Jill: "Mommy, I think Orangey will like carrots."
Mimi: "Who is 'Orangey'?"
Jill: "That is what our baby brother's name is going to be."
Mimi: "Your dad and I were thinking more along the lines of Gordo or Gordie."
Jill: "Nope. Orangey."
Mimi: "Jill, you know I'm not pregnant, right?"
Jill: "No, you are."
Mimi: "Jill, there is no baby in my belly."
Jill: "Well, not a baby baby."
Mimi: "No, no baby at all."
Jill: "Well, you're, you know, making a baby, just growing the bones, but it is our baby brother."
Mimi: "I'm not even growing his bones; there is no baby starting to grow inside of me at all." (Thinking in my head: Is today the day I explain where babies come from?!)
Jill: "But, your tummy is big."
Mimi: "Tummies can be big without babies inside of them."
Look of complete disbelief from Jill.
Jill: "Why is your tummy big if you aren't making a baby in your belly?"
Mimi: "It just is."
Mimi: "Because I already have grown babies in there, so it has more room—it's bigger."
Jill: "But why is it still bigger with no baby inside?"
Mimi: "Well, it's just fat. My stomach is fat." (I said that calmly.)
Complete silence. Jill seemed stunned. She then sat up straight and looked down at her stomach.
Jill: "Mommy, is my stomach fat?"
Mimi: "No, no, Jill, your stomach is perfect!"
And then she didn't say anything else, and I was too busy worrying if I had just taught my daughter to hate her female body for the rest of her life because I used the word 'fat,' so the conversation ended.
Here is another conversation from a few days ago.
I am on the bed with Alice. Jill comes into the room, carrying my makeup.
Jill: "Mommy, can we put make up on?"
Mimi: "Sure, if you want to."
Jill and I help each other get dolled up.
Jill: "Can I put on more?"
Mimi: "Nope, I think we're good."
Jill: "But I want to look pretty."
Mimi: "Do you think we put on makeup to look pretty?"
Mimi: "Sweetie, we put on makeup because it is fun. We are already pretty without makeup. Makeup is just for fun. It's art, like painting or coloring a picture."
Jill looks at me and doesn't say anything.
Mimi: "Always remember that makeup is just for fun, and that you are beautiful no matter how you look."
Jill, you are so beautiful, because of your smile and your joy and your kindness. Because you help "babysit" Alice, and you share with your brother, and you welcome new friends into your life. Because you sing with gusto and you dance like no one's watching. Because you tackle challenges fearlessly. You are so beautiful.
And I would never trade my bigger body for a smaller family. I am so grateful that I have been blessed to "grow the bones" of four babies inside my belly, and I am so lucky to have given birth to three of them, and I am proud of my softness.
Wish me luck. I didn't expect discussions on true beauty to already begin when my daughter is four years old. I thought that would be middle school or something.
Do you have any advice on how your parents did it well or on what you are trying to do with your children?