Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I've been thinking a lot lately about Orlando's body image and how I want him to grow up in regards to his perception of his physical self. When I think about my own childhood I clearly remember talking about how fat we were as early back as grade 4. We would have been 8/9/10 years old then. Recently I started clearing out boxes in the garage and came across diaries, SO many diaries with the usual trials and tribulations of being a teenager. There were the "I hate my brother because he did this" entries the "I'm running away from home" entries and the "I LOVE him" entries with the love calculations of our names together - 32% IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE. Then there were the lists of what I'd eaten, if I'd thrown up that day. The earliest I found of these troubling entries was in year 8. So sad. I was never super skinny, never looked "sick". I highly doubt most people would have known about my secret activity. But it was going on. Absolutely pointless at the end of the day but never the less it happened. I wish I could go back to my 15 year old self and tell her to stop being so stupid, enjoy the "turkey and cranberry roll from the tuckshop". It's not a bad thing to eat a roll for lunch! I've got to admit much of this naive, desperate behaviour occurred around times when mum was very sick. Perhaps it was my way of controlling my world? Who knows.
There is talk now with Orlando's eating habits. People have told me he eats "too much" and not to feed him anymore - note I have never, ever been told this by his child and maternal nurse. She thinks his development is fantastic. I have tried to cut out breastfeeds, he wakes up during the night crying for a feed and consequently gets 2 or 3 more than usual. So I stopped that. I have tried feeding him less solids, then the same night waking happens. So I'll just keep on going on and ignore what people say. He is thriving, he isn't "fat" or abnormally huge. I say he will be huge like his father but I literally mean he will be a huge almost 200cm like his father. He will tower over me one day.
The last thing I want is for Orlando to go through body image issues (they have been documented to be on the rise for males). I want him to look at people as a person not as fat, skinny, ugly, pretty, black, white, purple polka dot. He needs to make decisions about people based on their personalities - are they kind, respectful, honest. Do they make him happy or sad, scared or comfortable.
To this end I'm thinking of banning fat talk, fatty talk, "I wish I was skinny" talk from the house. Crazy? Perhaps. But isn't it better to talk about how fantastic vegetables are and how they make your body happy and glow. Don't we all remember that carrots make you see in the dark? I want him to have a comfortable, honest, healthy relationship with food. Not to be scared of a turkey and cranberry roll.
It might sound somewhat silly to already be thinking about these things but it's no more silly (in my books) than introducing a plethora of other growing up tools from respecting his own body to learning a second language. Why wait, when the foundations are being built now.
Just some thoughts for today.