Saturday, June 27, 2015

Must You Interrupt My Major Life Lesson?

I was reading an article online today about parents teaching their children to respect differences. We should not only teach our kids to see beyond physical differences, it said, but we should make sure they ask questions behind closed doors out of respect. I logged this bit of information and went about my day.

Fast forward to bedtime and I was reading Abby a book entitled, "What Mommies/Daddies Do Best." It's a book that has identical text for both mommies and daddies. "Mommies can teach you how to ride a bicycle; have a picnic with you, etc." Then, "Daddies can teach you how to ride a bicycle; have a picnic with you, etc." Each mommy, daddy, and child is depicted by an animal. There are hippos riding bikes, porcupines going through a bedtime routine, blah blah.

Anyway, we have read this book a few times over the past week and, each time, Abby points to the (very large) hippo mommy on a bicycle on the first page and says, "That doesn't look like a mommy." Earlier in the week, I just brushed this off and didn't respond. Tonight, however, I was armed with having read that blog earlier in the day.

It was time to teach a life lesson.

When Abby pointed to the hippo and stated, "That doesn't look like a mommy," I replied, "Sure it does. Mommies all look different right?"

I was so proud of myself. I mean, I'm passing along major life lessons here. I'm being the mom I'm supposed to be. The next time we see someone in public who looks different, I think, Abby will know that it's okay to look different.

My inflated mommy ego was short-lived, however, when she looked at Evie and started stroking her Pebbles-esque ponytail and said, "Evie's hair is soft!"

Maybe she didn't hear me. There was a lot going on in the room at the time. I wanted to make absolute sure she heard me, though, because this was a big-time life lesson. I needed her to understand that she shouldn't believe mommies to look all one way -- they all look different.

So I reiterated, "Mommies come in all different shapes and sizes, right? Not all mommies look the same."

What does she do next? Points to that same hippo on that same bike and says, "That doesn't look like a mommy."

I sigh heavily and say -- knowing she would have no idea what I was talking about -- "way to buy into the stereotype."

Moving along to the daddy side of the book, she pointed out yet another animal and declared that it "didn't look like a daddy." At this point, I'm completely beyond attempting to teach anything. Clearly she is not in the right state of mind to learn how the world works. I blow off her comment.

We got to the end of the book and there was another picture of the same daddy/child pair, but in a different position. She says, "Now it looks like a daddy." I asked why. "Look at his shirt!"

I quit. Consider me destined to be embarrassed in public when my kid points out that someone doesn't look right.