Tornado S: Mommy, I know what I’m going to be when I grow up. (Let me begin my lecture on be versus-) I’m going to be a stay-at-home dad.
Tornado S: Or a scientist. I’m going to either be a scientist or a stay-at-home dad.
Me: Why do you want to be a scientist?
Tornado S: So I can invent stuff.
Me: Why do you want to be a stay-at-home dad?
Tornado S: So I can be home and play with my kids.
A running theme. Then I thought of A Wrinkle in Time and the Murry household with its basement lab.
Me: You might be able to do both.
Tornado S smiled.
Tornado S: If I’m the dad, then Tornado E and Tornado A will be the uncles.
Me: All of you can be.
Tornado S: No, they can be the uncles, and I’ll be the dad. (Like my brothers and me) Because I’m a little fat.
Tornado S: All dads are a little fat, and I’m a little fat, so I’ll be the dad.
Let me clarify. Tornado S is not fat. He’s not even big-boned. He’s not chunky or chubby. He’s pretty average. He’s solid. I don’t know if he’ll ever be thin as a rail, but he’s fine. He’s average height and average weight. Because I’m his mom, I think he’s perfect.
So stay calm and…
Me: What makes you think you’re a little fat?
Tornado S: (lifting up his shirt) I have a bigger belly than Tornado E and Tornado A. They have smaller bellies. So I’m a little fat.
Tornado E is lengthening. But Tornado A still has that toddler tummy. It’s adorable.
Me: Tornado S, Tornado A is smaller than you. Tornado E is bigger than you. You are perfect. You are not fat. Not at all. You are the perfect size for a boy. You are not fat.
Tornado S smiled and nodded and ran off.
Christ, are you kidding me? When they asked why I exercise (now), I told them that I don’t run around like they do anymore and I needed to move to be healthy and I enjoy moving my body. Once when they heard me mutter about my post-baby body, they asked me what I mean. I showed them my stretch marks and told them when I was pregnant with Tornado S I had stretch marks that looked like a butterfly over my belly button and how they don’t look like that anymore, which makes me sad. I cut out the joke about how ugly those marks look now, and I showed them my belly even though it made me uncomfortable. I held my tongue against the fat-tummy jokes I wanted to make (because my family deals with everything in humor). Damnit, I’m trying hard.
Except their father hasn’t. He talks about his diet often, and when asked, he talks about how he’s fat and how bad that is. He’s mentioned how he’s losing weight. He’s talked about being fat. He taught them fat-shaming jokes about fast food. And I talked to him about this back when the boys would play kitchen and talk about things not being on their diet. I’m going to have to talk to him again.
Then I remembered my dad. He’s very overweight. He makes jokes about his weight. My mother fat-shames him. My dad is their second biggest male role model. I’m going to have to talk to my dad about what he says about himself. I’m going to have to talk to my mom about what she says about my dad.
And I’m going to have to keep on the guard about what I say about myself.
Can’t I just have a cute career discussion where we all go “aw” at the end?