Okay, I've been coming to terms with the fact that Grace is growing into a full fledged girl rather than little girl. She has recently rejected most things Disney Princess, and now would rather wear any color besides pink or purple. These things haven't upset me so far. Although, I keep thinking she is growing up way too fast for my liking.
Today brought a moment I would have put off for forever though. I know this happens. I know it is part of adjusting to changes within her growing body, but can a mom get a long, deep, sullen sigh please?
(Insert sound of deep exhale here.)
At dinner, Grace picked at her baked beans which she normally devours. I wondered what was up, but we've never had to encourage Grace to eat. She naturally eats with pleasure, which is in direct contradiction to her younger, way too skinny, sister, Meghan.
"Grace, what's up? Why aren't you eating your beans?"
As she let out a melodramatic sigh she said, "My bumper is too big."
I had my "aha" moment and searched for the perfect thing to say. "Uh Grace, you have a perfect beautiful body honey. Your bumper is like mom's and dad's. You are beautiful. Did someone tell you that at school?"
She eventually finished most of her baked beans, and we moved along into other dinner conversation topics. I was inwardly feeling sad that body image had suddenly appeared into Grace's existence.
Later on as I was tucking her into bed, Grace let out another long, melodramatic sigh, and said, "Mommy, I don't like how my face looks. There are other kids at school who are cuter. And my body doesn't look so good."
(Okay, now note the sound of Jen's mama heart being stabbed and bleeding everywhere. Once again, I searched for the perfect thing to say, and came up a so-so answer in my opinion. And, yes, I know where Grace gets her melodramatic notions. ;) haha)
"Gracie, you are incredibly beautiful honey. I love your long legs, beautiful blond hair, perfect skin, and gorgeous round like an apple bumper side." I goosed her backside and brought on a giggle to lighten the mood a bit.
"Everyone has something that they don't like about themselves. Like me, for example. I've never really liked my legs very much since I was young, but it is important not to think about what we don't like. It is important to remember all the really great qualities we have like being kind, having respect, liking math, learning German, playing violin, and being a really great daughter and sister. Does that make sense?"
"Uh huh. I guess so," but she didn't sound too convinced.
"Are you sure that no one at school said something mean to you or noticed something about you today? If they did, we can talk about it."
"No, Mom. Nobody said anything to me."
"Okay honey. I just want you to know that I remember how it felt when I was little too. I even have some days where I don't feel good about my body, but I try to remember all the good things about me instead so I don't feel badly. It is hard work to remember those things especially when I have hormones making me feel strange. Your body is going through changes now as you get older too, and those hormones, we talked about, can sometimes make you feel sad about yourself or other people. The trick is to talk about it with Mommy or Daddy, or you could write it down in your journal.
(As I ran on at the mouth, she appeared to be listening, but I feared I was loosing her. I decided to say what I had to say and then hoped to reiterate it in other conversations.)
Okay, Mom's going to stop talking now. If you want to talk about this more tomorrow, we can. But first I'll share a last piece of advice with you. I always feel the lowest right before I go to sleep. Sleeping will help you feel better and let your brain recharge itself. I bet you'll remember all of the really great things about yourself in the morning. Okay?"
So I think the conversation went okay, but geez! Already? She is barely 7. Eeek!