Her little blond head bopped up and down as I watched from the picnic table at the park. She had found a friend to play with and was running in circles.
I chatted with a friend and kept my eye on her.
It was the first warm day, the sun was shining and it was a perfect excuse to get out and play on the huge pirate ship structure complete with slides, tires, ladders, and swings.
After some time she came running up to me wearing a frown.
“Mommy, that boy called me fat.”
My four-year old?
A child who had come to the park to play, meet friends, and have fun?
My first reaction was to find the parents and tell them what their child had said but then I thought better. I’d been down this road before and had my head almost ripped off. Instead I spoke to my daughter. I told her to ignore the boy, walk away, and find other children to play with. I let her know that what he said was not nice and she did the right thing by coming to me to tell me. I also told her to come to me if it happened again.
My blood boiled.
But I didn’t want to project my own insecurities onto her.
To her the word “fat” is just a word.
To me it means so much more.
But she hasn’t got that baggage or those memories to relate to and I don’t want her to experience those things.
I know she’ll have her own experiences but if I can give her the tools to use to learn to deal with the types of children she’s going to encounter then I’m doing my job.
And hopefully she becomes the kind of kid who’s standing up for those children at the park.
Not the one putting them down.