My daughter has always been critical. This was much cuter when she was little. As a sixteen year old, not so much. We’ve been having the kind of week that makes me want to look back to a kinder, gentler time when our biggest worries were what she ate, how she acted, and what she said. Come to think of it, the worries are pretty similar now. It was just a lot easier when she didn’t have a mind of her own.
When Allie was two or three, she used to embarrass me in stores. If she saw a bald man, she would, quite loudly, state the obvious “He’s bald.” She also used to have a little gender confusion. “Is that a girl or a boy?” This was usually an easy question to answer until the time we had a transgender wait person at the s’mores restaurant. (That did little to help with the confusion.)
My husband and I grew quite conscious of this and tried to limit our use of adjectives so our little one would not repeat them at the wrong time. In a time when obesity was on the rise, we never described anyone or anything as ‘’fat.” This, we thought, would save us a lot of embarrassment and hurt feelings.
We love to eat out, but when Allie was a toddler, we had to limit our restaurant choices to those where a screaming, kicking fit was no louder than the other din. The nearby IHOP fit the bill. One evening during dinner, a morbidly obese woman passed by our table. In this particular case, we were confident that Allie did not possess an adjective that might hurt anyone. As the lady passed by, our sweetheart sat up straight and loudly pronounced, “Boy is she thick!”
Her words still have the power to hurt, but the adjectives are generally reserved for my husband and me. I look back and choose some of the words I wish she had never learned, and realize our work is not done. She still needs help controlling those adjectives.