"Mummy, I don't like my nevus. I want you to take it off and my special spots too."
My eyes flicked open. As per every night, I was lying with Olive to get her to sleep. I thought she was almost there, and then she hit me with this one.
I paused for a moment, and then simply asked, "why?".
"I don't like it mummy! I don't wanna have a Nevus! I don't love it now!"
My heart skipped a beat as I pondered how best to respond to this unexpected statement. Thoughts racing through my head, I figured at first that someone had said something. As my mind went a million miles trying to establish the root of this outburst, I verbally tried to placate her.
"Darling, your nevus is just part of you. And you are a wonderful person. You are clever, you are kind, you are lovely to kiss, you are funny...."
I trailed off as she kept saying, "No I don't like it mummy! I want you to take it away!"
Just as quickly as she interrupted me, I interrupted her. When at first my instinct was to shield her and quickly guide her back to love for self, my mummy brain told me something different. I knew she was tired, and I knew that sometimes when my kids are tired, they are irrational. So rather than try to argue with her (an overtired 3 year old little girl) about why she should love herself and how much I love her, I just went with it.
"Ok babe. Tomorrow we will take the Nevus and package it up for another little girl."
She stopped whinging and gasped. "No way mummy! I need it! It's MY Nevus! I can't give it to babies!"
And I smiled to myself, told her, "ok, good night sweetheart", kissed her forehead and she turned over and went to sleep.
It's funny how little exchanges like this can affect you when you have a child with a difference. Because in reality, she is 3. She likes being silly. She likes saying things to get a reaction. She likes to wind her brother and sister up. She likes to say 'no' a lot. She likes to be defiant and stubborn.
Just last week during bedtime chats, she told me she wants her hair cut off because it goes everywhere. And I dismissed it and told her to go to sleep! Why should the latest exchange be any different, just because she said nevus instead of hair?
It shouldn't be. And right now, at such a young age I simply refuse to let body image be an issue for my daughter.
Meisha is 7 and last year she suddenly decided she hated her arms because they were hairy. I talked with her and questioned where it had originated. She was adamant nobody had said anything, she just decided she had hairy arms and she didn't like it. For weeks she would only wear long sleeves. She would hide her arms and get all shy if her sleeves rode up. Eddie and I decided to just ignore it. We were hurt that our young daughter could possibly hate any part of herself - to us she is the picture of perfection, just as Jaxon and Olive are.
Apart from one instance with my sister where we both showed Meisha our arms and pointed out that we all have hair on our arms, and that she should be proud of her arms as they were strong and helped her climb, we didn't bring it up again. And she got over it. She wears all types of tops and shirts again and hasn't said another word about it. And now she shows off her strong guns to anyone who asks!
So I think my mothers instinct told me to follow suit when Olive said she didn't like her Nevus. It may not be the right way and I am well aware that one day we may have to face body image issues with our girls, but for now I want them to enjoy life.
We tell all our kids often what we love about them and how proud we are of them. And I really am. They all have big hearts, a solid foundation of good morals, clever brains, strong bodies, and individual strengths which never fail to burst my heart with pride.
Oh, and they're all goddamn beautifully good lookin'.