Last night I told Austin he was tough. Jack was in the room. He hears what I told Austin and quickly speaks up: "I'm tough too."
"Oh yes. You are my toughest son." My comment quickly hushes him.
We went on to talk for a moment about what toughness was and that it's like when you get hurt and you don't cry for a long time, but instead just say, "Ouch. That hurt." Conversation was over, we moved on.
Two hours later...
Jack is lying in my bed hanging out with me for a little bit. I sit up straighter in the bed and when doing so, whack him in the head with the end of my elbow.
“Sorry Jack.” I apologize.Jack's response:
“It’s ok. I don’t even care. When you hit me on the head, I’m so tough it doesn’t even feel like anything to me. (pause while thinking) It just feels like tiny drops of rain.... Well, maybe 33 drops of rain.”
10 minutes later...
"Mom, I'm so tough I pulled this finger apart (popped it) and put it back. It's just cause I'm so tough."
"I feel like my whole body is a miracle."
The next morning....
"Mom, if I hadn't been born 5 days late [past my due date] I probably wouldn't be so tough.
Just think if I had told him he was weak, or a baby, or a good-for-nothing. Those words would have stuck and probably stuck harder than longer than the affirming words I said. I was glad for the reminder to always guard my tongue and to speak life to my children --and everyone else.