Yesterday my kids both had an appointment where they got weighed, and I was surprised at how much they've both grown. Alana is 41 inches tall, 37 lbs. Little chubster Ava is 30 inches tall, 25 lbs. When did they grow? It had to have been when I was asleep, maybe even on Thursday night before the appointment. They definitely weren't that big the day before.
Before they stepped on the scale I was asked how much each girl weighed when they were born. At that moment my mind was like a virtual magna-doodle, and someone took the little lever and wiped it clean. I drew a complete blank. It's not exactly a question I get asked everyday, then add in the heat and my starvation at that moment. Those components all equal mind freeze.
I tried to remember. Alana was......she was 7 lbs....7 lbs 4oz?......7 lbs 11oz?....no, it was definitely 7 lbs 9oz. In hindsight this is the correct number, but it took me forever to think of it. Then came Ava, my baby. Her birth was less than 2 years ago, I should be able to remember. Ava was.....7 lbs.....7 lbs....7 lbs....4oz. Yeah. That sounds okay. 7 lbs 4 oz. We'll go with that. She deemed this an acceptable answer, but later I remembered that Ava was actually 7 lbs 2 oz. Does any of this really matter at this point in time? What does their birth weight, if it was normal, have to do with anything today?
I want my kids to be a healthy weight, but I don't want it to be the focus of their lives. I feel like teaching them healthy eating habits, and occasionally intervening on Ava's potato chip addiction, should be more of a central focus than concentrating on one number.
Everyone can be so obsessed with weight, even letting it rule their lives. I can remember focusing on my weight as a teenager. Not eating disorder obsessed, but I took pride in being thin. And thin I was. I didn't even reach 100 lbs till mid-tenth grade. That's probably when I reached my full height of 5' 7". I clearly remember stepping on the scale in ninth grade, and being happy when the nurse had to move the weight on the scale below 100 lbs, to accomodate my 95 lbs.
In high school being skinny was like an accomplishment, even if I did nothing to get that way. Even as a skinny skinny teenager, I still found things to complain about. Narrow hips = no hourglass figure, which then = no butt and looking like a boy in a bathing suit. My hipbones actually stuck out on the sides so they could look like love handles in the wrong pants, and even though there wasn't an ounce of fat on my body I still found imperfections. Surprisingly enough I never complained about my small chest, because boobs are nothing but trouble.
Despite being able to find imperfections, I still managed to maintain a healthy body image. Skinny was all I aspired to be, and I couldn't really complain about my lack of cellulite. Still can't.
I stayed okay with my weight, even adding a few pounds post-high school, until I got pregnant with Alana. When I got pregnant I was 24, and 125 lbs, which is at the lower end of the healthy weight spectrum for me. Even though being skinny had always been effortless for me, I suddenly found myself petrified of gaining weight. I was deadset on only gaining the minimum. For at least two months I counted calories. After I realized I never even came close to 2,000 a day, I actually started eating a little more. It's amazing what never drinking soda does for you, and I haven't drank soda since I was a teenager.
I eventually loosened up about eating, and at the end I was proud to have gained exactly 25 lbs. But then I came home from the hospital. That was the part nobody warned me about. The even though I gained no extra weight and had a 7 1/2 lb baby, I still kind of looked pregnant because my hips had widened slightly at the end and my uterus wasn't it's normal size. That part was hard for me to deal with. Well, that and the stretch marks that ruined my beautiful stomach.
You can't exactly come home from the hospital and start doing crunches. You have to let your body heal. And you can't exactly go on a diet when you're breastfeeding, you're fricking starving all the time and suddenly there's way more room in there without a baby taking up all the space.
Within a couple of weeks I could wear my regular clothes again, and I lost all my weight pretty quickly. But my stomach will never look the same. If I end up with a third baby, I'm buying some spanx!
Even with a moderately healthy body image, I've still obsessed about my weight. Even now, at 120 lbs, sometimes I don't care for my reflection in the mirror. Those are usually the times that I've eaten a dozen cookies in one day. Or half a loaf of zucchini bread. But it's nothing a spanx tank top can't fix. And a trip to Walmart for some perspective on what overweight people really look like. Thanks random people at Walmart who could probably use some cardio. I'm not judging though, do whatever you want!
All I want to instill in my kids is an acceptance of who they are. Beauty isn't always the same thing. Weight is just a number, it shouldn't define you. I'm fairly sure Alana is secure in who she is, and pretty confident about her appearance. I'm sure because she tells me she looks pretty. Ava is still a baby, but that doesn't stop her from fishing for compliments. She likes to go into her room, put on some high-heeled dress-up shoes and a random piece of jewelry, then come out into the living room so we can all tell her how nice she looks. Then her face lights up, because of course she agrees.