A few weeks back, I was on the bus with PK. We were en route to a birthday party. PK loves riding the bus. To her, riding the bus is way more fun than riding in our car. Must be a kid thing. I remember that when I was a kid, I thought that the subway was awesome. I still do, but not in the same way that I thought it was awesome as a kid.
Anyway, sitting perpendicular to us was a couple. The lady was definitely on the overweight side. Not morbidly obese, but she had a gut. PK, who has had a few friends whose mommies were pregnant in the last little while, is very much aware of the fact that pregnant women have bulgy tummies because there's a baby inside. Naturally, upon seeing this definitely-not-pregnant woman, she figured that the woman's gut must have meant that she too had a baby inside.
And so, PK declared loudly, "Mom, there's a baby in her tummy!" I told her to be quiet in Portuguese (knowing another language sure is handy at times like these). And then she repeated it, "Mom, there's a baby in her tummy!" Why must she be the loudest person on this bus? Why oh why? I told her to stop saying these things, and I think she proceeded to question why I was asking her to be quiet.
Fortunately, this little exchange took place a couple of stops before ours, so we got off quickly, and then I had to explain to her that some women have big tummies, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there's a baby in their tummies. This was tough to explain. How do you explain fat vs. thin to a little girl, without starting down a path of constantly worrying about body image? I've read reports about how girls as young as 3 have body image issues. Three?! How insane is that? So I had to choose my words carefully, so as to not give her a complex at a young age. Or at any age, for that matter.
Hell, I'm always bitching about my body, and I'm in pretty good shape. I was all belly when I was pregnant and I was always bitching about my body. I know that I have body image issues, like most women, and in my particular case, I can tell you that I don't even have a reason to have body image issues. So knowing this, I don't want PK to go through the same crap that I go through. Because quite frankly, it's not healthy.
Raising A Screen Smart Kid in The New York Times
5 weeks ago