School gate mum called DD "chunky" :-(

(60 Posts)
FiddleDeeDees Wed 14-May-14 13:41:54

Got talking to another mum when I went to collect DS from nursery this morning.

We both had our younger daughters with us and it turned out they were the same age (2.5).

I made some remark about thinking her daughter was older as she was so tall (she probably wasn't that tall, actually, I was just trying to find something to say).

Then the other mum looked at my DD and said: "yours is quite chunky".

I was rather taken aback and thought I'd misheard but didn't say anything as the nursery door was opened and my DD rushed in.

My DD isn't skinny but she's certainly not fat either...AIBU to feel offended by this woman, and also sad that my daughter will grow up with people saying stuff like this to her face or behind her back? Or am I being oversensitive?

makeminea6x Wed 14-May-14 13:43:32

Dunno whether you're being unreasonable or not but I wouldn't like it either. She might just have been searching for something to say too though?

ChazzerChaser Wed 14-May-14 13:43:46

Chunky doesn't mean fat to me any more than tall means lanky.

You made a comment about her DDs appearance, she made one back?

mrsbucketxx Wed 14-May-14 13:48:55

tall isn't an insult chunky kinda is.

hence the offense

WorraLiberty Wed 14-May-14 13:49:00

She didn't call your child fat, she called her chunky...which lots of 2yr olds are before they get taller.

TheCowThatLaughs Wed 14-May-14 13:49:00

It's definitely rude to describe someone as chunky. Tall would usually be seen as a good thing, but chunky would not imo.

eggybrokenoff Wed 14-May-14 13:50:47

my ds is tall, very tall. I get heartily sick of that being the first thing he hears from everyone, the judgy comments when he was in a buggy, having nappy changed etc. I expect it was the same for this mum. not nice to comment back about your child, but no different to what you did really!

PrincessBabyCat Wed 14-May-14 13:51:34

I call my baby chunky. She is. She's a chunky healthy baby. smile They're suppose to be chunky until they're about 4-5 when they start losing baby fat. Come to think of it, I haven't seen a toddler that wasn't an adorable little chubber.

She could have been bristling at you thinking her daughter was older too. Maybe she read into it thinking you were implying her daughter was too old to be going there?

Maybe next time you talk about someone's kids stick to generic comments like "oh they're cute". Parents are a weird sensitive breed of people. wink

Chunky isn't meant as offensive in a 2 year old!
2 is still baby, when chunky is cute.

MrsKoala Wed 14-May-14 13:52:30

oh dear. i describe DS as my Chunky Monkey. he has the greatest chunky thighs i have ever seen. There was a girl at toddler group yesterday and she was lovely and chunky too. Her Mum said it to describe her when she gave her a cuddle. i would never consider chunky as an insult to children under 5.

Well, are you offended because you think she was being rude? Are you upset because it's an underlying worry? or is it just an innocent word used about a toddler who will probably change body shape 13 times before Christmas?

ajandjjmum Wed 14-May-14 13:53:29

My SIL was very conscious of her (tall) DD's height from about 2 onwards. I suppose she thought that you'd made a comment about her, she was entitled to make one back.

Funnily enough, it's the sort of response that I can envisage loads of Mnetters suggesting had someone posted that their DD's height was being commented upon by strangers! grin

Sirzy Wed 14-May-14 13:53:45

So you commented on a physical feature of her child yet didn't like it when she commented on a physical feature of your child?

Parents of tall children generally get fed up on having that pointed out to them!

mrsbucketxx Wed 14-May-14 13:55:14

my ds was a bit chunky when he was tiny.

but lost a bit so got called sturdy boy by me,

but calling a little girl chunky isnt right

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 14-May-14 13:56:15

The only safe word to describe a child is Adorable.

Anything else is asking for trouble.

LiberalLibertine Wed 14-May-14 13:56:31

Chunky isn't an insult is it?! Ok, I wouldn't call a grown woman chunky! But I've called lots of babies/toddlers chunky, in fact my friends dd I actually call chunk! She's adorable, it doesn't mean fat!

