Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thinking about the things we write on our children's hearts...

This morning as the biggest Baby C was getting ready for school, he started a conversation with me that left me a little unsettled.  He said "Mommy, you know that we should eat healthy food MOST of the time.  Like, maybe take one day a year to eat junk food."  I said "Yes, Colin. That's right.  We should try to choose healthy food most of the time, but I think once a year to eat junk food is a little extreme.  That's pretty much all we eat sometimes, though.  Maybe less would be better. What do you think?"  "Yeah- I think less would be better." Long pause.  "Mommy, if I ate less junk food do you think I would lose weight?" That hit me like a ton of bricks in the face.  He's 7.  What on earth have I said around him or allowed to be said around him that makes him think he's anything less than perfect just the way he is??  What's wrong with this picture, that a SEVEN year old child would be concerned with dieting???

Big Baby C is built like Frank.  He's bigger than the average 7 year old- taller, thicker but I love that about him.  He's within the guidelines of 'healthy'- he's not overweight by anyone's standards but his own.  His size came in handy on the football field this year, when he was known around our house as 'the Beast' (his request). Is that what did it?  I tease him about having my big behind, in a very loving way, and tell him when he gets older, the girls are going to love his tushie.  Is that what did it?  We do try to limit the soda and other crap our kids have access to, but are we applying the same rules evenly?  Are we as strict on our other two children? Is that what did it???  Somebody please tell me how we have failed this  
little guy so miserably that what he's worried about at 8:00 in the morning is losing weight?!?!

Big Baby C's heart is enormous- he is so sweet and sensitive.  We have to push him to stand up for himself with some of his friends.  I remember in Kindergarten when one of his friends called him fat-- he was crushed.  His teacher was amazing and tolerated me telling him to wipe a booger on the other kid. (that was the nicest thing I told him to do.  I won't repeat the rest) I saw him self consciously play outside around the other boys in the neighborhood this summer, shirtless, just like all the other boys. I think about all the times I told him to put a shirt on and wonder if somehow I sent the wrong message (I was worried about the sun- he rarely sat still long enough for me to reapply it periodically throughout the day.  I also encouraged him to wear a baseball cap and bug spray, but that doesn't seem to have scarred his soul.)

The good thing about parenting is that every so often, you have a chance to reexamine how you do things- not really a chance for a total 'do over', but a chance to adjust your course. 

This morning, I'm adjusting my course, friends.