Judgement of Children's Size

I get a lot of comments on Moo's appearance.

"Isn't she tall?"
"She's so thin!"
"She not keen on food?"
"Do you struggle to get her to eat?"
"She's not got much hair."

Yes, she's tall and no, she's not a bad eater, in the slightest...in fact, I've not quite seen a child who can put it away quite like my daughter.

Moo is tall, yes, but so am I. I stand at 5'8" and my father is over 6'. My brother-in-law is also well over the six-foot mark as are their cousins (my husband is the shortest at 5'9"). Moo has obviously inherited this (along with my husbands fine, blonde hair, my big feet and our joint large noses) and yes, it does make her stand out a little bit. We cannot meet new people without hearing about how tall she is for two, someone recently said she looked about five (bit of an over-step in my opinion but okay).

It's not just her height that draws attention, but her size in general. She has a teeny waist and very long, thin legs. She is incredibly slim, so much so that on more than one occasion, she's had to of been made an 'emergency belt' when her trousers have continuously fallen down. Trousers are a nightmare; if they fit her waist, they're far too small in length and anything long enough (even her own age) is usually too big around the middle. Elasticated leggings are my friends and she lives in them...and dresses though they pose their own problem. More often than not we end up with a too-short, potato sack situation.

So why is she so thin? Do I starve her? Ha! Fat chance, that child is addicted to the fridge! This is a child that multiple times in the last month has had two breakfasts.

She is very active, it's not often youll see her sat still or even quiet. She started walking at nine month this and has seemingly not stopped since. She is constantly moving and even before she could roll over, she was constantly shaking her arms and legs around! Health visitors and doctors have never seen a problem with her, she's within normal centiles on the growth charts and is a happy, healthy little girl who enjoys swimming, climbing and football.

But comments on her weight hurt. The look on people's faces as she runs around in a dress that hangs around her skinny frame, as they tell me how thin she looks. Yes, I know how slim she is, I'm her mother, I give her a bath everyday. She has a healthy diet and I certainly don't withhold treats and nice things from her (I don't throw them at her either).

With this in mind, I wonder if those same people regard larger children with the same sort of sympathy and judgement. Surely, it would only be fair that they look upon a bigger-framed child with the mind of abuse like they do my daughter. It's clear that people think I don't feed her properly, that maybe I even neglect her so obviously, a larger child would provoke further thoughts of abuse, yes?

Do I think that if a parent is responsible for their pre-schooler being over-weight, it is a form of abuse? Well, actually, I do. Under-fives are incredibly vulnerable and have no control what-so-ever over what they out in their mouths, they are given the food that they eat. If a child is over weight because of his or her lifestyle then yes, I believe that to be a form of neglect. Do I look at every larger child thinking that they have a poor diet? No and I wouldn't expect you to, either. There are children who are naturally larger just like how mine is naturally thinner and their parents don't deserve judgement.

As for Moo's hair...the day it reaches her shoulders, I may cry...I'll no doubt be retired by then!

Clare

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Little Pink Teacup: Judgement of Children's Size

Friday, 13 September 2013

Judgement of Children's Size

I get a lot of comments on Moo's appearance.

"Isn't she tall?"
"She's so thin!"
"She not keen on food?"
"Do you struggle to get her to eat?"
"She's not got much hair."

Yes, she's tall and no, she's not a bad eater, in the slightest...in fact, I've not quite seen a child who can put it away quite like my daughter.

Moo is tall, yes, but so am I. I stand at 5'8" and my father is over 6'. My brother-in-law is also well over the six-foot mark as are their cousins (my husband is the shortest at 5'9"). Moo has obviously inherited this (along with my husbands fine, blonde hair, my big feet and our joint large noses) and yes, it does make her stand out a little bit. We cannot meet new people without hearing about how tall she is for two, someone recently said she looked about five (bit of an over-step in my opinion but okay).

It's not just her height that draws attention, but her size in general. She has a teeny waist and very long, thin legs. She is incredibly slim, so much so that on more than one occasion, she's had to of been made an 'emergency belt' when her trousers have continuously fallen down. Trousers are a nightmare; if they fit her waist, they're far too small in length and anything long enough (even her own age) is usually too big around the middle. Elasticated leggings are my friends and she lives in them...and dresses though they pose their own problem. More often than not we end up with a too-short, potato sack situation.

So why is she so thin? Do I starve her? Ha! Fat chance, that child is addicted to the fridge! This is a child that multiple times in the last month has had two breakfasts.

She is very active, it's not often youll see her sat still or even quiet. She started walking at nine month this and has seemingly not stopped since. She is constantly moving and even before she could roll over, she was constantly shaking her arms and legs around! Health visitors and doctors have never seen a problem with her, she's within normal centiles on the growth charts and is a happy, healthy little girl who enjoys swimming, climbing and football.

But comments on her weight hurt. The look on people's faces as she runs around in a dress that hangs around her skinny frame, as they tell me how thin she looks. Yes, I know how slim she is, I'm her mother, I give her a bath everyday. She has a healthy diet and I certainly don't withhold treats and nice things from her (I don't throw them at her either).

With this in mind, I wonder if those same people regard larger children with the same sort of sympathy and judgement. Surely, it would only be fair that they look upon a bigger-framed child with the mind of abuse like they do my daughter. It's clear that people think I don't feed her properly, that maybe I even neglect her so obviously, a larger child would provoke further thoughts of abuse, yes?

