So this morning I'm feeding the kid her Cheerios and milk and polishing my shoes and saying, as I say almost every morning, "Would you hurry up, because if we don't leave this house in exactly two minutes we're going to be late for school and then Ms. Feldman (the head of the Montessori school) is going to yell at us, do you want Ms. Feldman yelling at us? Huh?"
She's busy reading the Cheerios box and telling me that it will help lower her cholesterol level and that it's part of a healthy diet and the perfect finger food.
"Fine. Could you just eat it?"
She takes a bite. She chews. She says, "Do you think I'm chubby?"
Did I mention the kid is six? She's six, and she's already obsessing about whether or not she weighs too much. What a fucked society we have.
I look at her. "Where's that coming from?"
"Well, my belly does stick out."
"Is this coming from some kid at school?"
She hesitates. Then she says, "No."
In a way that absolutely means yes, I suspect.
Anyway, I explained to her that she is six, and at six all kids' bellies stick out -- they are designed to stick out. I told her to look at her best friend, a skinny little boy. "Doesn't his belly stick out?" I inquired. I told her that, by the way, it didn't even matter whether her belly stuck out or not: it mattered whether she was doing a good job of mending the world or not. I told her people in this country spent way too much time obsessing about the shape of their bellies, time they ought to give to far mor useful pursuits, and did she want to spend her life focusing on how chubby she was or wasn't, or did she want to spend her life on reading and making up songs and becoming a scientist and painting pictures? (All her current interests.)
"Yeah," she says, "but what if I get so fat I can't get in the house anymore?"
7 hours ago