Column - Kids' honesty is brutalThere’s always one kid in the crowd. That precocious little one who’s not afraid to announce – loudly – that your hair looks funny, or that you have a mustache, or hairy legs, or that your arms wobble when you wave.
By: Jo Colvin, Alexandria Echo Press
There’s always one kid in the crowd. That precocious little one who’s not afraid to announce – loudly – that your hair looks funny, or that you have a mustache, or hairy legs, or that your arms wobble when you wave.
You gotta love those brutally honest kids. Or not. Just when you think you’re looking pretty good, one of those kids is more than willing to point out that you’re not. Of course to them, they are just pointing out the obvious, stating the facts, being honest – brutally. Unfortunately, it usually involves adjectives like jiggly or chubby or wobbly or funny or fat or wrinkly – never anything like svelte or taut or slender or smooth or flawless or muscular.
I knew it was coming a couple weeks ago when I went to a friend’s lake home. I tentatively took off my shorts and shirt, preparing to hop in the water, bracing myself for an “observation” from her “refreshingly honest” 9-year-old son as I exposed the two-piece bathing suit.
It got off to a promising start.
“Wow! I like your suit!” he said. “My mom should get a suit like that.”
Cool! I passed. Then it got better – he said the words that are music to a girl’s ears.
“You’re skinny,” he said.
Whew! I was free and clear. Or so I thought. But then he grinned, took his grubby little finger and poked it into my stomach.
“You have a jiggly stomach,” he giggled, as he enlisted the mocking aid of his cousin, the same age. “Doesn’t she have a jiggly stomach?”
His cousin whipped out his own finger fat caliper and joined in the finger poking and laughter.
“She does have a jiggly stomach!” he agreed.
My friend scolded him, telling him, 1. It’s rude to point out someone’s jiggliness, and 2. If he had had two babies he’d have a jiggly stomach, too.
But they still thought it was funny. So did I, because it brought to mind two of the funniest unintentional insults ever hurled at me – by my own daughter – both in reference to my…ummm…chest.
She was 5 and sitting in the front seat of the car playing with a Barbie doll, which she had undressed. Once again, the insult started off disguised as a compliment.
“Hey, Mom. Barbie has big boobs just like you do,” she observed. (This alone made me laugh because “big” is, of course, in comparison to herself.)
But then came the kicker.
“Only hers aren’t floppy.”
Out of the mouths of really honest babes. Completely innocent, accurate observations. I laughed so hard I cried and to this day I tell her this story whenever we talk about the cute things she said when she was little.
Then I have to remind her of the Academy Award incident.
She was 4 then, sitting in the recliner in her pink footie pajamas, watching as the scantily-clad women gave their thank-you speeches. Her gaze kept shifting from the TV screen to me, and I could just see the wheels in her cute little head spinning.
“What’s the matter?” I kept asking, to which she insisted that it was “nothing.”
Finally, Susan Sarandon appeared onstage, her décolletage nearly spilling out of her aluminum foil dress. My daughter looked at her, looked at me and finally voiced her confusion.
“Mom, why are your boobs so far apart?” she asked, stymied.
After I choked back the laughter, she got her first lesson in the many purposes and joys of duct tape – wrap some around your chest, and voila! Instant cleavage. She was mystified.
“Why would they do that?” she wondered, to which I responded that many women think it is attractive
Sometimes in life, the only answer you can honestly give is, “I don’t know.”
Of course now my daughter is older and more tactful. She knows not to scream out, “Grandma, your face looks like bacon” in a room full of people, or “Mom, that lady’s fat!” in a packed restaurant.
Now, instead of an honest “observation,” I just get the eye roll and the subtle, “You’re going to wear that!?”
Of course I am.
I have to wear something to hide my jiggly stomach.