Do I think that if a parent is responsible for their pre-schooler being over-weight, it is a form of abuse? Well, actually, I do. Under-fives are incredibly vulnerable and have no control what-so-ever over what they out in their mouths, they are given the food that they eat. If a child is over weight because of his or her lifestyle then yes, I believe that to be a form of neglect. Do I look at every larger child thinking that they have a poor diet? No and I wouldn't expect you to, either. There are children who are naturally larger just like how mine is naturally thinner and their parents don't deserve judgement.

As for Moo's hair...the day it reaches her shoulders, I may cry...I'll no doubt be retired by then!

Clare

Labels: , , , , , ,

10 Comments:

At 13 September 2013 at 09:03 , Blogger Kathleen Gillen said...

I feel your pain. Patrick is skinny. Food has always been a war with him. He was born one of nature's sparrows. Eating because he has to, not because he wants to. Its only now at four and a half that he will *ask* for food and be hungry (school starting seems to have triggered it and I am so happy he's telling me he wants snacks). I have to buy him jeans with adjustable waists as the only thing that will stay up. Aside from jog trousers in a size half his age and too short in the leg! Clothes are a nightmare!

I haven't had comments on his weight (Except in his first year when getting him to gain was a struggle!), but the sad thing seems to be that the comments seem to be aimed at girls. And we wonder why girls are getting obsessed with their weight and appearance at a young age.

 
At 13 September 2013 at 09:05 , Blogger SarahMummy said...

I hate that it's OK to comment on a person being thin, but you would get lynched for saying someone was fat! My kids are all slim, but not unusually so, so I haven't experienced this with them, but I have had it myself because I'm size 8 - not underweight, but thinner than most people. Apparently it's fine to comment on that - not as a compliment - but we all have to pretend fat people aren't fat. I have no problem with overweight people at all, but just fail to see why only thin people can get judged out loud. Rant over!

 
At 13 September 2013 at 10:21 , Blogger Belle du Brighton said...

This kind of thing bugs me too. People should keep their mouths shut, and they sure as hell wouldn't say to a parent of a chubby toddler 'oh, are you feeing him all the biscuits' would they? I know it's hard but try not to let it get to you, she's clearly a well looked after and loved little girly, and she'll be a taller and slimmer than all these peoples kids when she hits teenageer-dom and look gorgeous with it i'm sure!
People comment on Athena being long already, and with a 6'6 dad she may well end up being tall too (his sis is 6foot) but as I am 5'2 she's may also end of being average height and may just have started life as a longun, but I think i'm destined for a life of hearing the same as you have, at least for a few years yet!

 
At 13 September 2013 at 13:25 , Blogger char said...

I'm not a parent, but as someone who receives comments about my appearance a lot of the time, I know a little of what you must be feeling. How is it acceptable for anyone to comment on the appearance of anyone else? I hate the fact that it's socially acceptable to comment on a thin person's size and shape by telling them to eat a burger, but when it comes to someone who is overweight, society these days seems to tell them to embrace this, be happy in their body - body confident, I think it's termed. I don't understand the difference of opinion.

I'm sorry you have to put up with comments like this which must be insulting to you as a mother.

 
At 13 September 2013 at 13:56 , Blogger Bethany Wells said...

I don't know what sort of comments mum had but I can remember comments from an adult, I think it was like an after school club when I was in American equivalent of reception calling me a "little porker". Unfortunately I still am but to this day I remember it. And every time after.

On the other end of the scale (...no pun intended!) look at Matt. Skinny as a rake. I've had people ask if he has an eating disorder. Nope. Eats more than me, drinks a beer with dinner, doesn't gain weight. He's so paranoid though because so many people feel the need to comment.

I know Moo is happy, healthy and amazing. But I can't imagine that as a mother, how much these comments hurt! I'm just sorry you have to deal with such small mindedness. (Btw if I mention how tall she is, it's just a 'ooh she's grown so much since last time I saw her!' Sort of way lol! X

 
At 18 September 2013 at 11:27 , Blogger Clare Levett said...

It seems that for girls unless they are perfectly proportioned in a cute, baby-model kind of way, they suffer at the hands of negativity. Thing is, medically, she's never struggled.

 
At 18 September 2013 at 11:28 , Blogger Clare Levett said...

This seems to be a lot of people's feelings. Why is it okay to tell anyone, regardless of size, whether they look okay or not? I'd never think to tell someone they were too thin/fat and I'm sure my daughter only gets it because it's really more aimed at me and my skills as a parent.

 
At 18 September 2013 at 11:30 , Blogger Clare Levett said...

I hope for you and Athena that people don't comment on her height, it's so hard, as a parent, to install a feeling of loving oneself regardless of the hand served, when people are so critical. I want her to be proud she's tall and slim and know that regardless of exterior, it's all about what's inside, anyways!

 
At 18 September 2013 at 11:33 , Blogger Clare Levett said...

Thank you Char, it is insulting but no more so than when people make personal remarks like they do to you :( I think if people are going to be judgemental then fair play, whatever makes you happy, but you can't pick and choose one extreme and not the other.

 
At 18 September 2013 at 11:34 , Blogger Clare Levett said...

Not sure if people just don't realise that children aren't stupid and can understand what is said to them :(

 

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