Let me preface this by saying, I am so paranoid about my girls developing body issues that if you ask them ,”What are you?” Their standard answer, with absolutely no conceit, is, “Perfection!” Or as Bella likes to say ,”Perfectional!” I am trying to raise them to know that they are perfect as is; to know that people come in all shapes, sizes,and colors and we are all of the same worth. We are all the perfect us that we are suppose to be.I stress this point to them. Though, of course, being that I am human, I am uber critical of myself but I am conscientious not to exhibit that behavior in front of them, or so I thought. It’s a 24 hour a day job, just trying not to be a bad example :)I thought that I was succeeding at this job.I guess I thought wrong.
The other day, out of the blue, my 4 year old, Bella looks at me and whispers, “Mom, I want you to be tall and straight like Daddy.” With that, she smiled a little sheepish smile. So between the whisper and the (please don’t hurt me, on the brink of a flinch smile) I concluded, she was trying to say something very diplomatically that was in fact an insult. But I wasn’t sure what. My husband is 6’5″, so I understand that he is taller than me but what did she mean by “straight”? I’m married to a man and she has to idea of the implications of the words “straight or gay” ,so this left me wondering, what in the hell exactly she meant. So, I said,”Bella, Mommy is a girl and sometimes they are shorter than boys.I can’t do anything about that.” She said,(in her whispering/defensive stance/hands actually up to her mouth to signify a secret) “But you can get straight!” I look at her, and again, that same impish smile. I’m curious and I’m confused. “Honey, what do you mean that you want me to be “straight like Daddy”? Bella, looks me up and down and says, “You know, straight,with none of this!” By this, I inferred by her hand gestures and the fact that she was rubbing my love handles, she meant my lovely chunkiness. OMG, this is the moment I hoped would never come. I’m not obese, but I’m no size 5 anymore.I am certainly a well established resident in double digit land. I took a mental note and decided that it was in fact time to get back into shape. I want to be a good role model, and all that:)She wasn’t trying to mean, but she obviously knew, at her young age of 4, that Mommy’s weight was a sensitive subject. We’ve had the occasional,”Mom you’ve got a big butt!”, which of course, compared to hers, I do. Let’s face it, I got a big butt. I have always responded, “Well Bella, Mommy would look crazy with a little butt like yours.I’m too big for a bootie that size, but its perfect for your little girl body:)” Which, indeed, I would and it is. Her response is always, “It’s OK Mom, I love your big butt!” So, overall, its all good. My ego gets a little bruised, but I bounce back. That was then.
Today,at dinner, Bella is engaged in a full on monologue with herself, as four year olds are known to do from time to time. Then she leaps into her,I’m pretending I’m somebody else mode.OK, I’m used to this. I hear her having a conversation with herself about her Mom being “straight”. I turn slowly, and my ears perk up, like a nosey dog.I can’t resist,”Bella, you still love me even if I’m not “straight”,right? Families love each other no matter what.” To which she responds, “Yeah, Mom! But some people are like ‘Hey look at that fat girl!’ ( Imagine my aghast face and sheer horror) and she continues ,”But I’m like ,’Hey don’t say that, she’s my Mom and she’s perfect!” And then she looks me dead in the eye, serious as I’ve ever seen her, and says,”I still love you anyways,Mommy!” At this point, I am in shock and mortified that this is the conversation that her and her ‘imaginary friends are having’:) Continuing, as an equal opportunity child that she apparently is, she looks at me and (again with that smile and whisper, since Daddy’s out of earshot) says ,”It’s OK Mom, they say it about Daddy and Saffaron (the dog) too. They’re like ‘Hey, look at that stupid guy walking that dog!’ OMG, all I want to know is who are these horribly evil little imaginary people that live in my daughter’s head and what do I have to do to shut them up? LOL I laughed so hard that I did in fact cry, part, laughing my butt off at her imagination and her keen sense of decorum to know that she needed to be delicate with her Mommy’s feelings, and part at the sad fact that my daughter has, in fact, noticed my imperfections and thinks I’m perfect anyways…or at least that is what she has chosen to let me believe , in spite of the facts.I love my daughter, she is ‘perfectional’ to me, and I am starting a diet tomorrow! I’ve also realized that I have to fight the urge and be more conscious of the “does my butt look big? Does this make me look fat?” comments that slip out of my mouth undetected. But like they say, ” I can lose weight, but poor Daddy..well, what do you do for being stupid?