Bedtime is chat-mommy-up time. Now that my kids are getting older, the issues they bring up as I’m tucking them into bed have moved beyond the latest toy they must have and whether I’m going to work the next day.
My daughter tells me about the boy who pokes her at school and the kid on the bus who says people with brown skin aren’t allowed in his house. (My sweet girl said, “But mom, that means my teacher and my best friend couldn’t go there. I don’t think that’s very good.” We had a good conversation about judging people by the way they look. I love her.)
My son asks me why girls pick on boys and what to do. (I promised him girls like boys who are sweet like him, but they don’t know how to show it other than to pester, and that I did it when I was his age). We’ve talked about choosing good friends and how to respond to bullies.
But this Friday he said, “Mom, I have a question. Do you think I’m fat?”
I wanted to cry.
This shouldn’t even be on his radar.
My eight-year-old boy is worried about his weight. He has absolutely nothing to worry about. He likes a wide variety of foods (including salsa, much to my pride and joy), he is active and fit, and he is exactly the weight he should be.
I told him no, he was not fat, and that if his doctor was ever concerned about his weight, we would talk about it. It seemed to put his mind at ease… however, this particular child of mine keeps a lot to himself.
Everything in me wants to pound out a tirade against the media or against processed foods. But the truth is that we don’t watch much TV, read magazines, or listen to the radio, and I cook homemade meals and don’t use a lot of processed foods.
So it’s coming from somewhere else.
I wonder if my children’s school mates are getting messages about their weight and passing along the angst to mine? Or is it the rampant poor parenting that results in bullying and appearance-insults in younger and younger grades? Am I sending messages about weight without realizing it?
What do you think?