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Tiaras and Trucks

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Borrowing from the Bank

I did my homework this week for the Back to School blogging challenge! The first part of the homework involved making a deposit of ten ideas into the Idea Bank; the second part was writing a post using one of the ideas from the bank.


I want to write about a childhood memory that still affects how I feel today. It’s a memory that I mull over more than necessary, especially since having a daughter.

Nursery school was a pretty rocking time, from what I recall. I remember a cool wooden loft that was used as a story nook, cute little cubbies to hang our things, some beanbags to play with, a shady outdoor area.

And a lady that told me little girls shouldn’t eat as much as little boys.

she said what?
I know, Dylan, crazy, right?

To back up a bit, my best buddy and partner-in-crime back then was a little boy named Craig. So one day, at snack time, we were having chocolate pudding. Craig and I were sitting at a mini-table, on those mini-chairs, another one of our friends was sitting there as well. I was excited to have our snack, excited to be sitting with my friend, and when Craig took a giant helping of pudding, I spooned the same mega-scoop into my little bowl with a smile.

And the nursery school helper immediately told me that I shouldn’t have taken so much pudding. She said it sternly. She told me that girls do NOT eat as much as boys.

At four years old, I didn’t have body image issues. But I remember feeling embarrassed and ashamed, and a four-year-old shouldn’t feel ashamed about a little extra pudding. It obviously impacted me a lot since I still remember it with crystal clarity, even though most of my early memories are much hazier.

I cringe when I think about that sharp statement and the countless other off-hand remarks that have shaped my body image. I know I can’t keep Abbey in a sparkly, pink bubble, immune to society’s immense pressure on girls to look a certain, often unattainable, way. I can’t bottle the innate self confidence that children possess and save it for her to breathe in the first time she hears one of those negative remarks.

But I do my best every day to strive to feel better about myself, so that she grows up watching me feel comfortable in my own body, complete with its imperfections and its strengths.

If she takes a little extra pudding one day, because her best bud Brendan has an extra large helping? I’m pretty sure she’ll make up for it by running around, laughing and smiling the whole time.

a friend is borrowing last year's ladybug costume
Abbey (of course) needed to try it on
to be honest, the tutu is in regular dress-up rotation 

she was bummed to let it go
I tried to explain that Ella will bring it back
a good lesson in the concept of borrowing?

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2 Comments:

  • At September 24, 2010 at 2:19 PM , Blogger Gigi said...

    I wrote a post recently about the seeds of self-doubt that can get planted in childhood and how they can live with us long after the incident has passed. it's scary isn't it? Shame on that nursery school teacher. The good news is, you're mindful of it with your own child.

     
  • At September 25, 2010 at 1:23 AM , Blogger angela said...

    Gigi,

    I try to keep it in the back of my mind and be careful, knowing how seemingly small comments can really impact kids.

     

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