In an effort to save water, but really more so in an effort to save time, either Bruce or myself will shower with the kids in the evenings. Karl is exactly at belly button height on me when he stands up, so my tummy is right at eye level with the kid. Yesterday, when we were both finishing up our showers together, he looked up at me, his pale blue eyes beaming in alarm from behind the hot fog of the shower while water teamed down his nose and around his eyes through his eyebrows, and said "Mommy! Oh no! You have LOTS and LOTS of boo-boos!"
Wondering what the heck he meant I asked him where exactly he saw my boo-boos. He's just getting to the age where he's developing a fantastic imagination, but thus far he's only imagined giant dinosaurs chasing us or eating delicious meals he's created, so I wanted to know what he thought my boo-boos were. He took his little pointer finger and gingerly traced down a stretch mark on my stomach. He then proceeded to poke the rest of them, in a chain of "right 'dere, right 'dere, right 'dere, right 'dere's" that seemed like they'd go on forever. I do have A LOT A LOT A LOT (Karl terminology for a whole bunch) of stretch marks on my stomach. I've also got a giant Frankenstein sized scar on my stomach from the emergency appendectomy I had when I was 28 weeks pregnant with Hana. The thing really is monstrous and saggy and baggy because it was unrelentingly stretched to it's max during the final months of my pregnancy as my belly grew larger and larger and more rotund.
"Yeah, I do have a lot a lot a lot of them" I thought to myself. With my kids, though, I have made a very conscious effort to model healthy and positive body image. You know what, stretch marks are a normal part of life for a mom- especially for a mom who had two big kids back to back. My abdomen literally bulged with life for almost 2 straight years of my life- there's going to be a little wear and tear left on this 'Ol Bessie. My gut reaction when he pointed out the "boo boos" was to feel bummed to be reminded that they exist. My mommy-instinct got the better of me, though, and so I explained to Karl that they were boo-boos that I got from when I had him and Hana in my belly when they were growing. I told him that the boo-boos didn't hurt but that they reminded me of when my babies were still in my belly and that when I think about that it makes me happy (happy to think they were once that small, but happy also to remind me that the pregnant stage is over, thank the Lord!).
Karl smiled when I told him that and kind of innocently giggled. He thinks it's so funny that a baby could ever be inside someone's tummy but he accepted the answer. Still, it didn't stop him from kissing me all over my belly and from picking up the wash cloth and laying it over my stomach saying "It's okay, mommy I will put this band-aid on them and they will get ALL BETTER!' "Oh, kid, if only it were that easy to get rid of them" I thought. It was so sweet of him to care about me, though, and to try and make my boo-boos better, the way I have for him since the moment he first ever got hurt.
So, he was brutally honest in pointing out EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of my stretch marks BUT he does also tell me all the time that he thinks I am beautiful and that I'm his best friend. That's got to be him being brutally honest, too- he doesn't really "get" lying yet- he doesn't know how to not say what he feels and believes. It's so truly powerful and deeply touching to hear him be so honest and true with his words. To me, he is beautiful and he is my best friend, too. I wouldn't trade his innocent truths, be they pointing out my flaws or pointing out his true feelings, for anything.
I acquired quite a few battle scars from carrying my two children. They're big and they're always going to be around (I'm talking about my stretch marks here ,not my kids, though, these two characteristics apply to them, too). So what. My son tried to kiss my boo-boos and make them all better for me, and that's what really matters.