BreconBeBuggered Wed 14-May-14 13:56:53

Most 2-year-olds are at least a tiny bit chunky, aren't they? I often felt slighted if someone pointed out to me how skinny mine were, as if I could hear them mutter 'undernourished' to themselves. I don't suppose the woman meant anything by it, and if she did, well, she's a twat then. Either way, no point giving it headspace.

Sirzy Wed 14-May-14 13:57:20

Why is gender relevant Mrsbucketxx?

NearTheWindymill Wed 14-May-14 13:57:38

My dd was often described as chunky. I described her as chunky. She was chunky - it was a statement of fact. She has a broad teutonic build. She's 16 and although has never had an ounce of fat on her except for the family thighs she will never be svelte.

I think you've taken this out of all proportion.

Uptheanty Wed 14-May-14 13:59:33

Take this as an early warning--

DON'T ever talk to school gate mums.

You'll save endless energy worrying about unimportant bullshit like this.

JohnCusacksWife Wed 14-May-14 14:00:07

To be honest I'd be offended if anyone described my DDs as chunky, toddler or not. I'd interpret it as a synonym for I think the OP has.

MrsKoala Wed 14-May-14 14:00:11

I rarely comment on size/height. Rather i say things like 'what beautiful hair/eyes etc' they have. People always comment on DS's height and even say things like 'are you having speech therapy for DS? It's unusual not to talk by now isn't it, (thinking he's 2.5-3)' and i say 'he's only 18mo confused ' Then they say 'wow, he's so tall...' yes, i know, i buy the bloody trousers wink

LiberalLibertine Wed 14-May-14 14:02:37

Well I never, things you discover that are offensive on MN!

starlight1234 Wed 14-May-14 14:02:46

I used to call my ds chunky monkey too because he was he is now a beanpole

wigglesrock Wed 14-May-14 14:04:46

I think you're taking it far too much to heart. I've a 3 year old - she's chunky - it's the perfect word to describe her. She's not chubby, fat, small, big boned - she's chunky - like a tall, wide square shape. I've an 8 year old - she's very slight, I have a 6 year old & she was exactly the same shape as dd3 at the same age - her shape is changing now.

MewlingQuim Wed 14-May-14 14:04:58

Best to avoid all comments about physical appearance IMO.

LilacRoses Wed 14-May-14 14:11:55

I love the word chunky! I love chunky babies and toddlers and was overjoyed when dd was that shape! I can't recall exactly what I've said to other parents over the years but I may have said words to the effect of "Your DD is so cuddly, chunky and gorgeous" and no one has ever looked upset. Maybe it's the way people say things. I guess if someone said it in an insulting way it would be unkind but coupled with gorgeous or scrumptious it isn't!

BlueSkySunnyDay Wed 14-May-14 14:14:08

Personally I dont think chunky necessarily means fat. Some small girls have that sort of oblong shape which is "chunky" it bears no resemblance to what shape they will eventually be.

My "chunky" baby is now a tall skinny boy (we joke that he is like the cheese string man in the advert)

She probably is a bit sick of people saying how tall her child is.

LilacRoses Wed 14-May-14 14:17:10

I think you might be right BlueSKy. My Dd is absolutely sick of people saying how small she is. It never bothered me but she loathes it and thinks of it as an insult. She also says "what am I supposed to say to them when they say my god you are SO small, WHY are you so small?!" She's not even that small!

Bonsoir Wed 14-May-14 14:18:31

It's best not to say anything that isn't clearly complimentary about any other person's child.

Burren Wed 14-May-14 14:18:52

I agree with whoever said up the thread that no descriptors other than 'adorable' or 'cute' should ever be used about anyone else's baby or toddler. Whether or not they look like cherubs who just floated in on a cloud, or a mini Frankenstein monster.

