Mommy, Does This Make Me Look Fat?

I have sons, which shields me from some of the oddities of the young female set. Not to say that boys don’t have their own sets of peculiarities. But as the mother of boys, there are a few things I just don’t have to deal with. I know, I’m a girl, but there are some things I’m glad I don’t have to deal with. For instance, boys generally don’t have to change into new outfits several times a day. On the other hand, they could stand to change their underwear a little more often. Like once a day would be good. But girls seem to require a lot of outfittage, and that would drive me batty.

 

With boys, there are generally no arguments over whether platform shoes may or may not be worn to gym class. Boys tend to not squeal. I’m not saying all girls squeal, but come on. Girls are often the source of some serious squealing. And I mean, ouch!

 

Also, in a houseful of fellas, the plaintive refrain, “I am so fat!” is not a common one.

 

I get to hear the girls’ side of things from a good friend of mine, a friend who has a daughter named Lily. Lily is eccentric, wildly fashionable, and a very interesting girl. She is ten years old, towers over my ten-year-old son by at least a foot (and is disconcertingly a head taller than I am), reads “Dwell” magazine, and favors Chinese pajamas. Did I mention she is ten? She is mad about Japanese fashion. She has pink hair. She is not a slender, willowy tall girl, she is a big, healthy, gorgeous Polish princess. (Literally. Lily’s Grandmother, an actual Polish Princess, had to escape

Poland when Hitler moved in! How cool is that? Not the escaping Hitler part, but get out! Polish Princess? Swoony!)

 

At any rate, I love this girl, and I love the madcap and imaginative outfits she assembles. She is a fashion inspiration. My admiration was cemented when I overheard her friend make a comment to the effect that boys don’t generally appreciate her unique fashion sense, and Lily responded matter-of-factly, “Why should I care what the boys think?”

 

This is a very self-possessed little girl. She has confidence without arrogance or superiority. But every now and then, according to her mother, there is a sigh of “Mommy, my belly is too big,” or even the dreaded, “I am so fat!.” These rare outbursts are met with reassurances about her beauty -- about inner beauty, outer beauty, healthy beauty, and the fact that she’ll probably be growing another twelve inches and everything will all work itself out.

 

But this is the kind of thing Lily must contend with on a regular basis at ten years old: her tiny, skinny little friend comes for dinner. The friend is served a lovely chicken burrito. Grilled chicken wrapped in a tortilla. A meal this girl seems to enjoy, but very selectively, mostly picking bits of chicken out of the tortilla. When the girl’s mother arrives to pick her up, my friend mentions that the girl didn’t seem to eat a lot of dinner, but did pick a little chicken out of the tortilla. This woman assures my friend that her daughter has had plenty to eat, adding with a chuckle, “She just hates the carbs.”

 

 

pittardm
06.17.08

Hooray for Lily! I hope my two girls (and my boy for that matter) are as secure about themselves as she appears to be.

I have 5 1/2-year-old triplets. Yes, I am concerned about passing along unintended food and body image messages. I am still about 40 pounds overweight. I've been on a reduced carb diet since February and have lost about 40 pounds. Half way there! I don't make a big deal out of what I eat and don't eat, so they might not even notice I'm not eating things like rice, potatoes, bread, and so forth. Or they might. And when I finally have that plastic surgery to correct my stretched-out, flopped over belly from having triplets, what then? What message will that send? Hopefully, only the message that mama simply wanted to be healthy and be able to wear normal clothing again. We'll see.

JaisMom
06.04.08

I actually have a problem with my SON and eating. He is 3 and won't touch a vegetable or fruit or meat (other than chicken--uh nuggets).
He only wants to eat dairy and carbs.
I don't know how this happened as I eat very healthy- granolas, soy, lean meats, fresh produce, and all whole grains.
I am at my wits end with trying to get him to eat anything. We have tried forcing, bribing, leading by example- everything short of a feeding tube! Any suggestions?>>

Tall Celeste
06.03.08

Lordie - I don't want to think about what I have ahead of me down the road. My daughter is 4 1/2 and is already 4'2.5" and has all the extra weight she needs to keep growing. She is so tall that people often mistake her for 7 or 8 and expect such behavior from her (and I can't count the number of times I've heard my mom say that life would be easier for Lindsay if she had been a boy - and she's 6' herself and I'm 6'1!!)

