She’s dressed in her favorite jeans and a Minnie Mouse shirt that she’s managed to tie on the side so her midsection is showing.
“I like to show my belly like this mommy.”
She’s four years old and growing up way too quickly. Between wanting to wear my makeup, secretly trying on my high heels in my closet, and now wanting to show her belly, I have a four-year-old that’s going on fourteen years old.
She’s also becoming increasingly harder to both buy clothes for and get dressed in the morning. Most of the things that I pick out are either the wrong color (not pink) or don’t fit her the way that she wants them to. It scares me that she’s becoming more and more aware of her body. At four years old, I was more worried about what doll I could play with, not whether or not my stomach was showing in the outfit I had on.
We went swimsuit shopping a couple of weeks ago. Rather than letting her freely look for herself around the store, I picked out a handful and let her choose. She sat and looked at me with a pouty face.
“What’s wrong? Are they not the color that you wanted?” I asked.
“I want one that shows my belly,” she whined.
We went back and forth in the store on how I thought she wasn’t old enough to wear a bathing suit that showed her stomach just yet. She tried to argue with me for fifteen minutes before we compromised on a two-piece swimsuit that had a longer top than your typical bikini.
I’ve always known that she was mature for her age, but I never guessed that her maturity would create such awareness of her body this early on in her life.
I struggle with whether to let her get this out of her system because she is just going through a phase or to try to slow it down and make her dress more her age. It’s a fine line between letting her express herself and me being a responsible parent. I never want to inhibit her from being herself, but I also need to do my duty as her mother and teach her modesty and responsibility.
Rather than constantly harp on her for her desire to dress older than she is, I try to focus on other things that she enjoys doing. I’m carving out time during the day to spend one-on-one time with just her in case this is her way of telling me that she needs some attention. Because giving her all of me is the best lesson that I can teach her, no matter how old she is.
Lauren Jimeson is a mom of three and writes a personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!