need diapers at nap and bedtime and I'm about to cut the cord on them at nap, too.
Soooooo.... what comes along with moving out of diapers and into big boy pants? FREEDOM! Freedom to use the potty when you need to and not when Mommy puts you there. Freedom to be dry and clean and not have to sit in your own messes until they are noticed.
Oh, and did I mention, freedom of ..... choice?
No way to put this delicately, is there?
Lately you are discovering a new world that you never really realized existed until the diapers came off. And you are absolutely fascinated. And not shy about talking about it. In public and at school. Oh, and showing people.
Along with this territory comes a very delicate territory that I simply don't know how to navigate.
I'll also preface the remainder of this post stating that I have always called your privates what they are and not made up cutsie names for them as though I was trying to dress everything up to be more palatable to - everyone? I see this as an act that could inspire shame. It kind of gives the impression that there is something wrong with our privates. Some horrible unspeakableness that we can't even call our privates by their real names.
But, as I continue this post, I fear for your security above all and would hate for someone to google the word and land HERE, so I'm going to refer to it here on out as your "peanut".
So, this new freedom that you have has made you very curious. New sensations that you are aware of now that your previously padded existence kept from your scope of investigation. And in all different situations.
We are at the pool down at the lake surrounded by other families swimming and in the middle of the pool, you get a very serious expression on your face "Mommy? Can I touch my "peanut?"
My take on this has been to tell you that privates are called "privates" for a reason. I tell you that your peanut is part of your body so it's your choice when you touch it, but because it's a private thing, you should really only do so when you are alone or with your Mommy and Daddy. I debated whether I should include myself and your Daddy in this privacy zone, but decided that you need examples of reactions that are not horrified (just kindly and calmly ignoring the behavior) in order to verify that it's okay and really not awful. This is in order to balance out the reactions you have already had evoked by your teachers and others when you forget this rule or are simply unable to resist the temptation.
Already your teachers have instilled in you the thought that you can't touch yourself without someone else's permission which drives me a little batty. Sure - it allows them prevention and embarrassment in school, but a short term solution that works may not be the best long term solution.
I have just taken to either advising you to wait until you have privacy or telling you when you have privacy that it's your body and you may when others aren't around.
Of course, that doesn't always work.
"Mommy? Can I get OUT of the pool and touch my peanut?"
"Ummmmm. Nooooooo, because there are still other people around. You need to wait until you are alone without others around."
"Mommy - can I go over THERE and touch my peanut?"
sigh...... "Jack? Do you want to go back to the room?"
I kind of try to prepare friends and family that aren't aware of this recent fascination so they are prepared and don't scream out if your hands disappear while you are talking to them. I'm mostly wishing to achieve friendly reminders from those you love and trust that this if for alone time and not jaw dropping, eye popping, harsh words of discouragement, etc.
But, not knowing who is around while you go through this time in your young life, I have started wondering if I need to start talking to you also about stranger danger and stuff like that. I worry about the stranger that witnesses this and - if I catch their eye - I cast suspicious and eye narrowing anger in their direction as though just witnessing this innocence makes them evil. My Momma Bear comes out at full force and people are guilty until proven innocent. I'll back away with you and take an extra long and crazy walk back to our home in order to protect you from the invisible threat I worry could possibly harm you at such a young and vulnerable time in your life.
To put it mildly, FREEDOM brings with it great responsibility and my brain is boggled by the long term repercussions of mishandling such a topic. It is laden with dangerous possibilities all over the place. I want a child that is aware of himself in a realistic way - that we all go through this and it's normal - who doesn't absorb or attach moral judgements to these feelings as this can cause a child to grow up wondering what is wrong with them and if they are bad or naughty for experiencing things that we all experience.
And yet - at the same time - some healthy caution because you just don't know who is out there. Who is watching or taking note.
I just wish I knew the perfect thing to say and do here, cutie. But above all, know that I take this responsibility very seriously and I'll do my best on all fronts. Happy 4th of July, Buddy, and welcome to your first step towards independence.