I think one of the most beautiful things is an adorable baby, with the chubby cheeks and chubby legs. (And let’s be honest, pretty much all babies are adorable!) The kinds of cheeks and legs that beg to be tickle. This chubbiness fades as they get older and leave the toddler stage. Suddenly they aren’t babies any more and you know that because all the chubbiness has smoothed out into a more adult-like body.
Imagine my horror when I’ve heard mothers exalting their baby’s thinness!
At the pool this morning I heard a mother proudly announce, “She only weighs 22 pounds and she’s over three years old!”
I have been watching this skinny child running around the pool, wanting to feed her a cookie or some ice cream. I have been watching the mother, formulating my theory of parenting based on the mother’s appearance. (That’s another posting, though!)
I did double check to see if the mother was horrified that her child only weighed 22 pounds. But she looked proud and was pushing her chest out like mothers do when they announce something their children have done to make them proud.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a similar conversation. Last spring, I was surrounded by mother-speak in the pediatric dentist’s waiting room. The mother from Nashville, with the quite annoying drawl, was telling a soon-to-deliver mother that her youngest daughter was still wearing her clothes that were size 18 months.
“She’s been wearing them for months and isn’t gaining any weight at all.” Again, she was thrusting her chest forward, waiting for the other mothers to tell her how wonderful she was.
Me? I wanted to start tossing Cheetos into the girl’s mouth! I wanted to take her to Dairy Queen!
I’m finding this whole thing frightening. Why would you want skinny babies? Why would you be proud that your baby isn’t growing?
Are these kids future bulimics and anorexics? Are they eating disorders in the making?
I do believe as parents it is our responsibility to feed our kids healthy foods. I don’t let my kids have unlimited soda or snacks. Fruit, eat all you want. Oreos, there’s one pack and when it’s gone it’s gone. (Since I have raised King and Kong, they don’t last very long!) We do dessert on weekends, not every night. When I’ve been concerned about weight with the kids, I buy fewer snacks, more fruit and vegetables.
This post originally ran on July 22, 2009
Maybe I would think of it differently if I was raising girls. I hope not. I’m pretty sure I would never be concerned that my infant or toddler child was thin enough.
I do believe as parents it is our responsibility to raise good citizens. Does it really matter what you look like on the outside if you’re kind-hearted and generous? That’s the message I want my kids to take away as adults. I think it would be a wonderful world if more mothers felt this way…