if I eat all the popcorn it will make me fat….

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for over a week now because I didn’t really know what to write about it. I still don’t. …

Once a week I pick my 3 year old daughter up from pre-school and take her straight to gymnastics. Her pre-school finishes at 12:15 and her gymnastics starts at 12:35 so I make her a packed lunch to eat in the car. This week the packed lunch had popcorn in it, I thought we were going to go to the cinema last weekend and so I had bought a bag of supermarket popcorn to take with us. We then didn’t go. E loves popcorn and she tends not to love packed lunches so I thought it would be a good way of insuring she ate something before gymnastics. Whilst we were driving along with my daughter eating the popcorn she turned to me and said “if I eat all the popcorn it will make me fat”. She is 3. I was genuinely speechless and not in a good way. I didn’t know what to say and I can’t remember what I did say. I do remember it made me want to cry.

I’ve had issues with food since I was 10. One of my top priorities is making sure my children never, ever have those issues. But I don’t know how.  I try and teach everything in moderation to my children. They are allowed ice-cream and sweets and crisps. They also eat a lot of fruit and veg. I try not to use food as a bribe or a reward (which is REALLY difficult and I struggle with I admit as it’s an easy road to take).   I try and never denigrate my body in front of them.

E giggled after she had said the word, which indicates she is not really sure of what she is saying but she has obviously got this from somewhere and I didn’t know how to respond. I still don’t.

Any comments/advice?

Comments: 6

  1. Caitlin April 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm Reply

    Wow. Wow wow wow. Do you think it’s possible that she picked that up from older kids at gymnastics?

    • Helen April 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm Reply

      the gymnastics class is for pre-school only so 3/4 year olds not yet at school. I honestly don’t know where it could have come from but as someone in my twitter feed pointed out we are surrounded by the constant judging of women’s bodies.

  2. G April 2, 2014 at 11:29 pm Reply

    Eek! Kids are little sponges, aren’t they? One of the things that Fat Acceptance talks about a lot is the normalization of the word fat, that it’s not a loaded negative but simply a descriptor. Kids can see that people come in all sizes, but it’s up to the adults in their lives to reinforce that all bodies deserve respect– especially when they hear negative talk. You’re setting a good example for your daughter!

    The popcorn thing is silly, though! Have you asked her what she meant by it? It might be as simple as it being a big food that “blows up” her tummy ;)

    • Helen April 27, 2014 at 6:08 pm Reply

      I totally agree with fat being normalised as a descriptor but I think we still have a way to go before that is the case. I didn’t ask her what she meant because I was so busy being gobsmacked – maybe because I was projecting my thoughts onto her if that makes sense? Unfortunately asking her now would just elict a look of “WTF r you talking about mummy!” Sorry I didn’t see your comment and reply earlier.

  3. Gingerzingi April 3, 2014 at 11:11 am Reply

    This year the museum had several New Year’s events, and one of them was for kids to write their resolutions or goals for the year on balloon-shaped cardboard and string them up along the sidewalk. I was shocked how many of them were “eat more healthy” or similar messages. Eating “healthy” is a fine thing, but how awful that 8- and 9-year-olds are so preoccupied with this idea! It made we wonder what sort of struggle meals have turned into for kids these days, what sort of angst and stress food brings with it. That’s definitely something we should save for our adulthood, LOL

    You sound like you’re a fantastic mother. Little E is going to have a really strong foundation for great self-esteem and confidence in herself!

    • Helen April 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm Reply

      I don’t think kids can get away from the “war of obesity” and the “fat epidemic” and unfortunately the messages they are getting that tell them what is apparently healthy (tall, blonde with tone but no muscle I think is the current message) are so off base as well that no wonder many of them are so obsessed with their weight.
      Sorry I didn’t reply earlier.

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