So; while my daughter is growing at a rapid pace there is nothing skinny about her - and I'm glad I don't have to force food down her throat. Now, to just learn how to respect food? That's going to be a trick…

mrojas504
05.30.08

I am a young mother with a young (almost 2) daughter. My whole life I never dealt with being overweight. I was always thin. Not scary thin, but just right thin. I watched what I ate, and would work out occasionally. I don't see a problem with passing that along to my daughter (or son if I have one) and making sure she is aware that being overweight is not ok. And a lot of girls can be aware of what they eat without letting that turn into an eating disorder. America has a weight problem, and its up to us as parents to make sure our children are not raised eating fast food and sugar. Being overweight causes a life of poor health and social unacceptance.

mrskris
05.27.08

My daughter is 17, and I have heard "Does this make me look fat?" more times than I would care to count. Our heritage has everything to do with food and eating (being Italian, Greek, Hispanic and Jewish says it all). My daughters other problem is that her two brothers are very underweight. We have to count their "carbs" to make sure they are getting ENOUGH to eat!!! After several times of listening to my daughter complain about her weight, we took her to the doctor who told her she was too skinny too!!! It didn't help much, but it reminder her that maybe it wasn't her outside image that needed the change but her INSIDE image. (Also being told if she contined to loose weight she would have to get weekly shots like her brothers didn't hurt either.) Body image is not what is going to last, but self-confidence in oneself will. They won't listen to us, we're just their parents. But, just keep incouraging them. And hopefully, they'll eat.

Brave Mom
05.27.08

I love the Lily. And I love when the Lily in my shines. The ta-heck-with-you if you don't like something about me. Regardless of what it is... Good for her not caring what boys think. AND her Mom deserves a bottle of expensive, yummy wine- Well Done Lily's Mom! We all need to encourage our children to let the Lily out.

The Mother of the friend of Lily should cracked upside the head. "She just doesn't like carbs?"
SERIOUSLY!

Just yesterday at a Memorial Day cookout my 10-yr-old neice wasn't eating and I said to her, "Get yourself some dinner!" Her reply was, "I don't really eat much. I've already stuffed my face with gummybears." To which I asked her, "How will your body get the protein, vitamins, and minerals it needs to keep your hair beautiful?" Her reply was, "What's protein? I just don't want to eat." So I left her alone. Later, when the brownies and cupcakes came out she was hungry for that.

I could sense she was allowing herself to eat what she wanted, but not eat too much. This is a girl who is always sick, spraining an ankle, crying. And who has made many comments about what number is on her shirt tag. She is very aware and believes that stick skinny is good, 'big boned' is bad. I fear for her poor relationship with food, and more importantly herself.

MamaKaren
05.27.08

Ugh. I spend so much energy trying not to pass on any unintended messages to my daughter (almost 10) about food/dieting/looks. My boys are much easier in that realm, no question. I've struggled with my own body image and food issues for as long as I can remember (I was a dancer back before the general public knew what anorexia nervosa was), and I vowed that I wouldn't pass my neurosis along to my daughter. She's bombarded with it, though, despite all my best efforts. I am hearing altogether too many accounts of how boys are becoming too body-conscious as well, though, and that scares me. Middle school boys are on a quest for washboard abs, and become concerned about what foods will lead to the best muscle building potential.

2CatsNoWaiting
05.27.08

This is precisely why I have cats. However, occasional random thoughts of adopting, oh, in my fifties, maybe, a la Diane Keaton are made almost acceptably appealing by Ms. Mellor's postmodern parenting tips. I don't care what boys think, but I do care what she thinks, which is why I read her articles about how to rear the children I don't have yet in the most genteel and evolved manner possible.

squeakere
05.23.08

This is precisely why, when we started our adoption process and were asked whether we had a preference for a boy or a girl, my husband and I resoundingly said "BOY." Girls have such a rough time of it these days. They have pressure from their friends, the media and their parents to be perfect, and "perfect" no longer just means good grades, a legitimate talent, and a winning personality. No, now you have to be stick thin (and apparently, wear hooker clothes). NO THANK YOU! Pass the dirt and the mud and the two-day-old undies!