Posted in Family, Slice of Life

Slice of Life 2018, Day 6: Fat

We hadn’t been home from school long when she barged into the bathroom, looked at me with her big, brown eyes, and proclaimed, “Mommy, my legs are fat.”

It took no time for me to put the puzzle behind this proclamation together. This morning as we arrived at school, Szofia’s best friend met us at the door of her preschool classroom and excitedly pointed out that the girls had on matching pants today. The two compared outfits–navy leggings with a bright stripe of pink flowers running down the side–before skipping off happily to play like they do every morning.

But sometime between my departure and the time I picked her up this afternoon, a comment had been made. A comment that stuck with my daughter, just a week past her fourth birthday.

I looked at her, carefully calculating my next words. “Szofia, your legs are dancing legs. They are running legs. They are jumping legs. They are perfect, just the way they are.”

I didn’t tell her they aren’t fat (they aren’t). I didn’t tell her they’re beautiful (they are). I didn’t want her to see that my heart broke a little knowing she already equates the word fat with an undesirable quality.

Instead, I hope my words carried the meaning I don’t know if she’s old enough yet to understand: that no one has the right to judge, no one has the right to make you feel bad, and no one has the right to make you feel like anything less than the amazing person you are.

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Author:

Teacher, mentor, reader, writer, mother, wife Lover of good books, chocolate chip cookies, and sunny days

24 thoughts on “Slice of Life 2018, Day 6: Fat

  1. It seems that parenting, like writing, requires one to chose what must be said and what must be left unsaid. You chose such an empowering way to engage with your daughters comment. The repeated “(they are)” gave it a very personal voice, like I was listening to a close friend. This little slice will stick in my memory and help me in my next “conversation that I don’t want to have.”

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  2. Wow! First I wonder what child at her class would have said that her legs were fat. It seems like that poor little one is getting a really ugly message from somewhere in her life. And second, I think how brilliantly you handled this. I love your response!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My prayer for today is that every single girl has someone giving them THIS message! I struggle with weight. I always have. These words, “…your legs are dancing legs. They are running legs. They are jumping legs. They are perfect, just the way they are.” brought me to tears and I’m 46. PERFECT, just they way they are. YES!!!!

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  4. ugh. i know this feeling. you articulate it well. when someone from the outside world chisels away at even a tiny bit of one of your babies’ innocence a little too early. brutal and helpless and rage-inspiring. you handled it really well. thanks for sharing.

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  5. As the father of two daughters with totally different body styles, I can relate to your slice! One daughter has always been wispy and long like her mother, the other short and stout like her father. If they complained about their bodies or talked themselves down, my wife and I would always find an example to show how beautiful they were, inside and out. Now, did this always work? No, the eye rolls were painful, but as one is almost in college, the other in college, they both are very comfortable in their own skin. Keep doing what you are doing. She may not always “listen”, but she is. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this slice with us!

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  6. I love the way you handled this and your response. It makes me sad that we have to think about how to ensure that our girls see themselves “positively” at such young ages. I still remember my niece in Kindergarten telling me that her and her friends from dance, decided that she was the “fat” one. Ugh. I’m sorry you had to deal with it at all, but I love all the positive thoughts and qualities you put towards her “perfect” legs. 🙂

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  7. Nice job showing the positive. It is unfortunate that you had to deal with that. You gave her positives about who she is. It strengthens your relationship. Having a mom who is truthful and compassionate will have a huge affect on her as she grows up. Well done.

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  8. I have had conversations like this with my 6 year old as well. “mommy, Ella called me fat” and “why isn’t my tummy flat like Ella’s”. It is so hard to respond and talk about it to her to make her feel confident about the way she looks. I LOVE your response and will use it when (unfortunately it will be when and not if) she talks to me about the next comment I am glad I read your post! Good job momma!

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  9. What a sad day for you, Mama. I applaud your ability to build your daughter up without taking another down. Thank you for pointing out all the things your daughter can do with her body that make her strong and healthy. And thank you for giving me a SOL post myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I felt like I froze as I read this as I think of my almost four year old daughter. I love that you reminded her of her “jumping, running and dancing” legs. Your response surely comforted her in a positive way.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yep, I just had the same conversation with my 5-year-old daughter over the weekend. She absorbed the pediatrician talking to me about limiting sugars. Now, my daughter is obsessed with everything having sugar and her not having too much of it. She is too young for this! My heart hurts to know that she even knows that she has to be careful about her weight. I get proactivity, but let them be kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, these are the hardest conversations … I have two daughters as well and I’ve always been conscious of how we talk about body image. Your response? Amazing! Bravo to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This was wonderful to read, and I see from so many comments that it spoke to many other readers as well. I love the way you focused on what bodies can DO. That’s WHY we have them – so we can explore the world, so we can feel, and jump and dance!

    Liked by 1 person

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