I like to think that I am a strong woman. I like to think that I am instilling those traits in our daughter. We tell her she is strong, kind, intelligent and beautiful, nearly every day. We try to work with her to see how she can overcome obstacles and get past frustrations. She is a strong willed child. What is that part in the Moana song? “You are your father’s daughter, stubbornness and pride…” That is sass in a sentence. She is growing and changing so much every day. She is noticing that people are different, and like every 4 year old she states those differences very bluntly.
Wednesday evening while I was getting her ready for bed, she stood in her little undies and smacked the sides of her thighs. I asked what in the world she was doing. Her response was “Mommy, I am getting fat, I need to stretch and do workouts more.” My heart broke. It sank down into the pit of my stomach. I nearly welled up with tears as I pulled her close to me and told her “No, you are not fat. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are brave. Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the little girl that you are. You have become such a great big sister and you are our favorite girl in the entire world.” She smiled but still seemed displeased with my response.
I wrapped my arms around her and asked her to look at her hands. She did. I said “Now look at mommy’s hands.” She did. I asked her what was different about them. “Well mommy, your hands are big and mine are tiny.” I then asked her about the other differences we have in our family. “Mommy you are short and daddy is big. Daddy is bald and Harrison has baby hair and I have long hair like Rapunzel.” I kissed her on the head and told her she was right. The next statement I said, I was hoping I would never have to have with our daughter. Let alone at the age of 4.
“Honey, you are beautiful, you are not fat. Fat is a bad word, we don’t say that word in our house. Everyone is different. Some people are tall, some are short. Some are big, some are little. Some people have blonde hair, like you, some have red hair, like Harrison. Some people have blue eyes, some have brown. Some people have different colors of skin, and guess what?” She looked at me and smiled, “What mommy?”
I said “It is beautiful. Everyone is different and it is beautiful.” She seemed pleased with that response. She repeated everything I told her back to me and assured me that we wouldn’t say the word “fat” anymore because it was bad. Now if we could all remember that when thinking of ourselves and others. Everyone is beautiful. Everyone is different. That it is perfectly okay, too. Mommies and Daddies. Brothers and Sisters. Grandmas and Grandpas. Aunts and Uncles. Please remember that our littles are sponges, they absorb everything they hear. Some of the words are hurtful and can have a big impact on their little minds.