Do you know what scares the living shit out of me? Being a mom. Do you know what’s scarier than that? Screwing up the one and only life you are 100% completely responsible for.
My husband came home the other day and he goes, “Joden is a mini you. He is fat on the inside too…he talked about food the whole way home” and we laughed. Let me introduce you to my son. Joden is 10 and he had a pretty rough start at life. I was at my all-time-fattest while I was pregnant with him. I actually managed to gain 10 pounds in 1 week (I keep telling myself it was ALL water weight) and at my six-month appointment, they told me that my kidneys were shutting down and I needed to go on bed rest. That was a Friday. I went into the hospital on Saturday and the doctors surgically extracted a 2 pound 2oz baby boy by emergency cesarean section the following Tuesday. That stubborn little shit stayed in the hospital for 98 days because he refused to eat from a bottle. I honestly thought I had won the lottery as he grew up. He has always been tiny because of being premature and I thanked God above that he did not get “my genes”. He’s short but skinny AF. Well, recently, that has changed. Now, please don’t get me wrong, Joden is NOT fat. His face has a cute little pudge some days and other days I don’t even notice it. He lifted his shirt the other day and introduced us to his little belly that is slightly hanging over his pants.
Here is where I freaked out. I went into the other room and immediately talked to my husband. Oh my God, I have made my son fat. How is that even possible? My mind starts whirling thinking this is where it all begins…just a little pudge. Its winter and its been super cold so maybe he hasn’t gotten outside to move around enough. He hates sports so getting him to do anything besides ride his bike is like pulling teeth. I can’t control what he does or eats when he’s at his dads house on the weekend but that’s ONLY two days. How much food can he actually cram into his mouth in two days? I dropped him off one Friday night and I said to his dad, “Um, Joden has pudged up a little so maybe watch what he eats??” He just stared at me with that mouth breather look on his face. Ok, that went well. Good talk.
I am solely responsible for this child. I put him on this earth and I can control what he puts into his word hole. He really is just like me. He loves food. He has found a new love in cooking (which I also loved to do with my mom as a child) and of course he has a hankering for the sweet stuff. He talks about food all the time too. “Mom, what’s for dinner? Mom, did we eat lunch?” Mom, can I have a bite of <insert ANY food here>?” Mom, do you remember when we lived at the old house and we would get those chocolate lava cakes from Dominos? Those where good, right?” Yes my short fat friend…those were delicious. He’s not fat…I’ve just noticed a bit of hibernation weight.
I can’t tell him I’ve noticed that he’s put on a little weight. Is this normal? Do boys put on a little weight and then go through a growth spurt? I’ve never had a 10 year old before so I’m not quite sure how they work. I immediately made a doctors appointment for his routine physical just to make sure that we’re all good-in-the-hood. Maybe I’m worrying about nothing, but what if I’m not? My mom is an enabler. This is not news to her. We’ve recently talked about it and she admits it. I am aware of this and I try REALLY hard not to be an enabler as well but this is probably one of the biggest struggles I have. I love to bake and because I typically cannot eat what I bake, I bake it anyway and then give it to other people to eat. Of course, this includes my son. Obviously I don’t let him eat ALL of whatever it might be but I cannot deny him a delicious bite of chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, and of course those caramel banana woopie pies. He’s just so cute! Of course you can have ONE. But am I leading him down a dark, dangerous path of fatness?
I cannot sit down with him and say, “Joey, I’ve noticed that you’ve gained (seriously, we’re only talking a few pounds here, his BMI is actually normal.) and I think you need to be VERY careful about the foods that you eat”. I did, however, tell him we need to be aware of the foods we eat so we can be healthy. I just all of a sudden feel VERY hyper vigilant and I want to stop him from eating ANYTHING sweet. He has to take a snack every day for school so of course I try to pack him an orange and even beef jerky but a cookie every now and then wont kill him. AND HERE IS WHERE I FREAK OUT! Damn it Linda, you let him have too many cookies and now he’s going to grow up to be just like you and be fat. Then he’s going to hate himself and hate you for making him fat.
I specifically remember being in the third grade and putting myself on a diet. I’ve mentioned this before, getting on the scale and weighing UNDER 100 pounds (99 to be exact) and my dad saying that if I stayed that weight until high school, I’d be the skinniest girl there. I ate salad and went for walks and drank water for like a week to “stay thin”. I do NOT want this lifestyle for my child. I want him to be happy and healthy and not even worry about his weight. I don’t want to project my fatness onto him.
I know what you’re thinking. Just calm down and give him good food to eat. While I do this, it’s not THAT simple. I haven’t been a helicopter mom and controlled every bite he shoves in his word hole because he’s a boy and he’s always been damn near see-through-skinny. “Joden is so lucky to not have YOUR genes”… I figured he’d be just fine because he got off lucky and got the “skinny genes”. Every kid deserves a snack every now and then and I think a tiny snack bag of fudge stripe cookies are ok. You and I both know that I am not going to be a gluten free, cage free, paleo, fruit-only kind of person and I’m not going to force that on my child either. I am going to be healthy and eat different foods in moderation. I just need to calm the eff down and be a little more vigilant about what Joden puts into his word hole. I don’t need a fat-on-the-inside-kid too.