It was pre-school registration day. Dressed in an exercise outfit, a gym bag in one hand and a bouncing red-headed 4-year-old girl on the other, a trim, frazzled mother burst through the office door. “Oh, I am sorry I’m late—my exercise class ran long—you must be the nurse. I am Mrs. Anderson and this is Kristin. I guess I have to fill out her health forms for pre-school.”
“No problem. Have a seat and I’ll get them for you. Kristin, maybe you would like to sit on the couch. I have a book you might like.” I retrieved the forms. Mrs. Anderson grabbed them from my hand, stood at the counter, threw her gym bag down, took a pen from me, and started to write. “I hope I can do this quickly, nurse. I have a hair appointment at 11:00.” I assured her there wasn’t much information needed.
I sat on the couch with Kristin and handed her a book. She put the book down and proceeded to remove her white sandal. “Nurse, I need to show you my ouchie.” She placed her bare foot on my lap and pointed to a small blister where a strap had rubbed. I looked at it and asked, “Maybe I should fix that up for you, do you think? Would that be all right with you, Mrs. Anderson?” Distracted briefly from the forms Mom looked up and nodded. I cleansed the blistered area and applied a colorful band-aid.
Kristin said, “Thank you, nurse. You are so nice—even if you are fat.”
Immediately, Mom—who looked panic-stricken—lifted her head and shouted, “Kristin!”
Hurriedly I said,“Oh, Mrs. Anderson. That’s OK. Kristin just made an observation.”
Mom looked back at the forms and I returned my attention to Kristin who looked up at me with a serious and curious expression. I knew she wasn’t ready to leave the topic.
“Nurse . . . just WHY are you fat?”
Mrs. Anderson put down the pen, picked up her gym bag, stuffed the forms in a pocket, and looked even more flustered. She waited as I answered, “Well Kristin, when we eat more than our body uses up, we hang onto that food as fat (I patted my tummy). This is what happened to me. I have eaten more food than my body uses.
Kristin nodded, “Yes! I guess you did, nurse!”
By that time, Mrs. Anderson, with Kristin in tow, ran for the door as she called back, “I’ll bring these forms with her on the first day, nurse.”
“See you then,” I called as Kristin turned around to smile and wave.
I laughed as I made my way across the hall to share the happening with the school counselor. We rejoiced together in the honesty of little ones—confrontational sometimes, but beautiful.