While getting ready for church this morning, I went into the kitchen to ask hubby’s opinion on an outfit I have never worn before. I wasn’t wearing the Spanx I planned to wear because, well, I was just trying stuff on. Then, Big Sister, very sweetly pokes me in the belly and says, “Your belly looks kinda fat, Momma.” I sort of smiled at her and didn’t really say anything except, “We don’t really say things like that to people” because I’ve tried really hard to not make a big deal about body weight/shape/size to her. I tried to blow it off, but then she poked me again and said, as innocently and adorably as anyone could ever say, “Momma, do you have a baby in there or something? Because your belly looks like a bubble.”
Now, she is 5 years old and and big kindergartener now which makes her blissfully ignorant of how words like that can dissolve grown women to tears. So I tried desperately not to even look hurt, but I failed. I teared up. Hubby looked at me and said, “Don’t get your feelings hurt by a 5-year-old…she doesn’t even know what she said.” I said, “I know” and smiled and looked away from her. They were leaving early to run an errand, so they were about to walk out the door. As I was walking down the hall, I heard hubby say, “I think you need to apologize to your momma; you hurt her feelings.” I really would have rather she just drop it, but here she came a few seconds later, slowly walking down the hall with tears in her eyes to say she was sorry. I gave her a big hug and told her that she shouldn’t feel bad! She didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, and everything was fine. She has always been very sensitive when others are upset.
The problem is…she’s not wrong. Now, I don’t think I look pregnant for crying out loud, but 5-year-olds are well-known for their honest, if politically incorrect, appraisals of other people’s appearances. As I said, I’ve really tried hard to shelter her from my body image issues as much as possible. I don’t use the word fat in front of her to describe myself or others, and I’ve learned to rein in my self-deprecating facial expressions while getting dressed or trying on clothes in a dressing room. I knew it was only a matter of time, but this was a bit of a punch in my fat belly.
About a year ago, when I could still sort of blame my fluffiness on my second child, a student (an idiot male student who really REALLY should have known better) asked me if I was having another baby. To be fair, I was wearing an empire-waisted top that I had worn while pregnant, and he was in my class while I was pregnant…but still! You don’t ask those kinds of questions, and the women who were in the room when he asked were like, “Dumb ass!” You would think that would have been enough to get me on the road to pre-pregnancy fitness. But here I am, more than a year later, and I can still wear that outfit.
I’ve been talking about losing weight on this blog for, oh, I don’t know how long and I really don’t care to check. I start and stop. I lose and regain. I’m not making another sweeping declaration because those don’t work for me; however, I am going to get back into the routine that was slowly working to whittle away my “bubble belly” so that maybe in a few months it won’t be so pregnant looking.
Thank you, sweet, innocent, blunt child for pointing out my biggest source of embarrassment and shame. (She also likes to point out when I, a 31-year-old woman, have blemishes…charming.) She was the main reason I got to my goal weight after she was born, so maybe I can do it again.