Thursday, April 07, 2005


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?"


1 comment:

zelda1 said...

It is sad that the pressure on girls to be thin starts out so young these days; but then I remember that when I was around nine and I went to school where all my classmates had flat butts. Well, I have a round but and it sticks out because I am sway backed. I wasn't fat nor was a chunky or baby fat or any of those things, I just had a round protruding but which today is attractive on women and young women but back in those days, the 60s, it wasn't cool. So, this girl makes fun of me for having a big butt and says it means I do it. Well, I didn't know what do it meant but I did know it must be bad since I was the only one doing it and having evidence that I was doing it. Anyway, I refused to wear any shirt unless it was long enough to hide my butt. Even today, I am self aware of my butt and try to hide it; although, these days, it is passed being hidden. My point is if someone at school is saying things to her, find out and put a stop to it. Those little teasing remarks stay with little girls until they are old little girls and the pain is always just under the surface. And talk about it, let her know that her tummy is just right, which is what you have done. It was probably made by a little girl since they are the ones who attack the other little girls and it was probably made out of jealousy because your daughter has or did something better than what this kid has or does. Tell your precious baby that too, that sometimes people say mean things because they are jealous and want to make others feel bad about themselves and instead of believing this crap, she, your baby, should just ignore her and understand that it is untrue and just a way to make someone else feel as badly as she feels.