I’ve got skinny kids. Wee little ones. M fits in her “appropriate” bracket of baby clothes (3-6 mo) and until this fall, H did as well, but the jump from the 18-24mo to 2T is a big one, and thanks to the fact he has a Wingfield Butt and skinny jeans are in style, we’re not forking out for new threads just yet.
But with both children, my doctor managed to consistently stress me out about their weight. They don’t follow the normal pattern and arc that his handy-dandy chart says they should. They plane off around 4-6 months and then after a few months of “real” food, make another jump. Well, H did, and I’m guessing M will too because she’s quite an eater as well.
I tell myself all the normal things – she’s not fussy, she doesn’t get mad at the end of a feeding like H did (not because he wants more but because he likes to eat. He gets it honest. Look at his parents). She’s developmentally on target; the little lady is even sitting up on her own pretty well, when mommy remembers to give her opportunity. Really, it’s a miracle any second child develops at all… And the mommy gut in me says, “she’s fine.” I could go on and on about that stupid chart – how it’s made by the formula companies – you know, the guys who want to sell more formula – or how it’s just an average, or how childhood obesity is a rising concern or how the WHO has a separate chart for babies that are exclusively breastfed, but that’s not even the point.
The point? This blog has a point?
The doctor, and the society we live in, operates on a baseline of fear, not hope. We fear what *could* happen vs hoping for the reality which is to come. Waiting and expecting good.
I’ve been following a blog, FreeRangeKids, which linked to a wonderful editorial in Australia today. The blog mostly covers the way we don’t offer our kids freedom to explore the world, or even walk to the bus stop, and encourages parents to let go just a little. It also exposes our culture of fear, and if you ask me, brings to light the many ways we’ve been marketed to simply because we’re scared of getting this parenting-thing wrong.
I have a friend who fears her daughter will choke on small foods. Another fears her son will impale himself an anything long and skinny. Clearly, I fear that my kids will grow up nutritionally deficient. We all have something and it can have the power to control us. We overreact to it. Well, everyone but myself… no one has ever seen me get slightly hysterical about anything, right?
I enjoyed the editorial’s thought:
Parents are particularly vulnerable to this cluster of anxieties. Ideas of nurturing go hand in hand with protecting children from danger. But if some protection is good, more is not necessarily better. Before long it becomes stifling and stultifying. It prevents children from learning to assess danger for themselves, and from thinking how to avoid it. Driving children to school rather then letting them walk, ride bicycles or catch the bus not only wastes energy, it encourages laziness and the lifestyle diseases that afflict growing numbers of the young.
Life is not perfect and cannot be made so. Certainly a small number of children are hurt each year. But by trying to eliminate risk from children’s lives, overzealous parents are stunting their development, and inhibiting the ability of the vast majority to respond to challenges.
So, here’s to a day that says There is no fear in love, because perfect love casts out all fear.