At the ENT – and in an especially photogenic mood – my kids kept asking me to take their pictures. Happy to oblige, I snapped away on my phone as we waited for our turn.
“Smile!” instructed my 5 year-old. “Now make a sassy face.”
“What did you say?!”
It wasn’t that I missed what she said; I just need a minute to figure out what I should say…Unfortunately that stolen moment didn’t prepare me for her response:
“A sassy face is cute. That’s how you get boys to like you.”
“WHAT?!! Where did you hear that?”
Why I asked her to name a responsible party I do not know. I realize this line of questioning was not productive, but it did buy me some more time. And while it may be irrelevant, I can tell you this – the mom of the “alleged culprit” would have fallen over faster than me if she had heard her own 5 year-old share the same sentiment.
So there we sat, blame cast on a sweet, unsuspecting 5 year-old, and I was still left scrambling for some way to address this wildly inappropriate comment. Needless to say, I was pretty relieved to be interrupted by the ENT.
20 minutes later, with tootsie pops in hand, we headed to the car, and I just had to ask:
“What were you saying about making a sassy face so boys will like you? I don’t understand.”
“Mom, when you’re sassy you do this.” She proceeded to walk ahead of me swinging her hips from side to side.
“Why would boys like you if you made a silly face or walked funny?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well….what do boys do that makes you like them?”
“They have good ideas.”
“Right. Well you have good ideas too. You always have something fun you want to do. You’re a creative, smart and nice kid. That’s why your buddies like you – girls AND boys.”
I desperately want my daughters to have healthy friendships with both boys and girls. I want them to enjoy their childhood as children – free of inappropriate, adult-themed nuances and downright wrong sexually explicit messages. In no way do I think it is remotely funny or cute to put a romantic twist on children’s friendships. Five-Years-Old! She is nowhere near developmentally ready to have romantic feelings – cognitively, emotionally, physically…..And for that matter, when she is, I hope she never, ever, ever thinks a relationship is about acting a certain way or doing “something” to get someone to like you. YIKES! I know I can’t filter all the messages my kids receive, so I best start preparing to respond to the unsavory ones now. So tell me – what would you have said???