Tuesday, September 29, 2009
“Look at all those fat children!” the mom next to me said, just a little too loudly in a clipped English accent, as I watched my six year Beast belt out It is a Small World After All at one of those conveniently timed middle-of-the-day school concerts.
Turning to my opinionated, and foreign, friend I said: “um...just an idea...those fat kids probably have moms in the audience...perhaps even next to us...and numerous studies have shown that fat kids come from fat parents...so....chances are—they will be bigger than us and angry at us”
But the woman was right...I would say a quarter of the kids were FAT. Not chubby or pleasingly plump, but really uncomfortably pudgy.
I might have mentioned before—I live in an artsy-fartsy town and god forbid a child is criticized for ANYTHING. However, I feel it is important to let children know if they are acting inappropriately. My parents are/were from Boston and in Massachusetts it is common to hear a parent yell out to a child, in public-- “Don’t be stupid!” or after a kid has done something stupid...like breaking her arm to say: “Oh! That was clever! That was using your brain.” Which...I still feel is just fine. But heaven help you if you even have a stern voice when the kid is almost run over by a car in this town....The Child Welfare Office will be notified and the SWAT team for Child Self Esteem will charge in.
It is true that my daughter pretends not to be with me in museums because...honestly if the parents are not going to control their kids in public someone has to...so I turn into what my brother refers to as—Nazi Mom.
At one of the Beast’s birthday party I was almost stoned by a group of sensitive mothers when I was in my Nazi Mom mode and said to child guest: “Emily! Don’t be piggy! “ and slapped away the chubby little hand as it reached across the smaller pieces of pizza to grab its third large slice. Three mom heads bobbed up from various locations at the table full of kids with horror in there eyes. In an attempt to cover my faux pas I said: “remember—we still have cake.” But REALLY—the child understood—She WAS being piggy. Kids need to know there are boundaries and parents are here to let them know NOT TO BE PIGGY.