This morning I was saying goodbye to the boys. When I hugged Reed, he said, "Whew, Mom. You need a shower." Okay, I've learned I just have to laugh and marvel in the incredible honesty of children.
Last night we were at dinner, and I said to the boys, "Tell me something you like about your mom." (Yes, I know I'm setting myself up in that moment for a fall.) First on Reed's list: "You're not funny..." I cracked up. I'm not sure why he likes that I'm "not funny." Maybe my mere (and apparently failing) attempts at humor somehow entertain him. Who knows?
A couple of years ago, I asked Reed for a kiss. He came toward me to bestow it and stopped short. "Mom, your breath stinks!" he declared. I looked into his angelic face and considered the zing that had just escaped from his little lips. I even asked him to repeat it ... I couldn't believe he was refusing me. But he was -- even a four-year-old has standards! Brush your teeth first, please Mom!
I tell you, engaging with your children can be risky. You're likely to get an honest reaction or a truthful opinion, so you need to be prepared to take it. I know that in times like these, I get delightful practice in accepting criticism with a smile, seeing humor in my flaws, and learning to laugh at myself.