I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Brutal Logic of Toddlers

Ayla (in the middle of a tantrum): I don't like anything! I don't love anything!
Gregory: You love me, don't you?
Ayla: No!
Gregory: 'sad face' :(
Ayla: When Momma comes home, SHE can love you.

Ouch! Such brutal logic. We weren't expecting this much sass for at least another decade. I think Ayla had picked up a few drama-queen techniques when her 5 year old cousin Laine visited this summer. All little girls can be sweet one moment and brutal the next, and Laine fits the category. 99% of the time she is kind, patient and loving... until a bad mood strikes. When children/animals attack!

For example, one morning when Laine was annoyed with us she really hit us hard by criticizing our clothes. "Your dress is disgusting! Your clothes are ugly!" She went through every person in the room and told us how "gross" we looked. It was obvious that she really meant it. I knew my clothes were gross, so I didn't care- but if I had been another 5 year old at that moment, I probably would have been traumatized.

The problem is that when Ayla speaks the truth about something, it isn't always meant to be hurtful, it just comes out that way. But because we often spend so much of our energy trying NOT to offend other people, we have forgotten how to explain differences and be sensitive to it. People's appearance is a big deal to Ayla right now. Walking in Target, she says, "That lady is big!" Okay, so she was bigger, overweight, whatever. But oh my god, people certainly don't want to hear or talk about it - unless you're sitting in a Jenny Craig office. While I'm not embarrassed (I won't be until she knows better), I just have to be honest right there on the spot. I hope I don't send any ladies into a depression when I calmly explain, "Yes, that lady was bigger, but everyone comes in all shapes and sizes!" And Ayla still continues...

Usually the victim of scrutiny is understanding and can laugh at the situation. The other night, my cousin Austin was visiting us for dinner. He's, well, bald. For most men in my family, it's expected - they all saw it coming. My father was completely bald before graduating college. But he accepted it. No hairpieces, nothing. Bald at twenty. He left what hair he had (around the sides) and I always thought it looked nice. Austin has also let "the bald" work to his advantage - he just shaves off whatever hair still decides to grow and goes for the streamlined effect. Maybe for better fuel economy?

While he was trying to enjoy his steak, Ayla asks, "Why don't you have any hair?" And to add insult to injury, her logic continues, "But Momma has hair, I have hair, Dadda has hair, even Jackson has hair!"

We can't argue with her. She's right. But it is brutal logic.

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