Friday, January 14, 2011

Jiggles and The Truffle Shuffle, All to Prove a Mom Point

My daughter came to me last night, after dinner, and said, 'Mom, I'm fat. Just look at my belly.' She proceeds to lift up her shirt slightly, where all I see is a belly button surrounded by skin and muscle. She's almost 9, and it has already begun.

I'm not going to sit here and blame society for my daughter's developing self-consciousness, though with the way she has been raised for the last almost 9 years, I do feel it's a huge part of what's going on in her head. My daughter is not fat. She's not even remotely fat. The child almost has a six-pack because she's a little tomboy that gets outside, plays catch, plays tennis, loves sports. But for some reason, her post-meal belly was a cause of concern for her.

So, I pulled on my Mom big girl panties, and decided to take one for the team. I stood up, pulled up my shirt, and showed my daughter what fat looks like. 'See, honey. Fat jiggles' and I proceeded to shake my belly and my love handles. She fell onto the floor in laughter. Sheesh, sweetheart, don't kick Mommy while she's down, please, especially not when she's sacrificing some dignity to prove a point to you.

After the first fit of laughter subsided, I sat back on the couch and had my daughter come over to me, expose her belly, where I showed her that her stomach doesn't jiggle, therefore it wasn't fat. She started giggling again, because she's ticklish, then looked at me and said, 'Mom, show me the jiggle again. It's funny.' Uh, the things we do for our children. I played my part, gave into her request, and she proceeded to fall on the floor laughing again. 'Now honey, see what fat looks like?' Trying to turn this into a learning experience was going to work, damn it. I proceeded to pinch a few inches of the pooch below my belly button, mostly excess skin from my pregnancy with my son, but has it's fair share of fat, and show her that, too, to which she replied, 'Eww, gross.' Score 2 for Mom? Hell, I didn't even know.

I sat back down, my daughter's laughter finally ended (it seemed like eternity), and she decided to pinch her own belly, her face lit up as she said, 'Mom, I can barely pinch anything there. So that means I'm not fat, right? I mean, you could pinch a bunch.' Thanks honey, love you, too.

With all of this, my daughter seemed pretty convinced she isn't fat now, but her focus turned onto the future (have I mentioned before that she worries a lot for an almost 9 year old?). That's when I decided to go into an in depth lesson on genetics and how they play a role in obesity, to which I saw her start to gaze off into Never Never Land (reciting things they can't quite comprehend is a little Mommy Trick I learned; they hardly argue with stuff they don't understand at all, and just accept what you say). I snapped her back into reality with Mommy Trick #2: Asking her questions she needs to tread lightly in answering (she thinks there's a trick somewhere, if you do this, and pays extra attention). 'Is your daddy fat?' 'Nope.' 'Am I fat?' 'Nope.' 'Then, genetically speaking, you don't carry the things that would make you fat, either, because neither Mommy nor Daddy are fat.' She breathed a sigh of relief that she had answered the fat questions correctly, but it didn't end there. She continued to stare at me blankly, so I pulled Mommy Trick #3 out of my holster: Making her think that I think she's questioning my parenting ability- it causes a little bit of guilt, not enough to do damage, and has her paying attention even more. 'Do we let you sit around all day eating ice cream, potato chips and drinking soda?' 'Nope.' 'Do we encourage you to get outside and play, to exercise?' 'Yes.' 'Do you know that not being active and eating junk food leads to people being fat?' 'Yes, I learned that in school.' 'Good, so do you think that Mommy and Daddy have taught you to eat good foods, and with the wholesome meals we cook for you, and how we play outside with you, that we haven't done a good job enough to where you'll get fat in the future?' 'No, Mom. You and Daddy don't let me eat junk food at all barely, and I'm always playing outside.' 'So, then, are you questioning the way your Daddy and I raised you by asking if you are going to get fat?' 'No, Mom, I'm not fat and I won't get fat because you and Daddy raised me right.' Another point for Mom.

Like I said in the beginning, do I blame society for my daughter's warped sense of self-image at the tender age of almost 9? Not entirely, no. I have done my fair share of talking about wanting to get rid of my muffin tops around my daughter, or how my post-pregnancy pooch bothers me. I'm perfectly within my ideal weight range, don't really need to lose weight, but would love to tone up a little. Should I talk about stuff like that in front of her anymore? No. Lesson learned for me. But, do even 'safe', kid friendly shows and channels like Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel put a lot of emphasis on body image? Of course, without a doubt in my mind. Is any member of the cast of 'iCarly' fat? Even Gibby, who started out a little chubby when the show first began, has thinned out. Same with 'Wizards of Waverly Place'. Harper used to have some curves, now is wasting away with each episode. And, if you noticed, both of these characters are in supporting roles. The main characters on most kids' shows nowadays have perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect bodies with perfect clothes. So, should a little bit of blame be placed on Hollywood? I believe so, yes.

Where does this leave us Moms when it comes to raising our kids to have a healthy self image? Monitoring TV and movies, for sure, but instilling correct eating patterns and encouraging exercise with our babies. Watching what we say about our own body image around our kids helps, too.

And apparently doing the Truffle Shuffle (everyone remembers 'The Goonies' right?) at the expense of your pride and dignity long enough to convince your daughter she's not fat. If that's what it takes, this Mommy will jiggle her stuff all day long.


  1. Now this was grand! I too have shown off my tag alongs I like to call them. You know those peanut butter Girl Scout Cookies. Yup no muffin just tag alongs! I agree about the characters on those shows and how I'm sure they got pressured into slimming down. I didn't find anything wrong with Harper except when she spoke but otherwise she shouldn't compare herself to Selena Gomez. My daughter is 6 and I swear I have even seen some body imaging at her age!


  2. Freakin' hilarious! Got love Sky...

  3. Ha! I love that you did that.

    My daughter is only two and . . . I'm not looking forward to this talk, which I know is going to happen before I'm ready for it. I think you handled it awesomely, though!

    Karinya @ Unlikely Origins

  4. I loved this post I agree with Unlikely origins there, you handled it very well.

    Try setting her up with those self es-teem seminars i think the Dove company has some great resources :)