Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to school

My weeks have been getting into a bit of a routine, like I mentioned last post. Work work work at my day job, then trucking off to Old Navy on the weekends. It's back to school sales ALL MONTH and it has been slammed. Like all of the time. Friday until 10pm? Yeah, try later than that. And lines for hours and hours long. Seriously. I spent most of last Saturday ringing register. And we have been having so great sales (*cough$19jeanscough*) (but just until tomorrow! Sorry I didn't get this out sooner!) so I really should be expecting the business. 
A lot of schools are requiring uniforms, so it's not just jeans and T's for back to school, but a lot of khakis, polos and skirts. As a ex-uniform (mostly hand me downs and Goodwill--not bad!) wear-er myself, I'm a little jealous that kids can now have uniforms from Old Navy! I would have loved to be able to say that about my uniforms! Anyway...
As a cashier, I am in a very interesting position. I need to affirm the purchases being made and be helpful and kind to the people about to purchase clothing from my store. I check to make sure other associates have been doing their job of being helpful and kind as well. I have a script in my head that goes something like this: Hi! How are you today? Did you find everything ok? Or did you find what you were looking for?" If they didn't, I follow up with a, "Can I help you find (xyz)?" A lot of times at this point, another associate has already offered on the floor assistance, which is right and good. 
But I cannot tell you how many times a mother has made the following comments about her child: 

I just wish her butt was a little bit bigger! 
She is so tiny she doesn't fit into anything! 
I wish she wasn't so tall! 
I wish she was just a little bit taller! 

It is moments like these when I have to check myself and guard what comes out of my mouth. Sometimes I want to tell them, "You know your daughter might be small, but she is standing right there and can hear you wish different things for her, things she cannot change."
 Sometimes I want to say, "Hey, can we grab coffee sometime? I'd love to talk to you about the way your off-hand comments now will affect your little girl when she grows up in 5 to 10 years time." 
But mostly I end up saying something like, "Ah yes it can be difficult to find things that fit properly, but that is one of the things that makes her a unique person!" 

But even through that guarded response, it breaks my heart to hear parents speak in "if only's" for their child. I look at the child and I see a bright young thing with a huge future ahead of them. And then I imagine those hurtful words sinking into their brain, affecting the way they view their body, their worth and their future. 

Is it just me? Am I way off here? 
For those of you with children, how do you talk to your young kids about their bodies?


Nature's Architect said...

Well said Laura. You will make a fine Mama some day!

Zachary Kantner said...

You're definitely on the right track. It's a shame that today's parents don't think in the way that you do. We'd probably have more kids that are well-behaved, morally grounded, and have a positive self-esteem/image. It's sad to see those things in decline, especially right before our very eyes.