Monday, October 19, 2009

a story inspired by Escape From Obesity's blog

Escape from Obesity (I can't bring myself to do a link now) wrote a blog today that reminded me of a story. I will change the names. The first time I babysat the Rogers kids, they were very young. The oldest may have been about in 2nd or 3rd grade, and they were wild that night.

Their mother was still getting ready to go, and the father was introducing me to the kids and showing me around the house and giving instructions. The kids were acting out against the new babysitter and it wasn't long before they started calling me fat. "You're fat!" they said, as though this were a terrible insult, as though I went around trying to hide it, hoping no one noticed. The verbal jab stung a little from its bluntness, but ultimately - I already knew I was fat, and though I considered it to be unpleasurable, I didn't consider it an insult. The kids didn't realize this, and continued to jab me, "You're FAT! Fat fat fat hahaha! She's fat!" It was obnoxious, and the father seemed embarrassed too. Finally I simply said, "My God, they act like they've never seen a fat person before." And they became mute. And then the father, himself quite roly poly, said, "I know, really!" and patted his own jutting belly. And then, it was amazing, how the kids seemed to learn something at that moment - that their own father was as fat as me, that they were shouting insults, and that they couldn't hurt me by calling me fat.

By the way, they continued to be unmanageable the rest of the night. They got themselves into a storage room they weren't allowed to play in, and wouldn't come out. I couldn't handle it. Eventually they became the most amazing kids, and loved me, and I'll tell you how - I brought them the Narnia books and read them to them every time I came over, just like my Dad did to me and my brother. The effect was amazing. Their imaginations swirled, they remembered where we'd left off in a certain book after months of separation.


bluenotes said...

kids can be really cruel sometimes... I used to date a little girl who was 9, and she would always say things like- "don't you wish you were skinny like (enter name here)?" "why do you still eat if you need to lose weight?" kids are stupid sometimes, but like your children that you're talking about, the little girl learned to really love me too. that's always nice!

Fat[free]Me said...

Love the bit about the Narnia books - bet they remember that forever.