the giant in the room



While M was at preschool today, I took the opportunity to spend some quality time in Petsmart with O looking at birds, snakes, fish, etc. He was quite amused. I've been having a tough time parenting my 2 year old (shocker), and I had spent the better part of my day being intentional with him, finding ways to set him up for success to give him positive reinforcement. No joke, I literally have to go out of my way to put him in a position where he accidentally decides to do something good so I can shower him with praise and hope he enjoys it enough to want positive attention when he has to make real choices between right and wrong.

I digress.

Things were going according to my divine plan, until it happened.

A very tall, bigger woman went walking toward a nearby door, and O ran to hold it open for her. And who could blame the little guy for being a gentleman? I was proud. This is going to make her day, I thought. He stood there, gazing up at her.

Then, with shrill and acute articulation, these words escaped his unknowing, tiny mouth with volume that could wake the dead:

"Whoa!!! A GIANT!!!"

If you know me, you can picture my face and probably feel the instant sense of doom and despair and powerlessness and shame and horror I felt all at once in that moment.

Have you ever read Harry Potter? You know that invisibility cloak? Every child born should come with one because two year olds. Or like a pocket sized escape wardrobe to Narnia. Or like those berries on The Hunger Games. Too far?

Even though half the store must have heard his exclamation, she pretended not to, and so did I. She didn't even look at him or acknowledge him. And we both went on with our day.

But it's 2am, and in typical Emilybrain fashion, I'm wide awake and I can't stop thinking about her. I remember the time a kid my son's age asked me when I was going to have my baby, and I was about a year post partum. I still think of it to motivate myself to get in shape. And assuming this woman holds onto things at even half the capacity I do, I know his remark had to have hurt her feelings a great deal. Two year olds know no flattery; they call it like they see it.

I wish I could apologize and tell her she looked very pretty today. I wish O could tell her how cool he thought she was because she reminded him of his favorite character on Mickey and the Beanstalk (albeit 20% compliment, 80% salt in the wound). I wish our society didn't tell women they have to look a certain way to have worth. I wish I could have found a way to make her feel valued as a person in that moment instead of pretending nothing happened. It wasn't my proudest moment.

I really want to teach my son humility and mercy and how to properly love people.

So... Dear O, please never, ever, ever call a woman a "giant."

Seems like a good place to start.


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