“Mom, why are you made of jelly?” my five year-old son asked me the other day as he then, adding salt to the wound, proceeded to poke his index finger into my stomach. I am glad to not be able to share a picture of the look on my face that was most likely, to put it mildly, horrified. When I asked him what he meant…I believe my exact words were, “ummm WHAT?!”
He smiled and told me I was squishy like jelly.
One thing I try to do, sometimes unsuccessfully, is to be positive about my body in front of my children. I want them to grow up feeling confident and I know that will stem from how they see me feeling about my own self. When my son asked me this question, I thought, Okay God I get it! As though it were a small test to see how I would react. So, instead of reacting with something dramatic about how I was possibly a little squishy because I have grown two children and I don’t have as much time to hit the gym as I’d like and I do have time to go to Starbucks too often—- yes, instead of reacting like that, I simply paused. I paused and looked at his face. It was then that I remembered he is five. The pause helped me realize he was not saying this to be mean or hurtful or even funny. My silence also then meant he had room to continue his explanation of why he was asking me this question.
He continued to melt my heart by telling me he loves it. He loves my jelly (What a catchy pop song that would be!). I realized in that moment that, to him, I am a mom. I am not too big or too small, too hard or too soft. I am his mom. When we cuddle up each night and read books, he obviously must like that I have a few “squishy” parts. If you follow me at all here on All Mom Does, you will know I am passionate about fitness. But at five years old, my son doesn’t care that I am working on desperately finding my six pack abs or that I wake up way too early some mornings to ensure a cardio session before the day begins.
I really think that to him, jelly can be translated to love. I don’t think it’s about whether or not I really do have any squish and more around the fact that he loves to cuddle up with his “Mama Bear” and that he feels warm and safe. So, the next time one of my kids says something that takes me aback – and yes, I am sure there will be plenty of those moments ahead – I will truly attempt to pause to see if there is possibly innocent meaning behind it. I know that there will be days ahead where they are not so innocent and they do say things that are mean and hurtful. I will work through those moments as they arise. But for now, I will cherish the innocent and entertaining things that my two small children throw at me.
And I will add a few more sit-ups to my daily routine, just to be safe.