There really isn't anything like a four-year-old telling you, "You're fat." I swear I've never seen her mom's head swivel so fast, or a more angry look on her face. I didn't even have time to be upset, because all I could do was turn to the four-year-old and say, "Ooooo, you're in troublllllle...." Maturity - 1, Sue - 0
There's never a wrong time to teach kids that saying or doing mean things is not acceptable. But you know what I wonder?
Who decided "fat" was a mean thing to say?
No - seriously. I get that she may have thought she was making fun of me, and Mom had to correct her. Kids have to be taught there's a right and wrong time and place to say things, and also that there are some things you just shouldn't point out. This little girl doesn't have a mean bone in her body, and I know she felt bad that she may have hurt my feelings. I'm very sure she learned that lesson.
But if she thought that "fat" was a way to make fun of me - she had to have learned that from somewhere. Who decides which characteristics are negative, and which are positive? More importantly, who is passing on those decisions to the kids? She's observing something that is true. Maybe "fat" isn't the nicest way to phrase it - but I'm definitely not thin. And she's four - it's not like she's learned words like curvy, or plus-sized.
Really, it's not much different than if she says, "Your hair is brown and Mommy's is yellow." It's just an observation - and it's true.
Maybe sometimes, there needs to be a lesson about what words mean, and how much power they have. Maybe the idea is not to just teach kids not to say something - but why they shouldn't say something. Or maybe sometimes, the lesson should be that someone's differences aren't necessarily her flaws.
If the idea is to teach little girls not to insult each other by using the word "fat" - maybe the way to do that is to teach them that "fat" is not an insult.