Poke. I'm standing at the sink, up to my elbows in suds, when I feel a six-year-old finger poke me in the side, right above the top of my jeans. Poke. Poke. I look over and smile, my eyebrows asking the question, "What can I do for you, eldest child of mine?"
Poke. "Mommy, what's this bump right here?" Poke.
I bite my tongue, because my initial response is something derrogatory, something along the lines of, "That's what happens when Mommy doesn't run." "That's called a love handle." "That's just Mommy's fat." Or worse yet, "Don't do that." There's a badge of shame, for you.
Poke. I feel her move around my back and prod the squishiness on my other hip, investigating.
"That's part of my body, honey. That's the way I'm shaped right now." I say it with a smile, because I know she's reading as much into my face as she does into my words, learning as much from the happiness she hears in my voice as she does from the vocabulary I choose.
"Mommy, you're symmetrical, just like the hearts we were cutting out for the Valentines. Mommy, how can you smile and cry and laugh all at the same time?"