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!
Labels: abuse, judgement, moo, neglect, overweight, underweight, weight