Mommy, Does This Make Me Look Fat?
I have sons, which shields me from some of the oddities of the young female set. Not to say that boys don’t have their own sets of peculiarities. But as the mother of boys, there are a few things I just don’t have to deal with. I know, I’m a girl, but there are some things I’m glad I don’t have to deal with. For instance, boys generally don’t have to change into new outfits several times a day. On the other hand, they could stand to change their underwear a little more often. Like once a day would be good. But girls seem to require a lot of outfittage, and that would drive me batty.
With boys, there are generally no arguments over whether platform shoes may or may not be worn to gym class. Boys tend to not squeal. I’m not saying all girls squeal, but come on. Girls are often the source of some serious squealing. And I mean, ouch!
Also, in a houseful of fellas, the plaintive refrain, “I am so fat!” is not a common one.
I get to hear the girls’ side of things from a good friend of mine, a friend who has a daughter named Lily. Lily is eccentric, wildly fashionable, and a very interesting girl. She is ten years old, towers over my ten-year-old son by at least a foot (and is disconcertingly a head taller than I am), reads “Dwell” magazine, and favors Chinese pajamas. Did I mention she is ten? She is mad about Japanese fashion. She has pink hair. She is not a slender, willowy tall girl, she is a big, healthy, gorgeous Polish princess. (Literally. Lily’s Grandmother, an actual Polish Princess, had to escape
At any rate, I love this girl, and I love the madcap and imaginative outfits she assembles. She is a fashion inspiration. My admiration was cemented when I overheard her friend make a comment to the effect that boys don’t generally appreciate her unique fashion sense, and Lily responded matter-of-factly, “Why should I care what the boys think?”
This is a very self-possessed little girl. She has confidence without arrogance or superiority. But every now and then, according to her mother, there is a sigh of “Mommy, my belly is too big,” or even the dreaded, “I am so fat!.” These rare outbursts are met with reassurances about her beauty -- about inner beauty, outer beauty, healthy beauty, and the fact that she’ll probably be growing another twelve inches and everything will all work itself out.
But this is the kind of thing Lily must contend with on a regular basis at ten years old: her tiny, skinny little friend comes for dinner. The friend is served a lovely chicken burrito. Grilled chicken wrapped in a tortilla. A meal this girl seems to enjoy, but very selectively, mostly picking bits of chicken out of the tortilla. When the girl’s mother arrives to pick her up, my friend mentions that the girl didn’t seem to eat a lot of dinner, but did pick a little chicken out of the tortilla. This woman assures my friend that her daughter has had plenty to eat, adding with a chuckle, “She just hates the carbs.”