This morning as I stood sweating in the basement wearing my tiny workout bra and little Bikram bottoms and had just completed my workout, T.Rube asked me if I was trying to lose weight. I replied that, "no, not really anymore"; that "my body weight is where it naturally needs to be." Then I made the massive mistake of asking her, "Why? Do you think I need to lose weight?" In retrospect, I realize that asking a child this is asking for a slap in the face. Which I got when she answered, " Well...yes...you are a bit fat."
"Fat? Really? I'm fat??? What's fat? Where do you see fat?? Fat?? You think I'm fat??"
I mean, I've just now gotten to a point where I no longer weigh myself! I'm happy with the way I look. More than happy sometimes even; I actually like what I see! I don't worry about what I eat anymore. I am burning more calories most days than I can consume! FAT???!!!??
I instantly went into defense mode. Man, this kid does not realize that she has entered territory you don't ever go to with a woman. She pointed cautiously to her tummy, sensing that my back was up and seeing that my fangs were showing. "Well... your tummy is fat."
I started to think about all the answers I could give her; about how it was all her fault; that I had gained 50 lbs while pregnant and that my skin stretched out without the ability to snap back into place; that my abdominal muscles had separated and would never be flat again; that the c-section scars had created a bit of an overhanging flap that I was just starting to accept would never be gone completely. But, I restrained myself. She is just a 4 year old, afterall, and, this, a good learning opportunity.
"I'm not fat, honey. I work hard. I run 5 days a week. I eat good food. I am strong and I am healthy."
I've never talked about 'fat'. I have never referred to anybody as 'fat' or worried in front of my girls about being 'fat'. I realized, more than anything, that she really doesn't even understand what fat means.
So, I went back to the conversation a while later and asked her what fat meant. She said, "It means you're really really big, like a pig. A pig is fat."
I said, "Okay, so compared to a pig then, am I fat?"
She reassured me that, "No, a pig is definitely fatter than you." Okay. Whew.
"You're more like the sheep", she said. "You're about as fat as the sheep." Hmmm. They're pretty damn big.
"What about Julio, the donkey?", I asked. "No, he's fatter than you. His belly is fatter than yours." A point for me. The pigs and the donkey...
"How about the goats?", I asked. "Well...you're about the same as the boy goats, but definitely fatter than the baby goats. And the girl goats are fatter than you." That one kinda all equals itself out, if you were able to follow it.
Interesting that not once did she mention another actual person. S.Rube tried to prompt her by whispering "Gramps" in her ear once or twice, but T.Rube stayed focused on the farm animals and their fat stats.
So, essentially, when it comes down to it, I am fatter than the baby goats. Which I can handle. I mean, they're like 2 weeks old.