You know those moments you have with your kids that take your breath away? Whether it’s because they’ve done something incredibly amazing, they’ve done something seriously moronic or they’ve done something that makes you question if your parenting skills are enough? I hope you do…because I have them every single day and I had a major one the other day.
My life’s goal is about educating and empowering women, families, children to move their body for health. To move their bodies so that they can function throughout their day and have energy to spare when they put their head on their pillow at night. I want our next generation to be the most active generation because we, as parents, have taught them the importance of being physically active.
The other day I was driving with my little gal (she’s 5 now) and one of her friends. When to my utter dismay I heard these words come out of my daughter’s mouth “Oh my gosh, look at my legs when they’re like this, they’re so chubby!!!”. I subsequently did a quick look back to see what she was looking at and she was pointing to her thighs and how they get bigger and wider when they rest on the seat.
My initial reaction was to say “Miss P! We don’t use words like that! Why would you say that? You’re super healthy and strong”. But, something made me stop. I didn’t say a word. Want to know what it was that made me stop the tirade and lecture I was about to launch in to?
The girls were laughing. They weren’t judging. They were laughing. And Miss P, well, she was just making an observation.
So, I took a breath, I realized my definition and her definition of “chubby” must be very different. I took another breath and I asked the following question: “Why do you say that?” to which she responded with “Because Mom, if I hold them up they go normal, then I squish ‘em down and they go chubby!”.
“Okay”, I say, “And how do you feel about that?” to which she responds “Bahahahaha…it’s so funny and cute, I’m so strong, watch me flex…hey…can we get an ice cream?”. Seriously…that was her response.
So, as we got ice cream I started thinking about the entire situation. My initial reaction to her calling herself chubby was utter dismay that 1) she used the word chubby, 2) she used to word chubby to describe herself and 3) she thought her legs were chubby.
WHOA Mama! That was ME putting that on HER. When I gave pause and reflected and asked the question about why she said that and how it makes her feel…well, the word chubby isn’t a terrible thing for her.
It’s an observation. That’s all. And yeah, I see it. You sit down, your legs squish out and they look…well…chubby.
I guess what I’m asking, Mamas, is that maybe we need to take a step back when our kids say something that, to us, is insulting. It’s probably not insulting to them. They’re learning and they’re observing. They’re putting words to what they’re seeing. They may not be words that we would have chose because of our own definitions of the words, but it’s the definition she wants to attach to the word.
Sure, sure, later on we will talk about words that can hurt others, but not now, not when the word “chubby” means “funny and cute” to her. Today, I leave her feeling funny and loving the way her body changes to different circumstances. Today I give her a vanilla ice cream-faced kiss and thank her for the lesson she has taught me.
Squished, funny chubby thighs are her thing. I know she knows she healthy and strong because she tells me almost every day. “Not everyone can do burpees like I do burpees, Mama”.
Oh Mamas…I have so much to learn from my Minis. But slowing down and not putting my definitions of words into their mouths, well, that could be one of my biggest “learns” so far.
I’m raising a strong, healthy, vibrant little girl. And she knows it. And that, my Mamas, is enough for me today.
Wow! This one blew me away. The things we learn about ourselves from kids is amazing.
I’m so glad you stopped yourself from responding to correct her “insult”, so we could all learn this valuable realization.
Thanks Hannah!! It was a HUGE lesson for me…and a tough one. I’ve paused so many more times now that this happened and the conversations are REALLY different. Very cool. And thanks so much for sharing this!
Miss P is so lucky to have such a loving thoughtful mother.Being a parent is so difficult and a huge responsibility. Good advice to take a breath and not over react. You inspire me Lindsay!
My kids often comment on my “big tummy” and it usually turns into a conversation about what we each like about my big tummy (they love that it’s soft and squishy, I love that it’s where they grew). I figure if I don’t react as if it’s an insult, then they won’t see it as one! We celebrate my mummy tummy 🙂