On Big Bellies

The weather was gorgeous today after months of monsoon, so when the Diva In Training woke up with a fever and runny nose, I happily canceled my morning meetings and cuddled with her in bed for a bit before squeezing us both into our bikinis and heading out to the balcony to splash around in her wading pool. Now before you get the idea that I lead some sort of decadent life over here in the Land of Wurst and Nein(TM), do note that the wading pool was not big enough for me and her to sit in at the same time. Really, I just sat on stone tiles getting squirted with her dolphin squirt gun (because Divas only fire hot pink dolphin-shaped pistols, contrary to what the marketeers in Croatia tried to sell us — a gun I thought was a hysterical Engrish mix-up until my gun-totin’ Pops told me an AK74 is an actual kind of gun).

It’s days like this that I really love my job — and not just because I could “work” in my bikini and pretend to be one of those ever-sacrificing moms who stays home with their kid when she gets sick. Now, without giving away what I do for a living, let’s just say I get to look at a lot of pictures for my job, and today, those pictures happened to include a couple of guys who looked like they were auditioning to join Chippendales, replete with bared abs and bowtie, a ridiculous combination that used to make the “Deer Hunters Widows” in my neck of the woods go wild, if the radio commercials were to be believed. Most of the time, I get a kick out of these pictures of half-naked men that come across my desk.

For whatever reason, I decided it would be a good idea to let the Diva in Training watch Mama work… you know, to see what I actually do for a living after I drop her off at the kindergarten every morning (she seems to think it involves a lot of running, and on days I work from home, it usually does, shhhhh). For whatever reason, I thought I’d be looking at pictures of airplanes but what popped up on my screen, instead, were the Chippendales:… to which Diva promptly said, “Oh wow, Mama, look at his belly.”

And I, good Mama I am, said, yes, darling, that is a nice belly, and then I tried to close the window, thinking, Oh Christ, my kid’s going to be the one telling everyone at Kindergarten that her mom looks at naked men all day. The Diva objected. “I wanna see the boy again. The big belly.”

Suddenly, I felt a teachable moment coming on. I tried to resist, but there I was, explaining to a toddler why well-defined ab muscles do not equal a big belly. Of course, her vocabulary is limited, but I thought that maybe showing her my own bare belly could convince her to expand it just (her word treasury, mind you, not her tummy) a bit. To discuss that bellies come in all shapes and sizes but that referring to one as big isn’t all that nice. That she could say words like soft or squidgy or muscular or six-pack, but that it wasn’t nice to use the word big when referring to people. Nor (given her recent streaking streak) is it nice to walk around only wearing a bowtie and messenger bag like the guys in the pictures. But no, this kid was not having any of my lessons. My mummy tummy is still comparable to Mr. Chippendale’s in her eyes; both are very big it seems. Very nice of her to say so. Though I won’t be baring mine in public while donning a bowtie anytime soon.

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