Thursday, March 09, 2006


a few days ago, a woman comes into my department with her 6 year old daughter, holding a big pink puffy dress. they want matching shoes. i mention "easter", because we've been selling so many easter dresses/shoes this month. the mom informed me that her daughter, "did pageants".

we slipped the little dress shoe onto the girls foot, and i say, "the length is good, but her foot is pretty narrow, so you may have to poke an extra hole in this strap to keep it on her little foot."

the mom, who i should mention was quite a large woman, smiles almost proudly and says, "yes, we have to do that a lot, she's just skinny."

the little girl looks very proudly at me and says, "YEAH, I"M SKINNY."

the little girl models the shoes in the mirror, strutting around the store, doing her "pageant walk", etc. she is quite enamored with herself.

the mom says, "you just love yourself, don't you?"

the daughter replies, "yes, i love myself, because i'm skinny."

the mom just smiles and nods and says, "yes you are."

UM, HELLO. does this disturb anybody else? what kind of issues are you handing to your child? why is it okay to "love yourself, BECAUSE you are skinny?" is it not okay to love yourself, or be in pageants, or spend money on fancy silver shoes if you aren't skinny?

i thought about annabelle, and her "skinny" little body and her "skinny" little feet and realized that she doesn't even know that word. right now, she has no problem streaking through the house totally naked, shaking her little dimply butt at me on her way to the bathtub. she has no feeling one way or the other if she outgrows a pair of pants, or a pair of shoes. upon outgrowing a little skirt, she said to me, "i'm just getting bigger. i'm growin up."

and i am so sad to think that in a year or two, this could become more of an issue to her. how do i prevent this? how do i make this a "non-issue" in our house, and still deal with the fact that dustin is incredibly skinny and i am....incredibly not-skinny?

last month, annabelle patted poppy on his stomach and said, "poppy, why is your belly so big?"
he immediately got a little defensive and said, "i don't know bella."
she said, "your belly is big like amy's belly, but amy's belly has a baby in it."
he said, "do you think i have a baby in my belly?"
she said, "no. only girls have babies."
he asked, "then why do you think my belly is big?"
she looked at him for a minute, and with the most genuine, simplistic smile on her face, she shrugged and said, "you're just a big man, poppy."
he smiled so big and said, "you're absolutely right bella, i'm just a big man."

i don't know why i've been thinking about this all night. i was talking to a friend about our daughters starting school next year, and worrying about all that i haven't taught her. and worrying about all that other kids will teach her. i know i can't shelter her from other people and their distorted views on beauty and value, but i just want to know that she is fully equipped to know herself, and not buy into that crap. anyways...that's what's been on my mind tonight.


At 3/10/2006 6:49 AM, Blogger Phyllis RenĂ©e said...

I think the woman in the store should be charged with child abuse of some kind. Very disturbing.

As for Annabelle, I think she will get the right example/encouragement at home so you won't have to worry too much what she hears from the out side.

At 3/10/2006 8:55 AM, Blogger Kara said...

How sad! Especially to be that young and already having self esteem issues. And to be proud of it!!!! WOW!
Sweet Annabelle has a great example to look up to and it looks to me like she has confidence, so I'm sure she'll be great!:)

At 3/10/2006 10:38 AM, Anonymous kris said...

I worry about the same things with Chloe. She's only 3 so I've got a couple more years to shelter her from the world. :) But I can totally relate to what you're saying. The world is full of people who are totally into body image and try to make others believe that your worth is based on that. NOT!!!! And girls can be so mean to each other. I worry about that. All we can do is pray that God protects them from girls like that and keep teaching them that they are beautiful in more ways than just their appearance. :)

At 3/10/2006 11:53 AM, Blogger joy madison said...

I too worry about this! Of can't you. I'm praying that through Jesus love we can teach them that they are okay. I really don't have a better solution. Just teach them how much Jesus loves them, and they'll be as set as they can be. I'm homeschooling partly for these reasons!

At 3/10/2006 12:27 PM, Anonymous Suzy_q said...

That is so crazy! Were you just standing there with your mouth wide open, thinking of all these things you wanted to say to the woman?

I love the story about Bella and Poppy. I read it to Jeremiah and he thought it was cute too!!! Bella is so precious! I love all their stories!

At 3/10/2006 1:03 PM, Blogger Valerie Dykstra said...

I like what Bella said to Poppy. That is very sweet.

At 3/10/2006 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to try and talk to my kids, and teach them that everyone is different, different shapes, sizes, colors, etc. and that everyone is beautiful. I don't want my children to tease others, I was teased as a child and it can do some real damage. I hope that it will sink in. I think open communication is the best way to deal with that type of thing.

That poor little skinny girl, she will have so many problems.

At 3/11/2006 1:26 PM, Blogger amazing grace said...

loved this post true and sad and important......

definitely on the same page with ya....

At 3/12/2006 10:10 AM, Blogger I n g e r said...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but once your daughters hit school it's almost impossible to remain the primary force for body image messages. My daughter's 8, and in two years she's gone from a kid who didn't know what skinny meant to one who thinks her thighs are fat because they get wider when she rests her leg on something.

I look at her and see perfect--my beautiful adorable perfect. But she stands in front of the mirror and worries.

I have no wise counsel. It's a big struggle, and a terrible sadness, what the world does to our girls.

At 3/13/2006 1:44 PM, Blogger Andrea* said...

WOW! That is disturbing! What the heck? Some people!

At 3/14/2006 9:08 PM, Blogger mindi11 said...

thanks for all the feedback. i'm still mulling it all over in my head. but i really appreciate hearing others thoughts and opinions on it. :)

At 3/15/2006 11:51 PM, Anonymous Mi'Chelle said...

Wow, that's sad. The girl down the block from me grew up to be Miss Utah, and believe me you, I've seen the uglies of the pagaent circuit. Makeup on your 3 year old. Blech.

I love the Bella/Poppy story. I think that with a good momma like you, she'll be just fine.

At 3/23/2006 8:02 PM, Blogger Clay, Misty, Willow and River Precious Newcomb said...

here here! i hate that stuff! it's always been on my mind with the know being girls. i'm trying to teach the girls to look at their beautiful innards to the point that i'm overemphasizing the beauty of non skinny people. willow has learned the nasty f word (fat-to clarify). the other day she explained to me that even though i say it's okay to be f_ _ she's afraid she won't be able to fit into her car seat if she gets that way. here's to hoping that's the only thing that ever concerns her about that!


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