I am fully aware that children of all ages think they are smarter than their parents, or at least I have had some blatant reminders from my toddler within the last year. But what I didn’t know was apparently even her classmates are smarter than I am. The other morning before dropping my daughter off to school, I was in the kitchen, I am sure slaving over a meal, or cleaning up a mess…you know minding my own mommy business and my “genius” soon to be 4-year-old tells me what she learned from her new found friend.
“Jania said that you swallow food, it goes to your belly and then to your legs and your toes, and that’s the truth,” she says very matter of fact. I have to ask who is Jania, because this name is new. “She says, she is in my afterschool program and she is 6-years-old and very smart.” And here’s where the morning gets a little ugly. I then reply “I am sure Jania is very smart and I am glad you have a new friend, but your food never physically goes to your legs and toes. I mean it’s not like you are walking around with a grape in your toe.” I then spend the next 45 seconds breaking down how your digestive system really works.
In fact, I was very proud of my simple explanation something like, you chew your food, it goes in your belly and your body takes the energy from the good food and you poop out the rest. “Mommy, that is not true. Jania said…” So of course, I reiterate my point and explain to her how I am her mother and I promise to always tell her the truth and if I am not sure of something I will be the first to say so, but if I say it….it is so.
For at least 2 minutes we go back and forth; yeah yeah, not my most favorable moment…but I got caught up in a toddler trying to tell me what I know. Finally, my husband steps in, thank God and he repeats what I told her and gets the same response. We are wrong and all things Jania is correct.
“Morgan; me and mommy want you to know the truth,” he says. “We don’t want you to look silly. Please listen to us?” So he puts her on his lap and plays a short children’s video on the digestive system. Can you say grateful my spouse knows when I need help?
When the video clip ends, she is silent. I make sure to remind her that she owes me an apology. By this point its time to head to the car for school and I can’t help but reflect on all the conversations I have with parents of teenagers. Yes, I know she’s a toddler, but peer to peer influence is the same at all ages. It’s disturbing, scary and powerful all at the same time.
I am grateful that she and Jania were talking about digestion instead of something inappropriate. But I tell you one thing, I will make it a point to meet my competition, Ms. Jania the next time I pick up Morgan from her after school program.