I wish these were bigger

My four-year-old daughter was standing in her room yesterday morning, wearing only a pair of pants, squeezing her chest, and saying, “I wish these were bigger.”

My first response was panic.
My second response was to pass the buck, “Go talk to your mom about that,” I said.

She ignored me and said again,” I just wish these were bigger.”

“Man up,” I told myself, and knelt down. I said, “When you’re ten or eleven, your body will start to change. And one of the things that will happen is that those will get bigger. Lots of things will happen – you’ll get taller, for example. But right now, you’re still working on being a kid, and you’re going to keep learning and growing for years yet before that happens. Now, do you want to wear you’re supergirl shirt today?”

Ellie raised her hands into the air and shouted, “yeah!”

That’s the best I could do on the spur of the moment. What do you think?

As a related aside, I know that “man up” is a contested phrase, evoking machismo culture and other unfortunate aspects of masculinity. That’s why I like to repurpose expressions of masculinity like “man up”  to wiping bottoms, getting the kids ready for school, or in this case talking to my daughter about her breasts. It’s about expanding the range of normative masculine/paternal behavior.

5 Replies to “I wish these were bigger”

  1. Amy says:

    I think that was actually really good; it's hard to know exactly what inspired her to make that comment.

    When I was little, it actually took me a while to understand I couldn't have an awesome moustache like Hercule Poirot and Clark Gable and Captain Hook. But I didn't ask my mom that. What I said to my mom that terrified her is, "I want to be a fee-an-say when I grow up."

    She froze and said, "And why is that?"

    I shrugged and said, "I just do." She changed the subject.

    What I couldn't put into words at the time is that all I'd seen was people on TV introducing their fiances (and fiancees). They always seemed really proud if they had one. They were always sharply dressed. They could be boys or girls, but they always seemed smart. People liked their fiance/es so much that they were always MARRYING them.

    Eventually, I realized that it wasn't a job you could have. So later, in kindergarten, I decided I wanted to be a fireman. Firemen are tall.

    1. Amy says:

      I do own a blue sparkly self-adhesive moustache which looks pretty cunning, but I wound up putting it on a bottle of whisky.

  2. Sarah says:

    I had a comment about the way my four year old daughter thinks… but I got distracted by the thought of a whisky bottle wearing a sparkly mustache…

    Along the same line, my daughter wants to grow up to be married. She sees extravagant parties as the culmination of all of her dreams, and there could be no better party than a wedding. At first I was really worried when she was telling everyone that she wanted to "have a wedding with daddy", but I asked her why, turns out it is the wild party that she wants.

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