MrsKoala Wed 14-May-14 14:21:19

But i think the discussion is the to some of us 'chunky' IS complimentary. I love it when people say it about DS. I don't understand why it's negative at all. It doesn't mean fat.

Bonsoir Wed 14-May-14 14:23:15

Chunky can easily be misconstrued (as this thread has amply demonstrated) so is best not used.

FragglerockAmpersand Wed 14-May-14 14:29:20

I don't mean to be rude, but do you have body image issues that you are projecting here? Everyone knows big chunky adorable fat babies are the loveliest things on God's green earth! I think this says a lot more about you than about the person who made the comment.

You have to be really careful you don't let your DD inherit your anxieties around body image (if this is the case).

Floggingmolly Wed 14-May-14 14:31:02

If she isn't chunky; why will she grow up with people saying this to her face? confused

CouldntGiveAMonkeysToss Wed 14-May-14 14:32:00

Someone once commented that my ds2 was "a bit chubbier and stockier than ds1 isn't he?" I just agreed with her because it's true. Thought it was a slightly odd thing to comment on but didn't think it was offensive.
DS2 isn't fat but he is really short with chubby cheeks (he's only two).

Icelollycraving Wed 14-May-14 14:36:42

I wouldn't be very happy with it. I remember telling a nurse to not call my pfb baby chubby & fatty. I was seething the first time she did it,told her when she did it on the next visit. I don't care if she thought I overreacted.

Worried22 Wed 14-May-14 14:39:36

I get fed up of being told my dd's so tall, maybe she hears it every bloody day like I do! I don't think people should comment on appearance at all, someone always gets offended.

steppemum Wed 14-May-14 14:41:41

well, I have 3 very tall dcs and someone saying 'gosh she/he is tall' was never offensive.

But I would never say a 2 year old was chunky or chubby or short or skinny or ...

because those words are all open to being offensive. I think it is because when you say about your OWN child she is so chunky, that is fine, but it isn't fine to put a label on someone else's child.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 14-May-14 14:41:47

Having made a comment about her DD's appearance I expect she thought you'd not mind her making one about your DD. Fasten your seatbelt this is how it is. An innocent remark or observation can bring a sharp reply.

GreyGardens Wed 14-May-14 14:42:42

I think it's rude. Chunky means fat, or at least stocky. Not something you'd want your child to be, girl or boy I wouldn't have thought.

FragglerockAmpersand Wed 14-May-14 14:48:09

But I'm always hearing people call babies and toddlers 'fat' as a compliment and playing with their gorgeous chunky arms and legs confused

It's a bit of a sorry state of affairs that we're all so terrified of a bit of flesh that even when humans are SUPPOSED to be all plump we don't like it.

JacktheLab Wed 14-May-14 14:50:27

It's the kind if thing i might say without thinking then realise and have to hunt out the other mum to apologise hmm

I bet she didn't really mean anything by it

WolfMoon Wed 14-May-14 14:51:29

I don't think I'd be thrilled if someone called ME chunky, but if someone called one of my eight month old DDs chunky I'd not be remotely offended. They're babies, they're meant to be chunky for a good while longer yet.

steppemum Wed 14-May-14 14:58:14

Is it just me - I don't get this 'they are meant to be chunky'

well I have 3 dcs, and none of them were. That is simply because they were long skinny rabbit shaped and not cuddly round shaped.

I always found it strange to hold someone elses solid baby that didn't fold, as mine were all legs and arms and wriggles, and folded onto your lap rather than standing solid.

There is no right or wrong, they are just different shapes, but they aren't 'meant' to be one or the other?

Dancergirl Wed 14-May-14 15:02:11

I'm amazed so many people think this is ok!

Chunky is in no way comparable to be called tall. I think she was being very rude and I'm not surprised you are upset OP.

You wouldn't call an adult woman chunky so why a child?

Beeyump Wed 14-May-14 15:16:00

'...sad that my daughter will grow up with people saying stuff like this to her face or behind her back?'

