Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Toddlers have no PC button

What do you do?

Last week, leaving the pediatrician's office we enter the elevator to find one lone woman traveling our way, down to the first floor.  As the door closes, Cate pipes up "Why is your tummy so big?!"

Oh dear god.

In a wild attempt to deflect the offense and maybe give this poor woman sense of "yeah, so there!" I interjected with "Daddy has a big tummy too, lots of people have big tummies."  My husband, thankfully, was not there to hear me say this and I would like to think I wouldn't have if he HAD been there, but actually I totally might have.  Just to make it less pointedly awful.  Which would've just made the situation come home with me, but still...knee jerk response.   Also, I didn't want to say "Catherine, no, she doesn't!" because well, she was obese.  And what does it teach my kid to deny what's plainly obvious?

Hoping Cate would take that line of conversation and run with it, she then says with certainty, a little bit of disdain, and a lot of drama, "Your tummy's WAY bigger!"

Scotty, beam me up.

Thankfully there were no stops to other floors and the door opened just a few seconds later while the woman was saying something like "I've had lots of practice!" (god love her) and I skedaddled the three of us out of there while mouthing an exaggerated 'I'm sorry!' to this poor fellow human being just taking an innocent elevator ride until she got stabbed by a 3 year old where it hurts.

It would hurt me at least.

So this situation then begs the question.  What do you do?  Teachable moment, right?   I'm supposed to teach her that there are times to think things and say them.  Times to think things, and keep them in your head.   Because sometimes the things you say can hurt someone's feelings.
Except I'd also like her to learn no one can hurt her feelings without her permission, she can decide if she wants to feel hurt or not when someone is mean or says something innocently enough but could be hurtful just the same.  So I tell her that things she says could hurt someone's feelings, but that she doesn't need to be hurt by things others say?  A conflicting message, to say the least.
And, more immediate in this situation, I don't necessarily want to bring forth the notion of negative body image, that fat is something to be ashamed of and not spoken of aloud.

So seriously.  Input on what you've done in similar situation or thoughts in general are welcome!