Friday, May 18, 2012

Kids Keep You Humble

There are times when your kids totally build up your self-esteem and puff up your ego. Like when my son sees me wearing lipstick or a dress and announces, “Oooh, Mama, you look so pretty!” Or when my daughter hears my footsteps coming down the stairs to the playroom and she drops everything to crawl over to me as fast as she can and give me a huge grin. But there are other times when kids have a knack for bursting your egotistical bubble and cutting you right down to size.

The reason they do it is that kids notice everything. And they’re curious about everything. So when they see something new, or something they haven’t noticed before, they want to check it out and ask questions about it. You often don’t realize the kinds of things that polite adults ignore or at least pretend not to notice until there’s a small child pointing it out and asking questions about it. It could be a pimple on someone’s chin, a birthmark on their neck, a streak of grey in their hair, a dark mole on their arm, or some kind of a facial tic. In my case, it’s my hairy toes.

Yes, I admit it. I have hobbit feet. Every one of my toes sports long, unladylike, thick black hairs. I trim them, I even shave them occasionally. And if another adult happens to notice my hairy toes when I’m wearing sandals, they would never dream of calling attention to them. But my son has no such compunctions. He was looking at my feet the other day and announced, “Hey, Mama, you have hair on your toes!” He was fascinated by it. He tried pulling the hairs out (ouch!), he tried combing them (yes, they’re that long), he spent several minutes stroking them this way and that. I was a bit embarrassed. But you know what? I have hairy toes. It’s a fact. They aren’t hairy because I’m a bad person, or because I don’t take good care of myself. They’re just hairy because they are. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In my son’s opinion, it’s actually kind of cool. But it’s still a bit humbling to me to be reminded of the fact.

So I hope my son restrains himself from pointing out my hairy toes in public. But if he does, that’s okay. With all the hugs and “I love you”s and open adoration I get from him, a little humility to keep my ego in check is probably a good thing.

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