Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It Begins

HR had an interesting well child check up, in that he figured out that he may not be afraid of the doctor anymore (it took the first half the appointment and lots of hysterics before realized that) oh, and we were notified we had a borderline chub on our hands. I really like our pediatrician, and he's always very level-headed and laid back. His MO has been to more or less congratulate us on keeping our child alive as well as showing the bare minimum of interest in his development. He's been at his job for a long time, has seen a lot of parenting styles, and focuses on the bottom line. Which is great, of course. But I was surprised when, as we were going over his growth rate in the past year, he pointed out that while HR stayed on the same trajectory for height (the short-ass percentile), his weight went from being consistent with last year's percentile to several weight classes higher. In typical Dr. O fashion, after asking whether HR is a big eater (he's not), he reasonably suggested switching from 1% milk to skim, and moved on. I don't think he's particularly concerned as he may just be between growth spurts, but the jump up in percentiles was enough to catch his attention, and he wouldn't be much of a physician if he didn't share it with us.

HR's a solid dude with a bit of a belly, but it never once crossed my mind that he could have a weight problem. We haven't forbid sugar or occasional treats in general, but in our everyday life he eats nutritious, whole foods (which we purposely feed him so he will thrive, not be thin), and doesn't consume all that much, either. Of course he'd eat all the world's cookies if we let him (we don't), and he's not much on veggies these days, but we sneak them in when we can and he loves fruit and things like black beans. I'm not sure how the numbers on the scale crept up for him, I'm inclined to believe it'll all even out on its own, but it was still a bit of a jolt that this was the takeaway from the appointment. Our instinct is to keep encouraging him with the healthful foods, and physical activity, and not worry until we have something to worry about.

Look, this is pretty much my philosophy:

(I would never actually wear this shirt, and I would add some things to the list and rearrange the hierarchy), but they are what they are, indulgences. I want to embody equilibrium for my kid. I don't want him to grow up with body image issues, and how Mike and I live and even subconsciously conduct ourselves will make the biggest impact. I would never fully give up anything I enjoy unless there was a medical reason to do so. Because why? Ice cream is good. I could be skinnier if I didn't eat it or lots of other things, but what's the point? I think it's up to me to lead by example in regard to treats and moderation as opposed to restricting and overdoing it in retaliation. Besides, being thin isn't actually the end game. I know that goes against some ways I've behaved, i.e., the great bikini experiment of 2012, but I never did anything drastic in that quest, and in the end I decided to be happy with my imperfections.

I am not scared of having an OMG Fat Kid. I mean, for one, I would think HR was the most beautiful child on earth no matter what because I am his mother and that's part of the job. But I also believe that physical appearance isn't an indicator of a person's value, and I don't want HR to internalize the message that small is good and big is bad. I want him to be healthy, to live a long happy life and be able to do whatever he wants to, meaning, not be limited because of health restrictions that could have been avoided. But I don't want any of us to be stressed out with any one aspect. Balance, always balance. I think that's the path we we've been on, but it never hurts to check yourself along the way. And Mike and I will continue to check ourselves as his primary influences (lest we wreck ourselves). Mike, that includes you worrying aloud over whether things make you look fattoush.

There's a whole world of bullets we've dodged by having a boy child and not a girl in this respect. But being born one sex doesn't render him exempt from societal pressures or make issues, be they mental or physical, inapplicable. We want the best for our kid, and it's our job to do what it takes to achieve whatever we think that is. Including navigating some complicated waters before you even realize they're open for swimming.

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