July 16, 2012 by Melissa
So, my Lucy is 3 and starting to notice differences in people. She thought Paula Deen’s silver hair was amazing and beautiful. She points out that I have green eyes while she and her daddy have brown. We have been talking a lot about descriptive words to express what she is noticing. Now, we don’t use the word “fat” in this house. Not when talking about cats, or rabbits, or tomatoes, or people. I’ve used small, medium, and large as adjectives as I understand the need to categorize. There is just such a Pandora’s box in that word…fat.
I’m not stupid. I know my girls will hear that word soon if they haven’t already. I also know that Lucy is sensitive and caring enough to not use the word around me if I ask her not to. My anxiety is stemming from the fact that my little girl will then be introduced to the idea that one’s appearance matters so much and can be an agonizing source of pain. Lucy is really comfortable with her body and loves all the things it does for her. She has yet to think about things like pretty/ugly, or even boy/girl. If she knows there are such judgmental words, how will her views change? Having navigated these waters, I’m justifiably anxious.
I do know that I want to talk about being healthy and feeling good. We already have had these conversations and she’s getting the hang of interpreting her body and what it needs. She eats well and is active and has parents who exercise. Sometimes people do that, though, and are not skinny. I’m not skinny. I have strong legs and hips for birthing.
Food and weight are such loaded issues. I guess I’m looking to delay the development of such issues in her and Alice, but I’m also hoping to create a sympathetic and empathetic person in regards to other kids and adults. I want her to be curious but not judge. Am I naive? After all, our society does hold thin up as standard. She’ll see magazine covers, diet commercials, mannequins, not to mention all the celebrities.
I’m not just thinking about this because we have girls. These issues are abundant for both genders.
I’m looking for advice-what has worked for you? What didn’t work? What would you have done differently? Am I making too big a deal?