I don't have to tell you that kids are impressionable and that you have to be careful with what you say around them. Because they will pick it up and make it their own. I’m not talking about the curse word they are going to hear at some point in their life. Hell, I grew up with a dad who bandied curse words around like they were a prayer. My house sounded like this: #%*^!!@#$%!!!!! Amen. And I am still pretty clean-mouthed. But what you have to be mindful of in the presence of children are what you project about your own body and self-image.
Goose, Mav, and I have this retort when one of us asks, “How do I look?”
“You don’t look ugly.”
This year – more than any other year in my life - I have been panicking. I know that I am 5 pounds – 10 pounds? – heavier than I have ever been. Chalk it up to the Summer That Could, boredom, or metabolism, or just plum eating like a pig. Because I did that. I used to be really good about saving Pig Outs for only one day of the week – usually Saturday or Sunday. But over the summer it was a vicous never-ending cycle. Must. Put. Food. In. Mouth. Or will die, probably. Because I acted like food was going out of style.
Over the summer, my mom and my 6 (now 7!) year old niece came up for a visit over “summer break.” (Wait unil she gets older and going to Aunt Ya Ya’s place is not so cool anymore and she begs to go to Aruba.) Anyway, she likes to come visit me – and she loves her Grammy. So we spent a week together and I guess I made a few comments probably while getting dressed. “I’m fat. My clothes are tight." "No more food for me today, I’m fat.” "Can't eat that. I'm fat." And so on and so on. Which is just absurd because I don't want to be one of *those girls* who lament every bite as a calorie that sticks. I hate those girls. And I am only fat by Hollywood standards which, come on! Let's be real here. I don't look ugly!
And so, what does Stella do when she gets home? She starts repeating some of my laments. Six-year old skin-and-bones saying *that* has too many calories, "I don't want to get fat", yada yada.
She got that from me!
But she heard postitive reinforcement too. During her visit, we ate at a Mexican restaurant and our waiter talked with a sexy accent, “How can I, uh……..hellllp yuh?” Everything rolled off his tongue. We will call him Don Juancito. And Stella, who is already taking after me (and her mom) with the picky-ordering-off-the-menu kind of thing, wanted her chicken prepared a certain way and Don Juancito says, “For the-uh pretty ladeee, uh……..anything, uh…..muh dear.” To which I respond, "Work it, Stella." That is what she should remember every day. So I remind her.
"Stella, what did Don Juancito say to you?"
"He called me 'pretty lady'."
"Yes, my sweet little niece, you are not ugly. Now own it!"