WHAT did you say???!!!

22 May


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.

“Make a sassy face.” WHAT?!

“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???


6 Responses to “WHAT did you say???!!!”

  1. morecompassion May 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    I wish I hung out with people in my real life who looked at things the way you do. I think it’s SOOOOO great. I just love all your posts, insights and observations.

    • Hillary Manaster May 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Thanks so much! I’ve really been enjoying your blog as well!

  2. Mom of 2 boys May 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    I don’t know what I would have said, exactly. I have only boys, and the oldest isn’t 4 yet. I do know that my gut reaction would be to say “that’s not true, love.” Followed by “you’re not likeable or have friends because of how you walk or what faces you make, your friends, boys and girls, like you for what you are. If all you show them is a funny walk, then that’s all they will know about you, and you have a lot better ideas than a funny walk!”

    It’s clumsy, but it’s true and from the heart.

    • Hillary Manaster May 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      I like that! This conversation made me feel like I was dealing with a subject matter that was way too mature, but really, kids are never too young to learn about what makes a good friend. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Worried May 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    It reminds me of a time when a couple of my friends and I were staying at a friend’s place a few year’s ago (I was about 17) and my friend’s much younger sister (about 8 at the time I think) and her friend (about 8 as well) were there. Her sister’s friend proceeded to rank me and my friends by how pretty we were (as in: “well you’re the prettiest… and you’re next etc” – she put me last which I just found funny, except it disturbed me that this little girl was already so concerned with appearance! And then later she put her hands above her head and ‘shook her ass’ in a typical ‘music-video’ kind of way, and said her older brother had told her she should dance like that. I think it goes to show how people just don’t stop and think about what they tell young girls and how much pressure is put on them to perform a certain kind of sexuality (even when they are too young to have one) and to be obsessed with prettiness.

  4. Nina Badzin June 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Yikes. No idea what I would have said. I think you handled it perfectly though. Sometimes we just rise the occasion. This stuff is so hard, isn’t it?! Messages are everywhere (music, commercials, etc.) It’s so hard to keep them young and innocent. 😦

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