Monday, January 31, 2011

Why should it matter so much?

Maddy is a fabulous and healthy little girl. She's meeting her milestones when she should, she's growing and learning and exploring. And I wrote a blog post about how I am just not concerned with comparing her to other kids, and their milestones. That is true in all areas but one. Weight.

From the start Maddy has been on the heavier side of the percentile scale, 90th percentile. She hasn't moved from that curve and is gaining at exactly the right pace. She's awesome and healthy! But already, there are those little comments creeping in about weight. When Maddy has been around other babies that are lighter, I have seen other women fawn over how lean and long the other baby is, while making "those" comments about Maddy. That she's a "solid" baby, or obviously a "good eater". I have heard the comments about her rolls and her little belly. And it's not just the mythical "them" - I have been guilty of liking the percentile scale used that makes my child leaner.

Maybe I am being paranoid, but I fear for my daughter, in a society where even at one year old there are subtle digs at weight and the preference for lean. I hear people fawn over the child that is tall and skinny. I hear sly comments over the rolly-polly child... I have already talked to my parents and Neil about how I do not want to talk about food in a negative way around Maddy, I don't want her to grow up seeing her parents complain about their weight. I don't want her to know what a diet is before she's in school. I want food to be about taste and enjoyment. I want her to learn what is the healthy thing to eat not because I am quoting a weight watchers book or talking diet, but because this is just the way it's always been. Veggies and fruits all the time. Lean meats and complex carbs. No desserts every night. No chips for snacks... I want her to live healthy eating not have to learn it later, in school, like math or history. I want her to love herself for who she is, the awesome girl she is.

And everything I want for her, I have to show her by example. I have to love myself, for who I am. I never had food issues growing up. I ate what I wanted, until I was full. And if I wanted junk food, it wasn't in the house and so wasn't an option. I grew up with healthy ideas around food. And then friends and marketing and society and laziness set upon me and those healthy habits were ignored. But because of that fundamental non-issue with food, I just have to rediscover the healthy (versus learn it). And I want that for you too, my Nunu.

Oh Maddy, life for a female can be so hard. There are so many conflicting messages and ideas of what you should be. I am going to do everything I can to make sure that you are as prepared as possible, with healthy ideas and habits. But I am fallible myself, my girl, and can't be the perfect teacher through example. But between what I do and say, I'll do my best for you. And 90th percentile or 9th - you are beautiful and healthy and exactly who you should be.

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