kids

'My 5-year-old daughter was called 'fat' at preschool. She gave this eight-word response.'

Five years and three weeks. We have done well to go this long before the “F-Word” was hurled at you over lunchtime chats at preschool by your so-called little friends.

Today was the day you informed me over our colouring time tonight, that two of your friends called you fat at kindy today.

And my heart broke.

Then filled with rage.

Then pride.

I thought we had a few more years.

But I have been preparing. I have been preparing you.

I have been preparing you for this since you were 10 days old.

Apparently, it is good if a baby “regains” their birth weight at the 10-day post birth weigh-in. You exceeded it by 900 grams, my little milk monster. Then continued to exceed all weight and height charts since.

At 18 months I got our GP to refer us to a dietitian – just to confirm my understanding of a toddlers dietary needs were accurate.

She advised you “grew like a Christmas Tree”. It sounded so pretty, but I had to get her to clarify.

You grew out (put on weight), then grew up (put on height). My Beautiful Christmas Tree.

Your Mumma does the same over the holidays. Without the height increase…

From the moment I knew I was having a daughter (which was when you came and told me in a dream at four months pregnant), I vowed to be a different mother than mine.

rhiannon royall
"My heart broke. Then filled with rage. Then pride." Image: Supplied.
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My mother was from a different time, and valued scale weight over all else – once she had mastered that.

She weighed herself every morning, and used to make 12-year-old me do the same.

My weight was not used to help me understand health and my developing body.

It was used as a marker to score a winner and loser between my mother and I. My mother who was three inches shorter than me and my developing 12-year-old self in height at that time.

Rules were simple. The one with the lower weight won.

Allowances for height differences were not considered.

Weigh-ins were mandatory.

Every morning.

And what the scales said would dictate her mood for the day – which would dictate the mood for everyone else's day.

Twenty something years of self-enlightenment later – you have been raised in a house where you have heard the word Fuck more than Fat. Bodies are looked at as marvellous creations. Focus has always been on what our bodies accomplish, and health rather that looks.

You would probably describe weight in “centimetres” and use your builders tape measure to get it.

You did go through a stage at around age three-and-a-half. You thought it was funny to call certain bellies fat.

rhiannon royall
"You have been raised in a house where you have heard the word Fuck more than Fat." Image: Supplied.
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You did that one time in front of me with your Ninny. Even when you said it, you had the look of “is this right?” for approval to me.

I told you we don’t call anyone fat.

Then asked you if you knew what Ninny’s amazing belly has done?

You didn’t.

I told you it grew your Beautiful Aunty and Naughty Uncle from tiny little eggs inside it.

You have thought it magical since (which it is), and focused on its accomplishments, not its size (which is perfect).

You have never seen or heard me say a negative thing about my body in front of the mirror or beyond. Or to a friend. Or about another's.

Or yours.

And never will.

It makes me wonder about the parent of the kids that use “fat” as an insult to you though.

It makes me wonder if they have a horrible little daily morning weigh-in against their mothers in their future.

It also makes me happy that I have forgotten you were in the back seat of the car a few times while driving, and that you think my favourite driver insult of “wank-stick” is the worst thing you can possibly call someone.

You have known all the words to Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back since you were three.

It broke my heart when you told me tonight you had been called fat by two of your friends at daycare today.

My heart also exploded when I asked what you said to them.

“I don’t like that. Don’t say it again”.

For you, being called fat was not the end-of-the-world insult it was to a young me.

You shared it with me. Practised the mantra “I am not fat, I am strong”, when I suggested what you should say next time.

You focus so much more time on what bodies can do, than what they look like. My heart bursts with pride for that.

My wish is that you carry this with you for the next 20 years.

And that I don’t punch those little kids in the face on Monday…

This post first appeared on Rhiannon Royall's blog, Motherhood Sux and Other Secrets, and has republished here with permission. 

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