Thursday, July 14, 2011

Parenting Fail: How, it seems, I've given my daughter a weight complex

Despite my strong resolve to NOT pass my own body image issues to my pure, innocent child, it seems I have failed.  And she's only 21 months old.

A few weeks ago, when my daughter was going through a "hold me all the time I think the ground might be lava" phase, I may have, MAAAAY have told her that she was getting heavy.  I didn't call her fat (though she's heard me call myself fat, and repeated it, and there's a fat fish in a Dr. Seuss book that she likes to point out), I didn't call her chubby, or big, or anything I thought sounded offensive.  But now, every time I pick her up (only me, mind you, she doesn't say it with anyone else) she says in her most exaggerated tone: "Woooooaaaaaah Heeeaaaavy!" Come on Madelyn.  I wasn't THAT dramatic about it.  Cut me some slack!

When I was a child, my mom worked out some.  She had (like all women who have ever existed ever) put on some weight having my brother and I, and worked hard to try and get back in pre-parenting shape.

Now it's important that I say here, that I don't remember any of the following:
1) My mom complaining about her own weight
2) My mom seeming depressed about her weight
3) My mom calling herself fat
4) Anyone else calling my mom fat
5) And DEFINITELY, my mom calling me fat

What I do remember is a slightly shorter list:
1) That my mom occasionally exercised, mostly to videos on TV.
2) That she did some of this with me.
3) Sitting with her and doing stretches, when I had to have been no older than 4.
4) I remember that it hurt, and that I thus deduced that anything that caused me pain must be "healthy" for me.

Here's the point, though:  Somewhere in there, I became crazy.  I have memories of my 5, 6, 7 year old self, who was a little tall and knobby-kneed, thinking I was fat.  I was certainly a little taller and broader than a lot of my classmates, but that was my bones.  Not my fat.

I have no idea why I felt so insecure as a child, but I vowed to myself that I would do everything in my power to avoid that same fate for my child.  And what did I do? I went and called her heavy.  And she reminds me of that fact every freakin day.

Of course, as I am regularly reminded by friends and family, Madelyn is skinny.  Despite her sizeable cranium (that one's from me, thankyouverymuch) it seems quite obvious she has "her father's physique".  Seriously guys?  It's that obvious?  I'M A FRIGGIN SIZE 6, EVEN SIZE 4 ON A GOOD DAY!!!  I'm not a dang elephant or anything here, she... well, she could have my physique... Oh never mind.

Point being, she'll find plenty to complain about.  Every woman does.  I just really hope I didn't give her something to complain about before she hit the ripe old age of 2.

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