“I’m sexy and I know it”

This morning I was brushing Jaden’s hair and noticed the raw spots behind her ears were looking bad again. “J, I’m going to put your hair back in a ponytail and then put some medicine on your ears, ok?” “Ok! Oh, mommy, don’t forget my fingers.” “Oh, right, yes, let me see them.” Sure enough: her eczema had attacked the inside of a few of her fingers. “Oh, sweetie, yeah I’ll put some medicine on them, too, ok?” “Ok!”

I brushed her hair back into a pony tail and reached for a pony tail holder and Jaden said, “There’s a girl in my art class who’s really funny.”

 “Oh, yeah? That’s cool. What does she do that’s funny?”

“She tells really funny jokes.”

I finished the pony tail and reached back into the closet to take out the antibiotic ointment and some Band-Aids. “What kind of jokes does she tell?” I asked, knowing full well the type of fart and poop jokes elementary students enjoy.

“Well, yesterday, she danced around and sang ‘I’m sexy and I know it! I’m sexy and I know it!”

And the world came to a screeching halt, my hand frozen in the act of picking up the box of band aids.

“What?”

And she repeated the little song in her innocent little voice.

“Jaden, that’s not funny. That’s not a word kids should be using.”

She went on as though she hadn’t heard me, “I drew a mermaid and wrote her saying, “I am sexy!” and started giggling in that way kids giggle when they know they’re doing something naughty. And I almost threw up at the thought of my daughter writing the word “sexy” and knowing it risque when she wrote it. She’s only 6.

“Jaden, I don’t want you using that word. I don’t even like saying it myself.”

“Why?”

I stumbled around trying to explain that it’s a grown up word to describe how grownups look and that instead of having her mermaid say, “I am sexy.” she could’ve said, “I like to swim!” Lame, I know, but I was too shocked for anything more creative. I got her brainstorming some other things the mermaid could say about herself that DIDN’T involve any allusions to her beauty.

A little later I found her in the kitchen standing on a step-stool for some reason and I just stopped and looked at her. Her hair pulled back in a pseudo-bun; headband in place to keep her bangs out of her eyes; bright orange stretch pants under a little striped skirt. She looked so pretty that I started crying. Not out of pride, but out of worry and concern. I hugged her tight. “You are so….amazing, Jaden.” She hugged me back, “You’re amazing, too, mommy.” Pulling the tears back, I looked her in the eyes.

“Jaden, what I’m about to tell you is very important and I need you to listen very carefully.”

“Ok, mommy, I’m listening.”

“You are more than what you look like. Being pretty is fun sometimes, like when we dress up, but it’s not who we are. You are smart. You are funny. You are kind. You are a good person. THAT is who you are. What’s in here (taps her forehead) and in here (taps her chest). Understand?”

“Yes, mommy.”

“Your friends are not what they look like, either. They are what’s in here (taps her forehead) and in here (taps her chest).”

“Mommy, you look like you have tears coming out.”

“That’s because I worry about you. I worry about you all the time.”

“All the time?”

“Every single second. I want to protect you from everything that could hurt you and I can’t.”

“Yesterday I tripped and hurt my knee.”

“See? That’s just one of the things I worry about. I worry about you and your brother. All the time.”

“Even at work?”

“Even at work.”

“You know what, mommy? When I’m at school and I’m worried, I pretend you’re right next to me and I feel better.”

“Right there, Jaden, THAT is who you are. A wonderful, caring person. I love you.”

“I love you, too, mommy.”

Then I cursed our society via Twitter and Facebook: “Society needs to stop undoing my work. My daughter is not sexy.”

OUR daughters are not sexy.

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2 Responses

  1. SO NOT SEXY!!!!!!!

    Good job…this gets even harder as they get older and they start to recognize what exactly it is that the media is trying to portray.

    The really hardest part of it all is me trying to diet and lose weight and at the same time tell my daughter to ignore the thoughts that she is fat. Which she is not…but when mom is worried about her own weight it’s hard for her not to question hers. I’ve been telling her that while yes, i feel i need to lose some weight I would much rather be healthy and gain portion control and keep on an exercise regiment.

    Now if only i could fatten up my son who is almost 8 and weighs under 45LBS.

  2. I think what we need to promote is being HEALTHY, which is what you’re doing. Speaking as a thin person, maybe Tyson’s just a small kid. Unless he’s just not eating but that could have to do with some texture issues, maybe? Anyway, I think we can all agree that parenting is difficult in ways we couldn’t have predicted!

    (Before dinner Jaden asked Matt what the hell he was doing. Matt asked her where she heard that word and she eventually said t.v. after we convinced her she wasn’t in trouble. Then we let her know that if she ever hears or sees anything she doesn’t understand she can always ask us. She will never get in trouble for asking. Then I sighed and muttered under my breath, “God, two in one day.” and Matt chuckled.)

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