Thursday, November 29, 2007


He is in the shower. I stand beside the bath, turning idly before the mirror. I lift my tee shirt above my stomach, peer critically ahead, and turn again to examine myself in profile.


‘What are you doing?’

I turn around, dropping my shirt as I do. F is watching me with interest.

I have not really been aware of my actions until now; it’s an unconscious habit.

‘Oh. Um, I’m looking at my stomach.’
‘Let me see.’
I frown at him, trying to work out what he means.
‘Do it again. I’ll tell you if you’re fat or not.’

I do it again, this time facing away from the mirror, towards him. I’m a lot more self-conscious now.
‘Turn around.’
I do. I’m suddenly, stupidly aware that whatever he says next will be the truth, unfiltered by grown-up caution. I hold my breath a little as I wait for it.

‘Nope’ he says. ‘You’re not fat.’
‘Really? Oh good.’ I am relieved. A few months ago, I shooed him out of a dressing room for telling me I looked fat while I was trying on jeans.

(Literally, I told him to get lost. He walked out of the shop and onto the street in response. When I came looking for him, a salesgirl pointed out the door, saying ‘he told me that he was going to get lost’. With my new Asperger’s knowledge, I cringe every time I remember it.)

‘You might look fat in a dress though,’ he adds.
I laugh.
‘Why is that?’
‘Most people look fat in dresses.’
‘I wore a dress on Sunday. Did I look fat then?’
He considers it.
‘No. You didn’t. So, I guess you can wear dresses.’
He pauses, twirling under the shower faucet.
‘I don’t think you need your diet anymore, Mum. I think you should stop it now.’
‘Yes. You’re PERFECT.’

I lean into the shower and hug him, not caring about getting wet.

‘Thank you’ I say.

At the supermarket that evening, I buy a box of Turkish Delight ice creams. And I eat one on the way home.


Penni said...

I love the way you blog, it makes for extremely compulsive reading. I've just spent way more time than is acceptable reading your back posts, considering my huzzband has taken the children away so I can write.

Ariel said...

Thanks Penni! I've spent way more time than is acceptable today netsurfing (including reading your excellent Inside a Dog post on school formals) largely because I, too, am supposed to be writing. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Do all writers put it off by reading other writers' blogs? I'm guilty too!

It's much easier to read than to write, isn't it.

I guess in your house there are no more rhetorical questions now. Hmmm.


davey said...

I agree with Penni Ariel, you have a really lovely style.

Sometimes, I secretly wish that I had kids around for the poignancy that they tend to impart at will. As you pointed out, one of the reasons kids are so wonderful is that they haven't developed the ability of what not to say.

Incidentally Ariel, you may really enjoy reading Defective Yeti. Matthew is also a parent of a child with Autism, although different in scale to F, I believe.

helen said...

What Penni said!

Laura at 11D is also worth a look (her little boy, Ian, is much younger than F though.)

redcap said...

Aww, that's cute. But I have to say that if you think you need to diet, missy, you're delusional! xx :)

cristy said...

Very cute. And ditto on what penni said.

Now back to my procrastination...

Ariel said...


Thanks all ...

Yeah, I reckon we do all procrastinate by reading other writers' blogs, if this is anything to go by.

Thanks for the reference, Davey. I visited a few days back (pre-holiday) and it was fascinating. Helen, I'll have to follow yours up.

Redcap, hey, what can I say ... I know I'm not overweight, I just know what I look like when I eat too much chocolate. And that if I don't limit myself, I will always eat too much chocolate. (I think I also suffer from memories of being a very skinny teenager and can't quite believe I'm not one anymore.)