"You have a hole in your head," a niece of mine declared bluntly a few years ago. She was pointing to my forehead--the very distinct chicken-pock scar above my left eyebrow that looks like a little crater. I laughed at the honest assessment and said, "Yes, I do have a hole in my head."
The hole in my head was fine, funny really, but lately I haven't been able to shrug-off the comments from blunt little ones--especially the FAT comments. For example, after hearing that I was pregnant, a young boy asked, "Oh so that's why you're so fat?" I responded, "Well, I'm really not that fat." He was confused, "No, you actually look pretty fat to me." He wasn't trying to be rude; he was quite serious and firm in his observation.
On a different occasion a boy whispered (I say whispered when I really mean SHOUTED in a raspy voice, clearly audible) "Guess what, I have to tell you a secret," speaking to my then two-year-old daughter. Ally leaned her head toward the boy eager to hear the news, "Your Mom is really fat!" He put his hand to his mouth and laughed in my direction. It didn't really faze my daughter, but I was mad! His intent was clearly malicious. "That is not a nice thing to say, and you know it," I said in a firm tone, "You owe me an apology." He looked down, shamed, as if to say, "Oh No! You weren’t supposed to HEAR that," then said sorry.
There are several other specific examples of this exact circumstance, but I think you get the picture: Kids think I'm fat and are not afraid to tell me to my face. The second child in my opinion was old enough to know that he was being rude, but most of the time, kids are just kids--honest and blunt. The child is simply stating a fact, a description of his or her visual perception, so why do I let it hurt? Here's what I came up with. First, I'm hormonal--a sad commercial hurts right now. Second, these things are usually said in the presence of my daughter and I am wary of her acquiring some sort of complex amongst her peers about having a Fat Mommy. Third, the paranoid, catty, old lady in me says, "Their skinny moms put them up to this!" Fourth, unlike the children, I have the experiences that have helped me attach other meanings to "You are fat," like “You are”: useless, ugly, lazy, yucky, etc. And finally, it simply hurts to hear no matter where it comes from.
So I'd like to hear your opinion on the matter. Have kids ever said hurtful things to you? Were you able to shrug it off without much thought? Should kids be allowed to say these things just because they are kids, or should they know better? How do you socialize your children to be sensitive while still having good judgment about reality? Thanks for letting me whine, and I'm eager to hear your response.