Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Nearly two weeks ago, my toddler told me flatly that she's chubby, poking at her tummy with a delightfully dimpled finger as she said it.
We'd just gotten out of the tubby, our hair still dripping, our faces clean and flushed. I was all wrapped in a towel, and she had already shed hers in record time, standing naked atop her step stool at the bathroom sink, looking critically at herself in the bathroom mirror.
I had been expecting a moment like this to happen someday, when she's, ohhh, 8 or 10 years old - NOT when she's merely TWO and successfully potty-trained just last November.
Seeing her looking at herself in the mirror, her lil' head turned to the side, brow furrowed, chin down and frowning, and utterly gorgeous, all smooth and flawless and perfectly healthy, I could not believe my eyes, nor my ears.
She then specified: "My belly is chubby."
I did not tell her yes or no. Instead, I snatched her up in my arms and I kissed her belly all over and blew countless raspberries upon her cheeks, neck, arms, belly and legs, telling her over and over again that I LOVE HER GORGEOUS BELLY and I LOVE EVERYTHING about her darling body, and that she is BRILLIANT, and WONDERFUL, and AMAZING, and AWESOME, and PERFECTLY HEALTHY as she is.
She giggled like mad, squirming and kicking in my arms, and breathlessly, she told me she loved me and that I am her momma. And I held her tightly in my arms and I gently, softly kissed her forehead, and I kissed the darling dimples of her baby hands, and I told her yes, I am your momma and I LOVE YOU as you are.
Dressed in her footed jammies and 6 bedtime stories later, she was in her bed and I had quickly forgotten (thanks in part to being preggers) that my two year old had somehow gotten it in her head that she's chubby and this is somehow a bad thing. I only remembered our exchange today, after reading an article via a friend's Facebook wall post, and then it all came screaming back = My daughter, not yet 3 years old, is already at risk for female body image issues - What the !?!?
I knew well before she was born that we would have to fiercely combat society's stereotypical treatment of little girls; pretty, cute, darling, beautiful little girls. Nonetheless, I did not expect an introduction to body image issues so soon, well before she'd reach grade school.
Jellybean hasn't said anything more to me about the matter since that night, but I'll be bracing myself for more. The aforementioned / linked article, I'm sure I'll be using it for future reference when the time comes again.