Children: Truth-Tellers, Pride-Smashers

ID-10054685“Hey, Mom! Did you know that a silverback mountain gorilla weighs 450 pounds? That’s a lot, right, Mom?”

“Yep. That’s pretty cool. Silverback gorillas must be pretty big.”

“How big is that, Mom? Like, as big as dad?”

Bigger than dad. More than twice as big as dad.”

“Whoa! So, it’s like, probably as big as you, right, Mom?”

“Wait. You think I’m bigger than dad?”

“Um, duh.”

“And as big as a 450-pound gorilla?”

“Well, yeah. Except I didn’t really mean big, Mom. That was just a nice way of saying fat.”

I previously supported the grandparents’ decision to annually renew my children’s subscription to Ranger Rick magazine.

I’ve changed my mind.


P.S. Once upon a time, this happened. So, you know. I’m sort of a pro at having my pride smashed.

P.P.S If you have a Truth-Teller / Pride-Smasher story, do tell.


Gorilla Feeding Baby image credit Tina Philips via

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. AHHH! Mine isn’t old enough (just starting to put 2-3 words together!) but I better start exercising NOW so I can prevent some of this humiliation lol!

  2. “you know mom… some girls don’t have so much hair on their legs.” 🙂

  3. When my son was 3 and I was pregnant with my daughter, I was having a rough day. My son said, “Mommy, some days you look pretty. But not today!” And when we got new neighbors down the street, my kids met them first. My daughter came home and told me that the mom of the new family reminded her of me. Then she said, “Guess why! She’s fat too!” They are so dang HONEST.

  4. not my own child, but a student: “you have a lot of gray hair. You must gonna die soon.” I was 25.

  5. My 3 year old saw her shadow on the ground and said, “Ooh Mommy! Look at my big shadow!”

    Then she saw mine. “Mommy! You have a shadow, too. It’s bigger than mine! It’s bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger!!!”

    Ugh. 🙂

  6. This story is awesome! Haha! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I have blocked those traumas out of my memory but I’m sure they had plenty to do with the effects of gravity & childbearing on my anatomy and why I no longer bathe with toddlers for convenience or ecology.

  8. I’m a teacher and one of my students complimented my outfit. “Wow, Mrs.Smith, you look great!” I thanked her and she followed up with “Yeah. I mean, usually, you just wear like an old robe and stuff.”

    I do not. But great to know that’s what my clothes look like to her!

    1. Maybe she thinks you’re so awesome you’re a Hogwart’s teacher, so you have to wear a wizard robe most of the time. 🙂

  9. A bit off the subject of body image, but I was driving with my then 5-year-old and singing along to a song on a the radio. After a minute or so my daughter wailed “Mommy, pleeeeeeaaaaasse stop singing! You are hurting my ears!”

  10. My four-year-old son:

    “Mom, are you bigger?”
    “Are you bigger?”
    “Sweetie, ‘bigger’ is comparative, so you need to tell me what you’re comparing me to. Am I bigger than…?”
    “Uh.. a whale?”

    Thanks, dear.

  11. Rowan (4) helped me make pancakes a few days ago. We poured some batter onto the griddle. “Look, Mommy, it’s just like your big white face!” We poured another pancake. “Look, Mommy, it’s getting bigger, just like your big face!”

    Thanks, kid. You’re so complimentary.

  12. and once the 11 yr old neighbor boy was trying to guess the age of my son (who is 13) and so i foolishly said how old do you think I am? (feeling particularly young-looking and sassy) – so he looks at me, thinks about it and says “45?” (I just turned 34) – i smiled and said, yes, i’ll accept that. i am 45. and that means i look really REALLY good for 45.

  13. my 3 yr old son walked in right as i steppedout of the shower, then he jumps back out and then cracks the door to ask thru it – hey mom, when sissy’s older is she gonna have those big hangy things too??

