Last night I went back to Bee’s room to tuck him in “one more time.” I expected to find him fast asleep. At 8:00 I had responded to his attempts to drag out bedtime by promising to check in on him after I’d tucked in his brother and taken my shower. “Close your eyes and rest,” I told him, but when I eased open the door at 9:00, trying not to disturb him, his little head popped up, his eyes wide open. He’d been waiting for me all that time. Oops.
“Momma, I like your hair,” he said, caressing my ponytail as I knelt beside his bed.
“Yes, my hair is dark and curly, like yours.” I try, when I can, to point out our similarities.
“My hair doesn’t do like that.” He tugged at a stray wisp.
“Well, your hair is always very curly. My hair is mostly curly, but sometimes it gets stretched out. I love your curly hair, bud.”
“Do you love my skin?” he asked
I felt tears welling. Images of our past conversations flickered through my mind, the other times we’ve talked in the dark of his room and I’ve worked at weaving that blanket of love and confidence around him, protecting him. “Yes. Yes, I love your hair and I love your skin.”
Then he dropped the bomb on this sweet, touching moment.
“And do you love my boogers, Momma?” Giggle.
Huh? Is that where this is going? I answer the only way I can. “Yes, buddy, I love your boogers, too. I love everything about you.”
“Do you love my pee, too?” I could see him grinning at the dark, wide awake in spite of it being well past his bedtime. Oh geesh.
“Good night, buddy.”
And so, sometimes what we think is another profound opportunity to teach our children self-love turns into a conversation about boogers. Parenthood – it never ceases to surprise me.
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