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January 30, 2013

Mommy, You're Too Fat!



It took me aback, that’s for sure.

We were playing a game of family hide-and-seek.  Baby A and I were hiding, while Daddy and Baby B were charged with finding us.  I was holding A, and we squeezed behind a door.  Apparently the spot was a little tight for the both of us, and we were sticking out, as B spotted us almost immediately.

There were the usual squeals and laughter, and then A said, “Mommy, you’re too fat!

It’s true that I didn’t account for our combined bulk against what is usually a good hiding spot...but WHERE did that come from???

I know she didn’t mean anything by it.  I feel 100% confident she was just describing the fact that we were too big for that tiny spot.

But it rolled off her tongue with such ease…I was stunned.

I calmly told her, “Sweetie, you’re right.  Together we were too big for this spot.  We’ll have to find a better hiding place next time.

But ‘fat’ is not a word we use to describe people.  Fat is the white part that we cut off meat.  And fats are found in some foods.  Some fats are good for our bodies, and some we don’t eat very often.  You know how we talk about eating a balanced diet.

I tried not to make a big deal out of it.  Certainly I don’t want her to think “fat” is a bad word…but oh, my heavens…it’s not a word we use with people.  Ack!!!

I know I overthink these things, but I feel so much pressure to model a positive body image for the girls.  I think it’s one of the biggest responsibilities I have as a parent…and it touches so many areas, too.

Not only is it about loving your body, it’s about caring for your body and respecting it as such an incredible machine. 

It’s about making good choices.

It’s about being respectful of other people.

It’s about recognizing that we’re all created differently, each with our own strengths and weaknesses.

And I know the list continues.

Whew!  Who knew hide-and-seek could be so heady???

11 comments:

Amanda said...

You did awesome. That is why playing with our kids is so important. Things like that wouldn't come up otherwise. Embracing everything as a teaching/modeling moment. You are right that she probably meant "to big for the space" but I love how you took it on and didn't fuss for calling you fat. When that wasn't her definition of the word.

Amanda said...

You did awesome. That is why playing with our kids is so important. Things like that wouldn't come up otherwise. Embracing everything as a teaching/modeling moment. You are right that she probably meant "to big for the space" but I love how you took it on and didn't fuss for calling you fat. When that wasn't her definition of the word.

Eric, Marilyn, and Elliott said...

Oh, man, the FAT discussion. You did much better than I did. Elliott told me last year that his former babysitter was "pretty, but she's a little bit fat" and I nearly passed out! I think my eyes almost popped out of my head...I wasn't angry necessarily, just stunned speechless. I made sure to tell him how much it would hurt her feelings to hear him say that, and that really seemed to make him get it. Until he asked someone else a few months later why her tummy was so fat. He's so literal...when I reprimanded him, he responded, "But I didn't SAY she was fat...I ASKED why she was fat!" Fortunately he seems to have moved on/matured. Things are never boring with preschoolers!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

what amazing self-control!

I would have gasped and then just blurted out something :)

Mrs FF said...

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. I couldn't help myself, because that is what I would have probably done before I realise I am been called FAT!!!

Johanna at The Baker Twins said...

I like your explanation. I'll have to file that away for when the 'fat' discussion comes up with my girls. Although, we use fat all the time to describe babies... my favorite thing in the whole world is a fat baby. :)

strongblonde said...

whew! what a great response on the spot. i'm so impressed.

my kids have called me big, but not fat.

....but they did call me grandma today, so... :)

Deanna said...

Oh, the conversations to be had with these kiddos, huh??

One of the girls called me "squishy" the other day...though to be fair, she's not really wrong!! : )

Double the Giggles said...

You handled this fabulously! Sometimes we have to think like the little one's do and then what they are saying makes sense...which is exactly what you did. I had to have a discussion with the boys last summer after they referred to someone cashing us out one day as "big" (right at the check-out, in front of the individual). I told them that the person was an "adult, or grown-up." Thank heavens the woman (who was obviously overweight) didn't take offense and that I was able to come up with the correct words intsantly to correct the situation. Whew! Situation diverterd, although I'm sure she couldn't help but notice my beet red face!

championm2000 said...

Yes, that's definitely not the conversation I would have been expecting with a game of hide and seek, but it's amazing how they pull things out when you least expect them. I often find myself thinking, "Where did they learn *that*??"

It's awesome that you had the chance to have that conversation with them to help them clarify their word meanings. Linguistically, I am sure there is a term for the tendency of children to overgeneralize words because they haven't yet figured out connotation/shades of meaning. I find that stuff fascinating, btw ;-)

Ordinarylife said...

I dont think I would have come up with that so quickly. Well done.

 
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