I think you're getting carried away here. YABabitU.

MrsKoala Wed 14-May-14 15:23:12

i've been called chunky a few times as an adult. All in complimentary tones i must add, and i have taken them in the spirit that they were intended.

Beeyump Wed 14-May-14 15:28:13

I wouldn't call an adult woman 'cute', but I would call a child that. confused Odd argument.

Maybe the mum was also tall and got picked on at school for it so she is concerned about the same thing happening to her DD? That happens. You never know if someone will be sensitive comments on appearance - it's a bit like how people think it's fine to call someone skinny as a complement without knowing if there is some unfortunate reason as to why they might be skinny like anorexia or some kind of illness. It's best to just not go there.

JonesRipley Wed 14-May-14 15:50:13

Stick to safe comments:

"Your DD/DS has beautiful eyes" is a good sentence opener

GreyGardens Wed 14-May-14 16:04:28

steppemum - not just you. My daughter was never chunky, even as a baby/toddler, it's just a different build. To imply all babies should be is ridiculous.

LilacRoses Wed 14-May-14 16:12:23

Yes, much as I love a chubby baby myself I do agree that the assumption that every baby ought to be is as annoying as these posters on fbook or wherever that state that "real women have curves". Nothing wrong with curves, nothing wrong with any other body type either!

FiddleDeeDees Wed 14-May-14 16:22:25

Many thanks to everyone for their comments!

Just to reiterate, the other child actually wasn't that tall, so it's unlikely her mum had a complex about it! To me, 'tall' is neutral and more likely a compliment, whereas 'chunky' is definitely pejorative...but I see that opinions on that vary so I'll bear that in mind in future.

To the poster who thought I might have body image issues...hmm, as a very healthy size eight, I've never been on a diet or even weighed myself, so pretty sure that's not something to worry about...

Thanks again everyone, the diversity of opinion reminds me why Mumsnet is so great :-)

Revengeofthechocolatebunny Wed 14-May-14 16:26:34

Chunky is vaguely insulting but I would hazard a guess that she didn't mean it to insult. Some mums like to find differences such as if you said, my DD likes Peppa Pig, she might've said, oh my DD likes <insert current preschool favorite> or her mind might have gone blank.

Mine often did, and I would either say nothing or say something crass like that. Times I would walk home and think "why did I say that?"

My DD was very tall and I was always being told that she should be walking or in school by old ladies. Yea right, we actually tend to let them get past the age of 2 before they start school, luv!! Her height comes in handy now as she's been able to reach things down for me for the last few years.

Short arse that I am. smile

Dancergirl Wed 14-May-14 17:58:18

I wouldn't call an adult woman 'cute', but I would call a child that. confused Odd argument

The point is, 'cute' is a compliment to a child. It's not appropriate for an adult so wouldn't be used. 'Chunky' however IS offensive. It implies fat. You wouldn't insult an adult in this way, so why a child?

MrsKoala Wed 14-May-14 18:05:53

No. Dancergirl it ISN'T offensive. you can't catagorically state that. In your opinion it IS. In mine it isn't and it doesn't mean fat at all. DH is 17st and 6ft2in. He is solid and chunky, (he does army circuit training and fell running) he is not fat. I have 'chunky' thighs and calves from my years of dancing and sports. i have been told they are 'chunky and satisfying' by partners (sorry TMI). I haven't found it offensive at all.

Dancergirl Wed 14-May-14 18:27:29

Well I suppose we all have different views. But I don't think the OP is BU because SHE found it offensive.

Goldenbear Wed 14-May-14 18:27:45

Well I agree with others who have suggested it was probably a response to your observations on her daughter being 'tall'. I have a just turned 3 year old DD and get told by one particular Mumat the school gate that she is 'so big', 'so tall', 'is she not going to school in September?' she asks me this quite a lot, it is annoying after a while as DD is hardly a giant - she is 95cm and 3.1 years old.

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