Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Three Scary Words: "I'm Not Skinny"

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Have you ever heard your child say something alarming? The other day, I witnessed a moment that made me cringe with worry.

My nine-year-old daughter was playing with a friend. They were talking about their different sizes. (My daughter has always been near the 100th percentile for both height and weight, and her friend is on the opposite end of the spectrum.) The word "skinny" came up, and I overheard my daughter say, "I'm not skinny."

What?!?

I should explain that we have maintained a fairly idealistic and idyllic bubble around our lives. We don't watch much TV. Nary a princesses flounces around our house - in fact, my daughter is somewhat of a "Tom Boy." Even her school, a Waldorf school, is a place where judgment is discouraged and imagination and creativity prevail. So how is she even aware of what skinny is, much less who's skinny and who's not?

My daughter may not be "skinny," but she has a lovely form. She is athletic - strong and muscular. (She is an avid gymnast.) Her body is perfectly proportional, and absolutely beautiful.

When she said the words, "I'm not skinny," they weren't laced with shame. She simply made the statement matter-of-factly. So I was holding out hope that her words were more observation than self-depreciation. I asked her later if she didn't think she was skinny, what did she think she was? She replied, "Normal."

Phew.

I added, "And beautiful." She smiled. And so did I.