How 1 letter changed my daughter’s mindset when she was called FAT
My beautiful 6 year old came to me one evening a few weeks ago, sat on the couch and with big tears welling up in her blue eyes said to me, “Mom, today a boy in my class called me F…..A…..T,” she spelled the word fat out, not even wanting to hear it. Her lip quivering, her nose beginning to get puffy and pink, she was on the verge of a very big cry.
“Go get me your sneakers,” I said. She widened her eyes, scrunched her nose and tilted her head. “Go,” I insisted.
She wiped her nose on the back of her hand and went to get the sneakers that I had bought for her when school started 7 months before.
“You see these?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she said.
“These are not the shoes of kid who is “F…A…T…,” I held up her very worn, torn, filthy pink and orange sneaker for her to study. “These shoes have not had a moment of rest since they were first on your feet. These are the shoes of a kid who runs with her friends at recess, who jumps high and far off the swings. These are the shoes that you twirl in, skip in, run in, somersault in and play hopscotch in,” I told her.
She looked to me, with a shy crooked smile. Quiet. Not sure.
“Please God, I need her to believe me,” I thought to myself.
“If you were FAT,” I continued, “these shoes would look brand new. But instead they are the happy, smelly, worn shoes of a girl who has so many friends at recess she doesn’t have a moment to catch her breath. The next time that kid calls you F…A…T you tell him he is wrong. Tell you are F….A….S….T. And then run off with your friends and leave him in your dust.”
I sat there. My turn to be quiet. I was hot and my heart was pounding. I needed her to believe me. I needed to not let some jerky 1st grade boy rattle my beautiful girl with his playground teasing. Truth is she’s a taller kid, a bigger kid and she is incredibly strong. The pediatrician has told us to watch her weight, and we do. She eats really well, makes great choices. and she is very active, the scale may state she’s heavy, but she’s not “FAT”.
We sat on the couch eyes locked.
And then she gave me a huge smile and pounced on me with giant hug and said, “FAST. I am SO FAST that the boys can’t even catch me on the playground! F…A…SSSSSSSSS…T!!!”
She literally went skipping off to her room to play.
I sat there alone on the couch, holding her sneaker in my hand, smiling.