Friday, February 25, 2011

Butt Of Course

It’s amazing how quickly kids grow up, how quickly they learn about the world around them. Just the other day I walked into our family room and found Landon lounging in his silk bathrobe, puffing on a bubble pipe and trying to coax our cat into fetching his iphone so he could read the Wall Street Journal – illustrated edition with his evening sippy cup.

Okay, not really. But, seriously, how cute would a little mini silk bathrobe be?

Anyway. So like I said, they grow up fast. Or even if they don’t grow up fast in terms of time (to be honest, I kind of feel like I’ve had a toddler for 16 years now. Actually, I’ll probably still feel that way when he’s 16) they certainly grow quickly in their ability to notice things around them, even if you don’t want them too.

That’s what I worry about – my little baby learning about a few things way before his time or learning about them in the wrong way or learning about them at all (girls shall always – ALWAYS I SAY! – remain a mystery. Forever. And ever. Until I want grandkids. And then I hear adoption is nice.)

Most importantly, I worry about Landon learning about things without learning respect first. I have a grand vision of raising my son with the upmost respect for not only himself and his own body, but for women and their bodies as well. I could write a diatribe on how the female body is severely disrespected and degraded in our culture but I will spare you all my soapbox. Just know that it is. Nod head.

So that is why an incident that happened a couple of days ago shook me up so profoundly, for more reasons than one.

We were visiting our local library (where all good memories begin) and Landon and I were perusing the latest books on display (by perusing I mean Landon was taking them all off the shelves and creating a step stool to stand on to reach the higher shelves to climb onto and I was pretending he wasn't my child).

Somewhere along the display were a few new fitness books. One had a cover that looked like this:

I never would have taken a second thought for this particular book except that Landon suddenly got very animated and started yelling "BUTT! BUTT! Mama, Mama! BUTT!!"

I looked down at this small bit of a boy pointing excitedly to a book cover with a toned and tight woman, still proudly proclaiming "BUTT!"

Is he saying what I think he's saying?

More importantly, since I don't remember this particular part of anatomy coming up in our fun little "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" song, to whom do I serve a restraining order for teaching this to my kid and how long should I allow them to maintain full use of their faculties?

By this time, people were starting to pay attention to my cute little pervert and snicker/judge my mothering skills. I quickly whisked him away to the kids books while loudly saying "Yes, honey. We will find that BUS book for you!"

I fooled no one.

So as my child happily pulled out every book in the children's section, I sat deep in horrifed thoughts. "It's started! I thought I had more time! At least until school when he met some other kid who teaches him poop jokes (which consist of yelling POOP! and then falling down in a giggle fit). How do I teach him to respect women's bodies when he doesn't even understand that the cat is not his intellectual equal? What if my child is the poop joke instigator? Will he be the one to teach his friends how to spell certain inappropriate words on the calculator? Do I have THAT kid?"

And so went my thinking all through the rest of the time at the library and during the ride home. I looked at Landon's sweet little cherubic face, laughing at himself for putting his sock on his head. "Where did I fail you?" I thought.

We arrived home and my mind continued to plan out how in the world I would now try to right this wrong, rewire a tiny sponge brain and change my child's certain errant path. I had to do it before it was too late, I had to work harder to instill empathy, compassion, respect and proper anatomy. I will have to speak to Tyler to get him on board, unless, heaven forbid! He was the culprit! Then we would have some words. Oh, man he would be in so much...

"Mama! BUTT!"

Landon came running over proudly showing me his tummy and pointing to the curious thing in the middle.

Belly Button.

Butt of course.

Let me step down from my high horse now to tell you what I learned from all of this:

1. I need to chill out. Seriously.

2. I need to stop projecting my own feelings and perspectives onto Landon and remember that he is only a toddler. Most of his thoughts currently revolve around cookies.

3. I still have a few more years before I really need to worry about what he learns and what he understands and even then it needs to revolve around organic discussions.

4. The most important thing I can do is not shove my own rhetoric in his face but rather create an open and honest atmosphere in our home that makes him feel comfortable asking questions and expressing his feelings.

5. I need to teach him how to say navel, immediately.


  1. I totally laughed reading this because I was honestly thinking "Wow she is really upset!" I wouldn't worry too much. Wyatt knows where his bum is and lets just say LOVES being a Male!! So see I am way worse my son is a total pervert!

  2. Awesome post. You are such a great writer! I can totally relate to all of those feelings you had.

    Lainey called her navel "bunt" forever. I thought itches super adorable.

    I really hope my kids don't teach Landon any naughty words, because they know and use them. Benj is that kid who says "poop" and then laughs so hard that he cries. *sigh*

  3. "Itches" should have been "it was". Hazards of commenting by phone.

    Also, my verification word was "cerap". The similarity to "crap" would just kill my boys.

    Keep him innocent as long as you can, Deb!

  4. What a cute story. Thanks for sharing!!


  5. "I could write a diatribe on how the female body is severely disrespected and degraded in our culture but I will spare you all my soapbox."

    i would love to hear/read this diatribe. i went years saying we would never own a Disney Princess movie...look at us now. where has my indignation gone?