Thursday, May 1, 2014

we are having that conversation

I probably should have done that middle box bigger....

One of the things I've dreaded most has just happened. My 8 year old said she was fat, and she meant it.

princess- "why am I like this mommy?"

Just to clarify, she is not. she doesn't look fat and she is well within her healthy weight for height and age. She is also incredibly active and sporty, which  translates into sturdy and muscly (as opposed to thin and dainty) BUT she still has that round baby belly which  she will most likely grow out of, and  which many of the girls in her class already don't.

It scares me because I remember my 8 year old niece asking me that same question many moons ago, a few years before she developed and eating disorder. It scares me because EVERY SINGLE THING MY DAUGHTER SEES in the media tells her she should be unreasonably thin, including:

barbie (enough said)
disney characters
any other kids movie character
TV adds
music videos

I mean, except for the usual fat-funny-friend character, the way media portrays it women are meant to be  thin, small,  it's almost like we shouldn't take up too much space in the world.

So after my initial clumsy gut response "don't be silly, you are not fat" and following my clumsy responses to previous similar comments in the line of "mommy why are you so soft?" I  decided it was time to have the chat. Sadly, one of many I suspect. I brought her and 6 year old trouble (who happens to be skin and bones)  and explained to them how there is thin and fat and a healthy in between. I explained how most of the images they see fall outside of this healthy weight, and then I played for them  one of the many videos that show how the magic happens

me- "did you understand what I am trying to say?"

princess- "yes,  they are lying"

bless her. she got it. Still, I know this is just the beginning of a long battle. one that I have been waging with my own body for years, one  of finding a balance between a healthy attitude to your body, food and weight, while trying hard  not to feel like an outcast because you don't look like you are "supposed to".

and so, the battle continues.