by jessica ‘taking a cue’ lewis
if you’ve been following the blog this month you’ve seen that for some of us learning to freely express who we really are can sometimes be a journey. sometimes the societal and/or familial paths we’ve been traveling on have run their course, so we have to forge our own way. for others it’s just a bump in the road. for me, personally, it’s a trek i’m still on and because of this i’m trying my best to make it smooth sailing for my children (or at least as smooth as possible). in other words, i’m raising two deviants right from the start (throw in the dog and you can change that number to three, but that number better drop back down to two really fucking quick).
kids are natural deviants. they’re often testing boundaries and questioning the status quo. they have a knack for being open, blatantly honest and generally accepting of others. somewhere on the road to adulthood those traits can get muddled with fear, shame and conformity. children, especially young ones like mine, don’t really even have things like embarrassment or self-consciousness on their radar. i think this is a good thing and i’m doing my damnedest to make sure it stays that way.
for example, we spent mother’s day with my mom and my gramma and at one point beazy let one rip. well, beazy’s favorite game is “who ate the fart”, so she raises her thumb to her forehead and out of habit henry, my mom and i follow suit as we’re all laughing. so, bea yells out, “GRAMMA ATE THE FART!”. gramma doesn’t quite catch this and asks, “what?”, to which my mom replies, “you don’t want to know.”, in an attempt to spare gramma the grisly details. i, on the other hand, don’t want her to feel left out so i explain the game to her. in hindsight maybe i shouldn’t have done that, but bea has been steady playing this game without missing a day for months now. i don’t see it stopping any time in the near future. she’s 3. farts are funny to 3 year olds and truthfully she has me seeing the humor in flatulence again. of course, my sense of humor is probably infinitely more juvenile than my gramma’s. yet, i realize this is a phase with bea, so i see no point in stifling the pleasure she gets from laughing at her own bodily functions. maybe it will help her find some humor in the raging pms she’s likely to have later in life. if so, then more power to her.
it’s not even that i consider my kids to be deviants. we embrace who they are, and say that they’re ‘just the right amount of weird’. they’re being who they are at any given moment. sometimes those moments mean wearing their clothes inside out and backwards while also going commando. or wearing goggles and/or a bike helmet for 12 hours of the day. a couple of days ago it was the girl doing a happy dance down the hallway while singing, “shit shit shitty shit shit shit shit”. other days it means i’m going grocery shopping with a ninja spy, spider-man or maybe a werewolf in tow (that can double your time spent in the store, let me tell you). and sometimes it’s playing “who ate the fart” for four months straight and counting.
there are times when their ‘weirdness’ opens up discussions about acceptance and staying true to who you are. other kids are teasing you for having your nails painted? do you like how your nails look when they’re painted? and your friends didn’t tease you? then if you like it screw those other kids and hurray for having good friends! (okay, not exactly how that conversation went down, but it might as well have).
and maybe this is where i deviate from the norm, but by letting them be who they are i’ve become more comfortable with who i am. i’m telling my kids to love who they are yet it’s something i’ve struggled with myself. i’m simultaneously trying to let go of my own fears while doing my best to make sure my own children stand up to theirs. the funny thing about being a parent and encouraging your children’s individuality is that they can open your eyes and teach you to embrace your own.
hopefully, you’re raising some deviant weirdos and becoming more of one yourself! (unless one of those rascals is a dog. reign that hound in, but let the kids be.)