Usually, I try not to label my children.
I don't mean covering them in nifty tags made on my nonexistent label-maker. I mean thinking of them in terms of "the pretty one," "the creative one," "the dirty one," etc, etc.
Labeling seems like a dangerous practice when it comes to your offspring; if that one is "the smart one," then what does that make the rest of them? The stupid ones? In addition is the thought of a negative label becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if I think of a child a certain way- disobedient, messy, slow- aren't I more likely to treat them as such?
So I do my best to think the best of our kiddos. I try to focus on their potential and their positive attributes.
I've been having a little trouble lately, though. Trouble with a certain label and our middle child.
I keep thinking of Atticus as "the weird one."
Yesterday, as I was getting Caedmon up from his nap, I heard Atticus moving around in his room. Moments later, he called to me, "Hey Mommy, come look at dese."
My heart sank; about half the time he wants me to come inspect something, I'm not happy with whatever "dese" are.
I scooped Caedmon up and bravely entered the bedroom. Atticus was standing there in nothing but a pair of shorts. He was looking down at this torso.
"What did you want to show me, Bud?"
"What are dese?" he asked, pointing.
"Those are you nipples, Bud."
(Pause) "Hey, Mom, are you proud of me?"
"Proud of you for what?"
"Proud of me for having nipples!"
"Uhhh... sure, Bud."
Seeing the conversation written down, I'm starting to think maybe the problem doesn't lie with Atticus. My end response was pretty weak, after all. Surely I could have come up with something better and more kid-affirming than 'Uhhh...sure.' Something more like, "Absolutely, Bud! I'm super-proud of those amazing nipples of yours!" or "Definitely. Best nipples I've seen all day!" or "Bud, with nipples like yours, who wouldn't be proud?"
Maybe I'm not supportive enough of my children and their nipples.
Or maybe kids in general are just weird.