The Mouth of Babes

Little Girl SmirkingWhen my daughter was three and my son was one, the kids would often have play-school together with some co-workers’ kids. One couple had three sons and we would sometimes exchange the care of our kids so they could get some time off.

After one such evening, we returned to pick up our kids. I noticed the wife seemed a bit intense or exasperated and I was worried. Had my kids acted up?

I casually asked how everything went.

“Your daughter really needs to learn some manners. After everything we did for her, I can’t believe what she said to me.”

Now I was really worried. What could a three-year-old say that was so offensive to an experienced mother?

“She said I had a big tummy!”

Now it was clear. I tried to suppress my laughter. This woman was perpetually commenting on the “fact” that she was overweight. In actuality, grading on the curve, she wasn’t more than a bit chubby. She was, however, very sensitive about her weight and if anyone even agreed with her self-deprecatory comments, they’d be on her blacklist.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I apologized profusely and wholeheartedly for my daughter, who was already sleeping, otherwise I would have had her apologize as well.

The next day, my daughter saw me in my workout outfit, which had a very short top. “Chubby tummy,” she said, and started giggling.

I laughed too, because (at the time) my tummy was more concave than convex. I realized she must have picked the phrase up from somewhere, maybe the three brothers she had been hanging out with the previous evening; she was just repeating something she had heard. I explained to her that it isn’t so nice to draw attention to certain parts of people, such as their weight, or if they wear glasses or walk funny. I’m not sure if she understood completely.

I also wondered if I should let my co-worker know that my daughter had called me chubby as well.

I decided against it.

If we can’t take what comes “out of the mouths of babes” with a grain of salt and a smile, maybe a subscription to the gym wouldn’t be a bad idea.

[Image by © LWA-Sharie Kennedy/zefa/Corbis]


About Bonita Jewel

Bonita Jewel is an author and blogger who writes on a variety of themes, including: Literature & poetry Writing Parenting Purpose After living in India from the age of 16 to 28, she returned to California with her husband and three children. She is pursuing a Degree at Fresno State University. Bonita teaches community education at Clovis Adult. Her courses include Blogging Basics, Power Editing, Creative Writing, and Working from Home. She also freelances as an editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach. Her greatest passions are her family, her faith, writing, and reading. Bonita Jewel has been reading since she was 2 ½. Thirty years later, she still loves the magic and mystery of the written word. She is slowly breathing life into roughly 50 novels and nearly as many nonfiction works, depending on which plot or character seizes her interest at any given time. Please connect with Bonita at:

Posted on May 10, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hahah. A little too sensitive if a 3-year-old’s comments get you riled up.

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