(Obviously, I let DB pick the title and he did so before he read it. Then insisted it was still a perfect title. He says it is more an example of Post-Modernism than my usual Neoclassical titles. Whatever.)
Like most women, I struggle with my body issues and insecurities. I worry that I’m not thin enough or pretty enough or whatever enough. And I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t wrestle with these issues.
Growing up, I was always the fat kid. Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t morbidly obese like some of those poor kids you see on Dr. Phil (“My two year old weighs 100 pounds and I don’t know what to do!”). But I was definitely heavier than any of my contemporaries. And I definitely knew it. And I was definitely unhappy about it.
I can remember attending Weight Watchers meetings with my mom as early as seventh grade. Talk about a disconnect between me and the other Fatty McFatties (as I like to call my fellow Weight Watchers) – there I was, on the verge of puberty, trying to work on coping skills that didn’t involve food with 20 women in the midst of menopause. We may not have had a lot in common, but we all knew we didn’t fit into society’s model of attractive.
As I’ve gotten older, I have gotten to be marginally more comfortable with the way that I look. I’m happy with my “uniform” of Danskos and jeans and Merona T-shirts. I don’t even bother with makeup nowadays, when the thought of leaving the house without a full face would have sent me into a panic during college. (Although if this is actually due to my becoming more comfortable with myself or my being extremely lazy is anyone’s guess.) I know that I will never be waifishly thin and, most days (okay, some very infrequent days), I’m okay with that.
Looking at the Littlest Brewster, I want better for her. I don’t want her to wrestle with the insecurites and low self-esteem and body image/self worth issues that are so prevalent. I don’t want to teach her that how you look is more important than how you behave.
But sometimes I feel like it’s already starting. And I feel like part of it is my fault because I’m transferring my own insecurities to her.
See, the Littlest Brewster is really not so little. Granted, she’s the littlest Brewster in our house, but she’s certainly not the littlest kid in the toddler class (even if she is the youngest). She’s chubby. Husky. Plump. All those euphemisms that people use to describe kids with a little extra meat on their bones. I mean, the girl was over 9 pounds when she was born, so I’m not exactly surprised that she’s continued on in this trend. She’s currently weighing in around 27 pounds, which is nearly over the 98th percentile for her age according to the CDC’s chart.
And, remembering how much it friggin’ sucked to be the fat kid, I can’t help but worry for the Littlest Brewster.
It doesn’t help that every. single. person. comments on how adorably chubby she is. I mean, I know. I know she’s adorably chubby. I know you just want to nom on her rolls. But she’s also smart as a whip. And funny. And incredibly annoying at times.
Seriously, though, you all are giving me a complex about my chunky monkey.
It also doesn’t help that the Littlest Brewster absolutely loves to eat. (Not that I blame her. I love to eat too!) It seems she is constantly eating. Last weekend, my dad looked at what we had made her for lunch and exclaimed, “Will she actually eat all that?!?” Sure enough, she did. BUT, then I look at the things we are feeding her and I feel better. That enormous lunch? It was peas and carrots, mashed cauliflower, and some shredded beef. With some blueberries thrown in for dessert. Yes she eats a lot, but it’s all wholesome, nutritious, home cooked food. She may be pleasantly plump, but she didn’t get that way from crackers and cookies and junk food.
So I’ve decided I need to develop a thicker skin as regards LB’s, and my own, physique. As long as she is eating healthy, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods, she can have all the rolls of baby fat she wants. And as long as I am doing my best to be healthy, my body can be as curvaceous (to put it in the best possible light) as it wants. I mean, this body made a whole ‘another person, so I guess I should cut it some slack and treat it with the respect it deserves, rather than berating it (and myself) for being a Fatty McFatty.
Although as the DreadBrewer points out, if we ate half as well as she eats, we would both be considerably lighter. (Granted, she’s not consuming any additional calories from beer either, but that’s obviously beside the point. :))