Sunday, 29 April 2012

"Look how fat that lady's tummy is, Mummy."

Yep, yesterday I had 'that' parenting moment. The one where your child says something totally inappropriate in an incredibly loud voice and the world seems to stop.

Let me set the scene for you.

It was a rainy afternoon, in a desperate attempt to entertain Wild Man I had decided we would go on a train ride. All was going well. Princess was happily looking out the window, Wild Man was charming all the old ladies in our carriage and I was finally getting to sit still for two seconds.

Then it happened. We arrived at a station, the doors opened and a lady got on.  What happened next went like this ...

Wild Man: "Mummy, wow, look how big that lady's tummy is."
Me: Pretend not to hear and hope it will all go away.
WM: "Mummy, look. Her tummy is really fat."
Me: "Sweetheart, ssshhhhh!"
WM: "But Mummy, it is really fat and hanging down. Look."

At that point I shot the woman in question an apologetic (read completely mortified) smile and set about explaining to Wild Man that people come in all different shapes, sizes, colours, ages etc and that everyone is fine just the way they are.

The difficulty you see is that I didn't want to tell him off. Wild Man wasn't being critical or naughty, he was intrigued in much the same way as if the woman had had purple hair. He is too young to have any of the body issues that affect the rest of us. He doesn't know about health risks, lack of exercise, years of desperate dieting or painful self consciousness, he just saw a lady with a fat tummy and wanted to show me.

Luckily the woman in question could see his comments for what they were and, far from being angry with him (or me), she engaged him in conversation and they chatted happily for the rest of the train trip.

But I can't imagine Wild Man's comments made her feel very good about herself and for that I am profoundly sorry.

And, even though I'm sure he won't remember this as an adult, I hope this is that start of Wild Man learning that people do come in all different shapes and colours and that everyone is fine just the way they are.

I also hope it is the start of him learning that just because you think it doesn't mean you should say it!

What completely inappropriate things have your children said? And what did you do about it?

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