Thursday, June 10, 2010
Does This Make Me Look Fat?
The other night, I pulled Teagan's nightgown over her head and she said to me... "Mommy, does this make me look fat?" I was stunned. I didn't know what to say. My mind was racing while I tried to remain very calm. Men fear that question from their wife or girlfriend. But for a parent to hear it from a child? For a mom to hear it from her daughter? Terrifying. Here's what I did not want to do... I didn't want to focus on her appearance. I didn't want to be negative about people who are fat. Here's what I was desperately trying to figure out in my head... Where did she ever hear that phrase? I guarantee you it wasn't at home. Jeff can confirm- it's a question I've never asked. I know that I don't stand in front of the mirror and judge my appearance. At most, I check myself just to make sure I don't have anything sticking out or stained or just to make sure the pieces really go together. I'm truly not someone who focuses on appearance- even as I journey to be healthier. Most days, I leave the house without ever passing by the mirror! Here's what I ended up doing... I asked a couple of questions back and then let the subject change. "What do you mean by that, sweetie?" "You know... fat. Do I look fat?" "What do you think it means to be fat? Do you know anyone who is fat?" "Well, big, you know. Fat." And then the subject changed in a natural flow kind of way. But I'm not prepared for the next time this happens. I need to formulate a plan. I need to know the best way to respond. A simple, "No." doesn't seem to be enough. But I also don't want to make an issue out of something that isn't an issue. Do I go into a mini schpiel about how all bodies are different and look different and that God made each of us the way we are? And that we all have choices to make about how we take care of our bodies? And that how a person looks on the outside doesn't represent who they are on the inside? Do I emphasize that she is actually thin and not fat? Do I point out all the ways that she is beautiful? Do I assume her question is one of fear or concern? I can't protect her from hearing this wherever she picked this up.... school? church? I don't know. But I definitely need a game plan for the next time it happens.