It can be rare during days watching 3 under 3 that I get to share a truly sweet 1-on-1 moment with my munch. But today we got lucky, and it was just the 2 of us. We were playing with a random feather found in our living room, and I was lying on my back as she put the feather in my belly button, tickling me.
“I love your belly, Mommy! It’s so silly,” Munch said, giggling hysterically.
I thought she was commenting on the ridiculous length of scattered hairs along my treasure trail. (Getting a waxing tomorrow, I swear!) But, I lifted my head up in what I can only imagine to be the beginning of a crunch (I don’t remember what those are really) to see just what was “so silly” about my belly anyway.
“NO! Don’t do that!" she yelled. "I’m hiding the feather!”
Quickly pushing me back down, Munch began to hide the feather. She pushed the fat from my lower-stomach pooch together, just as someone might do to carefully close an overstuffed pita.
I have enough fat to hide the entire feather. Shit. This was not something someone who is heading to South Beach, the epitome of gorgeous sun-kissed bodies, in just 5 days ever wants to see her belly is capable of. And, I remembered how back in college, my old roommate would squeeze her belly together and make it talk. I always found that so unattractive, and I could never fathom why she would make her stomach look so…ugly.
I briefly became lost in self-loathing, but Munch's giggle brought me back to the present, and as I peeked up at her smiling face, something miraculous happened.
An unexpected feeling overwhelmed me, and shit, I think it might actually have been gratitude. I honestly couldn't believe it. Despite myself, I was unintentionally feeling grateful for the two rolls of belly fat squishing that little white feather together and making my daughter grin ear to ear. In the midst of days with no help, no special classes for just me and my girl, my post-partum belly fat was the reason this beautiful little girl was laughing. And on top of that, she actually said she loves my belly. (Anyone with a toddler will tell you that they are generally very honest creatures, so I know she must truly love my belly -- the same one I have only hated on and verbally abused since giving birth for the 2nd time.)
Never have negative thoughts about my body left my judgmental mind so quickly. I laughed with her, feeling grateful that my belly was soft and squishy enough to hide feathers in. Munch and I were having a moment. A beautiful, sweet, silly, and fleeting moment.