Skinny like a reindeer leg
If you think about it, the word “fat” is a pretty simple word in the English language. It’s spelled like it sounds. It’s short. And it has an opposite. As a result, it shows up on school spelling tests all the time.
But using the word “fat” is a totally different ballgame. And they don’t teach that in first grade.
“Look, Mom, that lady is fat,” my six-year-old son said recently, standing at the end of my shopping cart at Target. “Tyler, that is so ugly,” I said. “Do not ever call a person fat. That hurts their feelings.”
“But what about when we say ‘Sister has a fat belly?'” he asked.
“Sister’s a dog,” I said. “It’s okay to say a dog or cat is fat or even something, like, uh, a stuffed animal, but not a person. Does that make sense?”
He looked at me. “But what if it’s true? Like, what about if a lady is really, really fat, then can you say it just real quietly?”
I sighed. Apparently, this was to be another one of those “teachable moments” that I’m growing less fond of every day. I pulled the cart over. “Listen to me,” I said. “You ESPECIALLY don’t say it if it’s true. You don’t say anything. It’s rude. And I’m going to give you your first lesson about women, Tyler Gala, so listen good. You do not ever,ever, ever want to call a woman fat, do you hear me? Not now, not twenty years from now. Got it?”
“What about a boy?”
“Well, not a boy either, not anyone, but ESPECIALLY not a woman.”
“By why?” he asked, genuinely bewildered.
Clearly I was not getting through.
“It’s hard to explain, but most women want to be skinny or have been trying to get skinny,” I half laughed. “Just don’t call anyone fat, ever, okay?”
“Okay,” he said evenly.
Finally, shopping done, we were in the checkout lane 45 minutes later.
“Mom? Can I get a treat?” asked Tyler, eyeing the Skittles, M&Ms and gum.
“What do you say?” I prompted.
He thought about it. “You’re as skinny as a reindeer leg.”
Not quite was I was looking for, but I’ll take it.
This entry was posted on February 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm and is filed under BEST of GRIN with tags fat, first grade, kids, social networking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.