Thursday, August 14, 2008

No, He's Not With Me...

So last night we tripped over a parenting issue I don't know how to deal with. That's not exactly true, I just don't know ho to deal with it well. We were at dinner last night at our favorite Mexican place (Mmmmmmm, Papa's) and when Henry saw a large man walking our way he stated (rather loudly) "Lookit that big fat guy!". Ohhhhhhhh, poop. What followed:

Kyle: You can't say things like that! Was that nice?
Henry: Why was it not nice?
Kyle: Some people are big and some people are little. Everyone is different and being different is okay.
Henry: If it's okay, why is it not nice to say it?
Me: Ohhhhhhhh, poop.

So to him, "fat" isn't a judgement, it just is what it is. I can't figure out how to say "Being different is okay" and "Don't call attention to peoples' differences" at the same time and not confuse the holy heck out of the kid. If it's okay to be different, why is it not okay to talk about it? I know that it is just NOT okay to yell "Lookit that big fat guy", but I don't know how to explain it without saying "sometimes people are different and they are self conscious about that so we don't say anything, but really differences are great and we shouldn't be ashamed of them, but we should keep our big mouths shut in case someone else is embarrassed/gets their feelings hurt by you pointing it out, even though differences are what make people interesting".


The whip cream on the embarrassment sundae was when our car alarm went off for no apparent reason at around midnight last night, causing Kyle to leap out of bed and run outside to turn it off in his underwear. Oops.

In wonderful and non-embarrassing news, I finished Sarah's pastoral longies last night. I am just a little bit in love with them. She sent me an email saying that she really liked the sheep longies, the toadstool longies and the combination of light blue and brown, so we decided to do a mash up and see what popped out the other end.

6 comments: said...

My favorite ones of all!

My 2 year old son's room is blue and green with an all sheep theme....he actually has 50 stuffed sheep from all over the world, some are even life size!

These longies have now convinced me to add my name to the custom list too!

Well done.

Anonymous said...

Oi that is a tough issue! I think the distinction is that it's okay to be different... and since it is okay and everyone is, in fact, different, then there is no reason to point at someone and say 'hey look!' (unless of course that person is doing something crazy)

I guess I think the thing I'd stress is that we shouldn't be pointing people out in the crowd just because of how different they look... everyone looks different...

also, there are nice ways to describe characteristics and there are not nice ways... fat versus big... KWIM?

why is parenting so hard? LOL! Mine can't even talk yet so I just dread the inevitable emparassing public moments.

Gorgeous longies... as always!

The Queen said...

I would just tell him that everyone can see when other people are fat so it's not something that we need to shout out loud for all the world to hear. :) Love those crankies!!!

catie said...

OK, here's my 2 cents. I'm sure the guy knows that he's heavy--We're all profoundly aware of our faults. When my daughter said that (don't remember now where--I think it was at a local park) I said simply-"yup, people come in all sizes, and the important thing is we're all out getting exercise-and that's healthy." By making it a non-issue, it released the guy from any bad feelings, and slowly, the lesson sinks in that people don't want to be told their faults(even when it's something they already know.)

Talia said...

I agree with the whole "people come in all shapes and sizes" comment.

You also might want to add, that although it is OK to be different, not everyone feels ok, and it might hurt someone's feelings to be pointed out that they are "different". The best way we can show that we are "ok with any differences" is that we're friends and we dont judge :)

Stacey said...

Been there. It is sort of a rite of passage for parents of pre-schoolers/young kids. LOL
Mine happened in the grocery the checkout line....yep, no escape there.
I said the whole "people are all different shapes and sizes, and that's good. How boring if we all looked the same." I also added that "fat" is just not a nice word for people.
Social graces come later and they learn not to point out physical least not loudly.