Lately Mckenna has been taking offense to people calling her small, little, or tiny. Sometimes we are there when it happens. Usually we are not there, and she reports it to us later. I have to say, I am very sensitive to the fact that girls are prone to body issues. So I am always very careful in how I talk about her body. When she says, "look how big my tummy is..." (usually said while blowing it out or after a big meal...and usually said giggling), I just respond with something like, "it looks perfect to me" or "God made it just right for you." It happens all the time that she will mention something about her body, and I'll usually respond with one of my stock answers. Sometimes I randomly make note of something on her - her eyes, her freckles, the fact she has two legs - and I'll mention how perfectly God made her, for who SHE is.
Here's Mckenna next to a peer for comparison:
Mckenna with her BFF, Harlow...who's on the other side of the growth chart
But this experience of others saying something that she takes offense to is new, and has been interesting. It's been happening for a couple months now, so much so, that I actually ordered a book on the topic (a kids book about being (too) small...which in the book ends up not being (too) small at all. So anyways. Back to the topic at hand. Mckenna usually tells us it has happened in a sad or frustrated voice, which as a mom, tugs on my heart. Now, please note, Mckenna is small, little, and tiny. That's just reality, so my response cannot be that her stature is not as such. Because, well, it is. That's how God made her. And it's not debatable. I think she sits around the 5th percentile for height, so she, in fact, is one of the smallest kids her age. What I feel my job is, is not to argue with the truth, but to make her comfortable with it. There will always be things about her body or appearance that may bug her from time to time or be dependent on a life stage. Some things are subjective or a matter of opinion, other things won't be. For example, I have freckles. You can't argue that. It's fact. I need to be comfortable with that. So each time she mentions it, we talk about how God makes everyone different. That height is all relative to who you're standing next to. Her friend Harlow is taller than she is, but her other friend Taylor, is taller than Harlow. God made each of them a different height, a height that is perfect for them. It helps that her mom is a shrimp, so I usually compare myself to one of my friends, who is a solid 8 inches taller than I am. I say, "just like God made mommy short. Think about mommy and Ms. Steffi. Ms. Steffi is WAY taller than mommy, right? Because God made us each perfect for who we are." (Thank you, Ms. Steffi, for being so much taller than me, it helps that there is no question regarding the fact that her mom is a pip-squeak when I barely come to your shoulder...PS, will you come help me put away my dishes on the top shelves of my cupboards? Lol!)
So yesterday the beginning of the story was no different. We left the gym, and as I was putting her in her carseat, she disappointedly said, "some kids called me small at the gym again. I'm not little!!" To which I responded, "Well, Keni, your body is kinda small! And that's awesome! Was it big kids when you were looking to play with them?" (usually is) "Yes, they said I was too small," she told me. "Honey, God made your body little...and compared to older kids, they're that much bigger because you grow as you age. That doesn't mean that you're not a big girl though. They said it just because they were concerned that you may get hurt." "But mommy, I'm not small." "You're not a little girl, you're a big girl, but your body is little...that's how God made it, and it's perfect for you. Think about mommy..." (and then I launched back into mommy is so much shorter than Ms. Steffi) Then I began comparing many of the other adults in her life. "Think about daddy! He's smaller than Mr. Rhett" (that's steffi's husband...clearly they tower over the Sharpe clan). "Think about Papi and Uncle Josh...they are way shorter than Uncle Grant and Uncle Shmeegs..." (enduring nickname for Ronnie's brother, Andrew). "...Think about Nana...she's pretty short too...We are just a small family, honey, so you will probably be pretty short compared to your friends. That's just how God made us!! And you know what? One day I think you'll like it!! I like it!! Think about it...mommy can still fit in the little cars with you (those little electric ones that you pay a quarter to ride) and I can fit in little hiding spots so you can't find me even as a grown up!!" That seemed to lighten her mood a little bit. I kept driving home from the gym, and from the backseat I hear a made up tune:
"God made us small sometimes. God made us small sometimes. But He is always in our heart. But He is always in our heart."My heart exploded. "I love that song, Keni!!" I told her and began to sing along. "No mommy, I'm singing it, you don't know the words..." she snapped. That was my que that our sweet mother-daughter moment was over, and she was back to being her sassy, "threenager" self! Problem solved, for now!