We try to eat dinner together each night. Our 7-year-old revels in her turn at the dinner mic. One night she was regaling us with a story and a burp escaped.
“Whoops, sorry. That wasn’t ladylike,” she said.
“Wasn’t what?” I asked.
“Ladylike,” she said. Her sisters nodded, “Definitely not ladylike.”
I set my fork down, cleared my throat and said, “You don’t have to be ladylike. Ever.” The girls blinked. “Ladylike is not my hope for you.”
“I want you to be good people, loved for who you are, not the lines you obey. You will not burp at the dinner table, not because you are ladylike, but because you are polite. If you do burp, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a good person or good girl. “
When I was done, we may or may not have had a family burping contest.