My kids are at a dangerous age: the age of brutal, uncensored honesty. At six years old, Colin is pretty much growing out of it. (And thank goodness, because he has been the worst so far. Remember this ... or this?) But Coby, who will be three in September, is just beginning. And Cameron, newly four ... well, he's right in the thick of it.
Honesty is one of those things it's really tricky to teach your kids about. I mean, you tell them they should be honest at all times - no matter what. Then you might amend that to add, "Well, you should be honest as long as it isn't hurting anybody's feelings." But the problem with that explanation is that kids this young have a limited scope of what hurts people's feelings. They've never felt the sting of being called fat, for example, so they don't know that commenting on someone's weight can be hurtful.
Enter Cameron and his big uncensored mouth.
The other day when I was getting dressed, he was all, "Mommy, you have a really big butt."
A simple observation, yes. A true one? ... Um, perhaps. But did I want to hear it? Abso-frickin-lutely not.
"Cameron!" I admonished with a frown. "That's not a nice thing to say!"
I could tell by the look on his face that the poor little guy was confused. It was though I had scolded him for saying "the sky is blue" or "the grass is green." I felt bad momentarily, but he needed to learn that he can't just go around remarking on the size of people's posteriors. He didn't say anything else.
Fast-forward to a few days later. I was tugging my Zumba pants over my rear end when Cameron came into the room. He sat down on the edge of the bed. He looked at me for a minute, obviously noting my struggle. And then he said, in a very sweet voice ......
"That's a small butt you've got there."
I thanked him and gave him a hug, feeling slightly guilty, but proud that he had retained my lesson. Because I may not be teaching him to be honest, exactly, but I am teaching him one of the most fundamental skills of being a man: when it comes to weight or age, tact is often better than truth.
He'll thank me someday ...
Incoherently babbled by Rita Templeton on Thursday, March 15, 2012