Contest entry. All parents should be issued a translater! A lesson in Toddler 101.
| Drumming rain woke me to another dreary Saturday of Seattle's endless autumn. Texas born and bred, I just can't enjoy a brisk walk layered in plastic. So, I hit the Total Gym. Pushing and pulling, I agonized through my routine. I bet Christie Brinkley starves herself. No one has a kid and THAT figure. Liposuction. I bet she's had the fat sucked out. Geez, I bet that costs . . . I have a knife and a vacuum. . . . hmmm. Too messy, i better stick to my routine. If I put a log in the fireplace, will I sweat more? If I put Christie in the fireplace . . .
I was startled from my thoughts, when my thirty month old came in to watch. (For those without kids: That's two and a half years. Athletes push themselves using the "just one more foot/stroke" method. New parents do the same. One more month, just one more month.)
"You need new body," he says, happily chewing a handful of Cheerios.
"What?" I couldn't have heard that right.
"You need new body. You broke. You body broke,” he continues nonchalantly, in his little singsong voice. "Mommy, you better fix. Get new body."
I stopped exercising and sat on the floor in front of him. I placed his cup beside me, looking him in the eyes. "It's okay that Mommy's big," I explained. "Each person is different. Some short, some tall. Some big, some small." (Speaking in rhymes is another new parent trait.) "Some people are black or white or yellow. Some have no arms or legs. Mommy has brown eyes; you have gray eyes. It's alright; we're all different. Mommy doesn't need a new body. Mommy's exercising so she can stay healthy, and run and play with you. Okay? . . . Okay?” (Speaking in third person also becomes habit.) I tweaked his nose and smiled as he nodded, a gentle reassurance that I wasn't upset with him, and handed back his Cheerios.
I went back to my exercises. Damn the media. Who decides what the "perfect" body is, anyhow?! Thirty pounds. Thirty stinking pounds and my son can see it. He's just a baby. I'm a fat ugly cow! The machine squealed in protest as I slid back and forth jerkily, losing focus. Stupid machine even thinks I'm too fat! I shifted into turbo drive.
"You body broken," he repeated. This time he lowered his head to make retching sounds. "Eww . . . You gross, Mommy." His retching sounds heavier and longer, "You need new body. Mommy need new body. Ewwww . . . Gross, Mommy."
Tears welled in my eyes. I hurried to the bathroom so he wouldn't see me cry. It wasn't his fault I'd let myself go. He just made an observation in Grade A toddler fashion. My son thinks I'm disgusting! He's probably embarrassed at the playground. All the other moms seem as young and healthy as their kids. Most of them are still kids! The tears I fought won out. Crying turned into bawling. Bawling brought forth resolve. I WILL stick to my diet. I WILL exercise more. I WILL lose fat.
Calmer now, I decided to shower and start the day. A few minutes into relaxing wet bliss, my little fish threw open the shower curtain. There he stood, holding a pail of bath toys, wearing naught but a smile. "Come on in," I invited, turning up the cold water, "get the plug." I lathered him up and washed his hair, then stepped out to dry. I threw the shower curtain over the rod, so I could keep an eye on him. As I toweled off, his cruel taunting began again. "Ewww . . . yuck . . .Mommy broke. Mommy need new body. You broke; you better fix you body." The retching sounds resumed.
"Mommy is not broke. Mommy is just different." I said flatly, so as not to encourage his new mantra. "It's not nice to refer to people as broken. You don't want to make Mommy sad do you?"
He mulled it over a moment. "Mommy, you . . . diff . er . went. You broke." He must have read the sadness in my eyes. "I have willie," he explained, pointing to his boyhood, "You no have willie. You broke . . . need fix. It okay, Mommy. I love you".
It was okay. Nothing in this world can't be fixed with his "I love you" . . . even a mommy's foolish insecurity. As a side note, I no longer work out in my night shorts and joint baths are a thing of the past. sigh. He has since moved past "our differences" and onto grandma's dentures . . . one more month, just one more month. . . oh, and I've lost twelve pounds!