  14. 4 stories-
    1. 3 yr old son walks in on me getting out of the shower and starts pointing and laughing like a maniac! Like serious belly laughing, no pun intended! Thanks buddy, mommy loves you too!
    2. 9 yr old daughter gives a big hug around my stomach from behind and then says, “uh oh mom, I think you swallowed a baby!” Ya, love you too sweetie!
    3. 6 yr old son says “mommy I love you and your big belly and think your beautiful even if no one else does!” Man, where do my kids come up with these things!
    4. My 9 yr old autistic niece is visiting. I’m just getting changed to take her home. I put on a tight tank and go towards the door. She rushes over and rubs my belly! “You got a baby in there?” “Sorry sweetie! I’m just fat!” (Needless to say I changed my top.) 2 days later I tell her mom the story. And discover I taught her the word fat which she then went and used on her mother as in, rubs her mommies belly, “that’s just fat in there right mommy?” Her mommy wasn’t amused at her new word! Oops!

    And sigh….all these in the last 3 months…think I put on some weight this winter!

  15. Okay, I know you don’t need to hear it, but YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! For rizzle! I mean it, like for serious. You’re gorgeous. Now if I can stop hitting on you for ten seconds I’ll tell you my story. Not as good as yours, but we all share here, right?

    So the other day a carpenter is fixing stuff in our house, and my 3 year old says loud enough so he can hear, “mommy, that guy has a big, BIIIG belly like you do!”, complete with big, constipated heavy lifting sound effects and hand gestures on the BIIIG.

    Carpenter was super cool about it; turns out he’s a grandpa, plus he jokes with the young guys at his work that they might be going for a six pack but he’s going for the whole keg.

    Oh, plus? Right after he said it, I was like, “yes sweetie, but we don’t talk say it. Some people don’t like talking about their bellies”. And then, because this was the first time anything like that had happened, my boy was confused and kind of hurt. You could tell he was thinking like, what? Some people don’t like talking about their bellies? Is that a thing? I could see him getting worried and my mommy brain is going OMG what did you just do to your perfect son, give him body issues at age 3 so I tried to make things better by saying, “You can talk about MY belly, I don’t mind”. Well. A joyous grin spread over his sweet, innocent face as he launched into the most detailed belly description I would ever hope to hear.

    “It’s really REALLLLLLLLY big. It goes down to here (points at floor)”. As he continues on, I’m thinking, smile, be happy, bellies are good, bellies are awesome, oh God kid you did not say that, oh hey guess what, bet the carpenter can here our little celebration, no it’s all good, look at your little boy’s face, he loves your belly because it’s his mom’s belly, he thinks it’s big and soft and awesome to land on and run into and cuddle on, don’t screw this up mama . . .

    So basically it was demoralizing, embarrassing, but also like a big life lesson taught to me by my 3 year old.

    1. Thank you for sharing that. I remember when I was growing up knowing my mom was wanting to lose weight, but really hoping she wouldn’t because I loved her exactly as she was…and she wouldn’t be as comfy to snuggle with.

      However I also remember telling her she wasn’t fat, just big-boned…maybe I should apologize??

  16. My son wanted a grilled cheese sandwich … but decided he couldn’t have one because his father wasn’t home .. and …”mom, you just can’t cook a grilled cheese sandwich properly”

    Fine by me, really, I don’t like making them anyways! ha

  17. “Mom, when I’m a lady, are my boobs going to hang down like that???”

  18. I was sitting on the floor putting a DVD on for my two eldest kids. My almost four year old reached out a little foot and started squishing my mid section with her toes. She then said “mummy, you’re nice and soft!”

  19. At the time, my 2 1/2yr twin boys, on the way to daycare in the morning: “Mama, fire trucks are big. I like fire trucks. Mama, you’re bigger than a fire truck”. My interpretation? They love fire trucks soooooooooooo much and if I’m bigger than a fire truck, that means they love me even more.

  20. Luckily my child doesn’t actually say words yet. But I do remember when my brother was about 4, MAYBE 6, he told my mom she was “Kinda ugly without make-up.” My jaw totally dropped. I felt really bad but didn’t know what to do.

  21. “I like the way dad makes scrambled eggs better.”

  22. My 5 year old quite regularly tells me that her father is smarter than me! Gotta love brutal honestly. :p

  23. My son has pointed out that “Sometimes, some of the clothes you wear, well, they kinda make you look like you are going to have a baby.” Thanks kid. Noted.

  24. I’m sorry this happened to you. However, I do not take responsibility for the discussions that follow the magazine perusals. Those are obviously Ranger Rick’s fault, entirely. 🙂

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