The kids and I ventured out to the park a couple of days ago. When we got there, Hudson wanted to swing and Jules wanted to dig. All was quiet when, out of nowhere, frag mines of obliviousness started exploding every which way I turned. There was no place to take cover.
“Oh my God, you’re so pretty! I love your eyes!” a stranger said to Jules in a high-pitched, saccharine voice.
* ! * KABOOM * ! *
Yet another sugar-coated attack on Jules’ self-confidence exploded in her face.
Little girl, the only reason I’m talking to you is because your facial features happen to have formed in a way that appeals to my aesthetic sensibility! Aren’t you gonna thank me?
Jules just stared at the woman and then went back to digging. That night her girlfriend was sleeping over and as I was putting them to bed Jules asked, “Why do people always tell me I have pretty eyes? I don’t like it.” My silly little girl. I can’t believe that after five years of being continuously told how cute she is that she doesn’t yet know that its not who she is or what she’s interested in that matters, only how she looks. I know I needn’t worry because it’s just a matter of time. In fact, her girlfriend then said, “Well, I like it. It makes me feel like a princess.” See? Just a matter of time.
The woman who hadn’t won Jules over, picked up her child and left and peace again returned to the playground. That is, until a little barely two-year-old girl wanted something to eat.
- a two-year old could have any concept of how long it would be until dinnertime
- a two-year-old should be able to subliminate her hunger pangs just in case she might get too full to eat later
- she should be able to distinguish between between “snack” food and “dinner” food
* ! * KABOOM * ! *
This attack on her daughter said, I don’t care what messages your hypothalamus is sending your brain. If you really want my love and approval you’ll suffer pangs of hunger now so you’ll eat the type of food I want you to eat at the time I designate appropriate for you to eat it even though I’m the one who packed the snack bag and am holding it here right next to you as you play.
The mother reluctantly “gave in”, the child ate the popcorn and peace returned to the sandbox…
That is until a pregnant mom strolled up and lifted her 8-month-old baby out of her stroller and tried to put her down into sandbox. Her daughter made it super-clear she didn’t want to be there by curling her legs up underneath her. Dangling from her mom’s arms like an unfurling Buddha, she seemed desperate to keep her feet from touching the ground.
“It’s just sand! It’s fun to play in the sand!” her mom explained.
Putting her down against her will, the baby lifted up one foot and started ever so carefully to brush the sand off of it.
“Oh come on! Stop it already! It’s just sand! It’s fun to play with. See?” she said pointing to other kids playing in the sandbox.
* ! * KABOOM * ! *
This little girl who had only been alive roughly 240 days had a whole life ahead of her with mother who didn’t care about her experience, she just wanted her daughter to do what she wanted her to do, when she wanted her to do it and to be like everyone else. After all, she only wanted her to enjoy playing in the sand like “all” kids do. I mean she drove her all the way to the park for her to have a good time. Get with the program of being a kid! Mommy doesn’t have the time or patience for you to be yourself. The total lack of interest in her daughter’s discomfort and empathy for it was too hard for me to take, I had no choice but to surrender.
Waving my son’s baby blanket in the air, the kids and I ran for cover and retreated to the safety of my car and took off in search of peace.