Somewhere along the way, my five-year-old heard the song "I'm Sexy and I Know It," and it made an instant impression on him. I don't think I even gave the song much thought until I heard him singing the title line, stuck on repeat. The kid has a knack for hearing songs and playing them back to us later. He is almost always singing.
My first reaction was to think that, ugh, do I really need my five-year-old to know the word "sexy"? And then I wondered, what does he think it means? And could I really stop him from knowing that word, anyway? And then I decided not to worry about it. I'll save my worry for explicitly sexual and/or misogynist lyrics. This one goes in the "mostly harmless" category.
Me: "I'm sexy and I'm mommy?"
Now, I might get my nose out of joint about this, or lecture him about insulting people by telling them that they're not terribly pretty, just a little bit pretty, but the thing is, he's five, and he's just honest. To him, I'm not sexy. I'm mommy. I'm pretty enough for him to admire, not pretty enough for him to fall head over heels in love. Which is fine, because I'm mommy.
This is a normal kid thing. He's learning what pretty is, how our society defines it, how he defines it. He's learning (slowly) about tact and social appropriateness. I'm fairly certain that ten years from now, he will not be telling some girl or boy that they're pretty, but not that pretty. Or maybe he will, and he'll get a talking-to from him/her and their friends, and he'll learn something.
It's too easy to take offense to the blunt things our kids say to us. But I know what this song is really saying - that sexiness isn't about being tanned and toned or a fantastic dancer with perfect hair. It's about confidence. It's about being yourself and trusting that that is all you need to be. I'm sexy, and I know it. And I also know that with time, my kiddo will explore what pretty and sexy mean, and with his feminist, question-everything mom, I think he'll come up with a similar conclusion. I'm content to be his "little bit pretty" mom.
How do you feel when your kids comment on your appearance? How confident are you in yourself and in them?