“Mummy,” she said, as she tenderly held my face in her chubby hands and stared deeply into my eyes, “I love you so much that I want to drink your blood in a milkshake!”
This was declared in rapturous tones, resplendent of the scene in every fairytale when the prince declares his love for the princess.
“You want to drink my what? Why?” I chuckled.
“Mama, I want to drink your blood in a milkshake!”, she giggled. Then, by way of explanation, “You know, because I love you… just like how you said I am so cute you want to eat me up!
I began to laugh and Baby G joined me – laughing because Mummy was laughing and that’s always enough of a reason.
The words we speak land on our children’s ears in the most literal way and on this day, I had to laugh because I had never really thought about how ridiculous some of the things that pop out of my mouth must sound to my little ones.
“I want to gobble you up!” (“Mummy has a weird cannibalistic eating disorder.”)
“Your shoes no not live in the middle of the kitchen floor!” (“Shoes are alive. Be afraid.”)
“There are children in Africa who would love to eat your sushi.” (“Eating your sushi is magically going to feed African children.”)
“Watch your language!” (“Develop magical powers that will enable you to see the sounds you make.”)
These are all funny, but what about the child I saw in the supermarket, whose mother angrily told her, “If you do that again, so help me, I will kill you.” Did she take that literally? How about the kid whose mother jokingly referred to her older sister as “My favourite child” – did she know her mother wasn’t being serious?
It’s so easy to forget that our children are not little grown-ups. They are innocent, trusting and fragile. Our words have immense power to build them up, to shape them, to elevate them and to nurture them.
They also have the power to cut them to ribbons.
That is the lesson I learned this week.
Even so, Baby G is delicious. Just don’t tell her I said so.
ABOUT MICHELLE: Michelle Lewsen is Editor at Bonbon Break. She has 18 years’ experience in the advertising industry and multiple International Writing awards under her belt. In 2013, she was thrilled to be selected as a BlogHer Voice of the Year in the “Inspiration” category. She is also the founder of theycallmemummy.com – a website for women (parents and non-parents, alike) covering a wide range of topics from parenting to work-life balance to mental health and fitness.
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This post was written by Michelle Lewsen exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC