Kids say the darndest things?
Thursday, February 07, 2013
With all my exercise and food updates, I forgot about something else that happened over the weekend.
We went to my in-laws' on Saturday to meet my soon to be new step sister in law (haha, my husband's family is huge, chaotic, and complicated, and I love them). For the record, she is awesome. But also a bunch of family was around.
My 9 year old niece (she got all "I'M ALMOST TEN" with me, but kid, your birthday is in September. You're not even 9 & 1/2 for another 2 months. Chill.) wanted to sit with me and regale me with endless stories about her Favorite Show.
Yeah. Her new favorite show? Is "Here comes Honey Boo Boo." So awkward moments, several, ensue.
N: Have you seen that show?
me: Not a whole episode, but I've heard of it. That's the one with the family where the mom and daughter do pageants, right?
N: Yeah, it's so funny. I love it. One of the things about it, the mom is like... really.... *holds arms out* Like, not even your size, I mean **REALLY** BIG*.
I mean, okay. Clearly I'm the idiot here, I have realized this. She's 9, and not blind. I'm the biggest woman she knows. Seriously - if you consider both immediate and extended family (mom, grandmas, aunts, cousins, second cousins...) I am the fattest woman in her family. Fair enough. It's not a judgement, it's just a fact. She may have friends or neighbors who are my size or bigger, but I wouldn't know. This is actually a fair comparison, and not intended to be hurtful.
(Except, you know. Ouch. A little. Basically that translates as "not like YOU fat, like SUPER fat." So yeah. Not my favorite comment of all time... hahaha.)
But it was also kind of interesting. There was no judgement of *me* in her tone of voice at all, she was just providing a convenient example. But there lies the part where wisdom maybe grown-ups should have more of (people are whatever size) totally departs from wisdom that she does not yet have: The part about whether it's okay to laugh at how fat Mamma June is, because the show makes a point of it, and her own kids make fun of her, and she's on TV.
I didn't really know how to navigate this conversation, other than to be honest, but gentle.
N: This one time, everybody was trying to lose weight, so they all weighed and do you want to know how much mamma weighed?
N: 307 pounds!!!
(because I'm too busy thinking... ya know, I was 300 this past summer.... so....? Do I tell you this and blow your mind?)
N: well anyway, it's so funny.
She made me watch clips on You Tube on her phone, and there's one where they go to a water park and Mamma gets stuck in the inner tube and the older girls have to help her get it off.
N was like "funny, right?" so I just said "I don't know... a lot of my friends are fat, too, and the show just makes me think of how they would feel if they were on TV and everybody was laughing at them... I think they might feel bad."
She backpedaled, a little, but did point out to me "well, even her daughters make fun of her." Like that makes it okay, but maybe it got her thinking. Who knows.
She also talked about the pageants. Again, it's interesting, she'll leave out the word "fat" like it's a bad word, but she's essentially trying to tell me a story about how it's funny because someone is fat. It doesn't matter if you say the word or not, if the sentiment is the same.
N: It was funny, because all the other girls were so skinny, and then Alanna...
me: She has such great stage presence. I think she's cute. Anyway, I got picked on when I was a kid. It's not easy being the one who is different.
N: But really, it was like *lines up two skinny water bottles on the table, and then puts a shorter fatter juice bottle next to them*
I just... have no response to that.
This is not really a new trend or anything, though. A few years ago she was telling me about some Nickelodeon show she loves, and the super funny episode where one of the characters makes up a song about one of the other boys. The song is basically about how he's ugly and can't get a girlfriend. I just responded with "that sounds kind of mean. I usually don't think things that are mean are very funny." because... what else do you say?
I'm trying to think back to the stuff I watched as a kid and whether "mean to people who are different" was a primary theme of the humor.... Saved by the Bell was so tame compared to everything that's on now, but Lisa *was* pretty mean to Screech I guess. They all made fun of him, and Zack took advantage of him, so I guess it's similar. It's a "nerdy" kid instead of a fat kid, but that doesn't make it okay either.
It might just be a kid thing. They're still figuring out the social interaction thing, and sometimes compassion goes by the wayside.
I know she's not one of the Mean Girls who picked on me when I was her age. But then again, maybe she is, just to some other girl. All I can do is be honest. No, I don't really think it's funny. Look, there are things we can notice about people other than that they are fat. How would you feel for people to talk about you that way?
Most of the time, she's very sensitive and very sweet. I don't see her around her peers, just family and her brother, so I don't know if that carries over. I can hope so. But look at what watching this show is teaching her. I worry. A little.
It has occurred to me before that if I keep going how I'm going, I'll get the weight off and keep it off in the next 18-24 months. Maybe my other niece, who is 3, won't even barely remember me as fat. Maybe one day she'll be looking at pictures from her babyhood and be totally surprised. That would be nice.
I try to be a good example. I don't complain about my weight, my body, or what I ate in front of them (negative body image). All the other family is constantly mooning about how "pretty" they are - them, their hair, dress, whatever (both the 9yo & the 3yo) so I try to compliment them on their other attributes. Grades, hard work, knowledge, bravery, kindness, singing, whatever. I'm trying to say to both of them as often as I can, without saying it, "You don't have to just be pretty. There's more to you. Be proud of other stuff."
Maybe.... hopefully.... my own children will never know me as fat. They'll just see pictures of me from my young adulthood.
That's what I'm working towards, anyway...
So yeah. That happened on Saturday.
In other news, I think I might be overdoing it a little. Yesterday we finally got back to the "regular" (non-pool) gym. My work and PT schedules have been totally messing with that. So I did a good half hour of strength training, yay! Then because I was on a late shift and didn't have to be in until after 10, I ALSO went swimming. Then when I went into work, it was a travel day for me so I had to load and unload three large heavy cases of equipment, and haul them up and down 3 flights of stairs. By myself.
Got home well after 7pm, no grocery shopping or cooking got done. I didn't want to eat dinner at 10pm or after, so I said screw it, we're going out.
I'm exhausted and most of me is sore/tired. I think I need to chill.
So the plan is no swimming tonight. No swimming Saturday morning. I'll sleep in and get some rest before vacation. I MIGHT swim tomorrow night, or not, depending how I feel. But I'm just going to take it easy and ease off. I've been cramming in too much and I'm really feeling it. I still have bursts of energy for work stuff, but I'm tired and cranky most evenings so I'm taking a break.
The scale is up down up down up down, but it's PMS or week prior to (I forget) which is usually my heaviest time of the month, and my sodium and water intakes have been all over the place, so I'm not giving it much consideration. It is what it is.
**PS: thinking about all this kids being mean or not stuff and getting picked on as fat from the age of 8 through high school got me thinking, and as I was pondering what I would write about this. It occurred to me that, for any amount we did fight (which was not THAT much, compared to some of my friends & their siblings!) my older brother? Never ONCE went there for even a second. Not once. Ever. Our whole lives. He never called me fat, or made fun of how I looked. No four eyes, no metal mouth (maybe because he got glasses & braces before I did!) no butter ball, none of it. This probably makes him the most amazing kid who has ever lived. I already knew he was awesome, but when I go home in 2 weeks? He gets extra hugs. (((BRUDDER)))