Sensitivity Training

Monkey had made me a Mother’s Day gift at school, but then she mixed it up with a classmate’s gift. It wasn’t until Tuesday that I got hers. It was a picture of her in a frame that she decorated, plus a little paragraph about me that she filled in (kind of like Mad Libs for preschoolers). Here’s Monkey’s:

“My mother’s first name is D. She has black hair and green eyes. She is 40 years old. Her favorite food is broccoli. Her favorite thing to do is work. I love my mommy because she is my mommy.”

She got my name and eye color correct. I like me some broccoli, but my favorite food is anything I don’t have to cook myself. I was a little outraged about my age — a few weeks ago she told me she thought I was 17 years old. I told her my correct age (38), and she said casually, “Well, that’s still old.” Thanks, Monkey.

The “favorite thing” answer simply broke my heart. “Oh, Monkey,” I said, “my favorite thing to do is spend time with you and Bun and daddy. I just have to work.”

“I’m sorry I wrote down the wrong thing,” she said.

“Oh, baby, that’s okay. I just want you to know that I love spending time with you guys more than anything else in the world.”

Yesterday as we were walking out of a Target restroom, another woman was coming in. Since I had one of those huge carts, where the kids sit in the big red seats facing forward — the minivan of shopping carts — I let her by.

As we were going out the door, Monkey said thoughtfully, “I’ve never seen a woman so…” she searched for the word… “puffy.”

Admittedly the woman was overweight. And I don’t think she heard, us as we were already out of the door. But I leaned close to Monkey and said quietly, “We don’t talk about how people look. That’s not very nice.”

Monkey seemed unperturbed. I hope I did the right thing. Would you have said anything?

3 thoughts on “Sensitivity Training

  1. Children are naturally curious. If my children observe someone who looks unusual to them (for whatever reason: large, small, bald, etc), I tell them “it is OK to talk about it ONLY when we can talk privately so that the person in question does not hear us talking about them because it can hurt feelings.” This, of course, doesn’t stop the initial exclamations that fly out of their mouths: “Why is that lady so fat?!?”

    Or my favorite: “Why does she have three boobies?!?”

  2. NO mother’s day present should EVER entail ANY information about her AGE!! Who wrote that mad lib anyway? probably someone YOUNG… (is that being ageist? or youngist? ) pardon the rant… feeling a little sensitive myself after turning 38 yesterday!

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