Kids and Weight

“Mommy, do you think I’m fat?”

Those words from my five year-old, uttered in a soft whisper of a bathroom stall as we changed in to her ballet tights and leotard, stopped me dead in my tracks.

“God, no!” I replied, and then quickly wanted to backtrack.

Not because I think my daughter is fat. She is anything BUT. However, I wanted to backtrack because I didn’t want to condone a belief that she should look to other people’s opinions to feel good about herself.

Kids and Weight

So, there I was, squatting in a bathroom stall, trying to figure out how to make sure my daughter had a positive self-image while I got her dressed.  Sometimes teachable moments happen when you least expect them, right?

Instead of trying to skirt the issue, I asked her if she thought she was fat. And thankfully, she said no.

Digging deeper, I asked why she asked that, and she just shrugged.

I still don’t know where this question came from. Maybe it was from a misplaced joke about full bellies after a big meal, and my daughter just grabbed hold of that thought and ran with it.

Or that time last year when a kid larger than my daughter made a comment about my daughter getting “fat”, because my daughter outgrew her 4T shirts. Because, you know, she was growing. Like little kids are supposed to.

Perhaps I’m blowing all of this out of proportion, or that I’m making too big a deal about this question she asked. I mean, she hasn’t brought it up again, and I doubt she sits around worrying about it since then. But I hate that my Kindergartner is questioning her body at such a young age. That she feels, even for a brief second, she might not be as perfect as she thought she was, or that I think she is.

I think some kids are just more fragile when it comes to their bodies than others. And because she’s a girl, I think the issue becomes exponentially more acute.  Those quick little “fat” comments, even though they may be made in jest, can plant seeds in young girls that root down deep, and there’s just no weed killer for that.

I know that my daughter loves her body. She’s not afraid to get in a bathing suit, and she loves every item of clothing you put on her, no matter how it fits. I’ve seen her checking herself out in the mirror when she’s in her undies before a bath. She likes what she sees. And I want to keep it that way. I don’t want any cheap shot to chip her confidence away.

But more importantly, I want to her to continue liking how she feels in her own skin. I want her to appreciate how strong she is, how good it feels to be active, and how nice it feels to eat healthy.

I know far too well from experience how your mind can mess you up. I’ve been so careful not to make remarks about my own weight, or have her see me scrutinize myself in front of a mirror. But even I fall prey to letting someone else’s comments get the best of me.

One day while driving to school, “All About That Bass” came on, and my son yelled from the backseat “Mom! This song is a good one for you!”

My first instinct was to get defensive. “What the hell? I know I’m not as lean and strong as I used to be, but is all my son sees when he looks at my body is a gigantic ass?” were the kind of thoughts ran through my head at that moment.

But after taking a beat, I realized that this was not how I wanted my daughter to see me react. My son was meaning this as a compliment, with no ill intent.  That even though I may be an apple-bottomed girl, I am strong, healthy, and, like Meghan Trainor explains, every inch of me is perfect. From the bottom to the top.

Just like my daughter.


Has your child ever asked you if you thought they were fat? If so, how did YOU handle it? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments section below!

Becoming a Toilet Southpaw

In just a few short weeks, I will be undergoing shoulder surgery for a busted rotator cuff.  Because nothing says “Happy 40th Birthday” better than surgery.

Back in December, I tweaked my shoulder trying to act younger and stronger than I really was.  The lesson I learned?  I’m old.

Toilet Southpaw

While I iced my shoulder religiously after the injury occurred, I never fully got rid of the pain.  After a round of physical therapy and months of rest, my right arm still doesn’t have full range of motion.  While I’m no longer in Yelping Out In Agony pain, this injury has certainly puts some limits on my lifestyle.

Taking off a bra results in wincing and muttered cursing.  Upper-body weight-bearing yoga postures feel unstable and shaky, like I’m trying to twerk but doing it wrong.  If I thought my throwing was pretty pathetic before my injury, it’s downright embarrassing now because my arm resists the follow-through.  I aim for my son, but the ball ends up in the bushes.

I’m over it.

An MRI revealed that I have a high-degree partial tear in one of my rotator cuff tendons.  And there’s probably a bone spur swimming around the pool party.   The options I were given were:

1. Just learn to deal with it

B) Get injections for years, or

III) Opt for surgery to repair the tendon and clean the shoulder out.

While this surgery isn’t required, I’m at a point now where I’m tired of feeling gimpy.  I want to be able to do fun activities with my kids like rock-climbing and not stress out that I’ll one day tear the whole tendon apart.

I worry that if I don’t take care of this now, it will only get worse as I get older.

So, August 16th I’ll be getting arthroscopic surgery to repair my tendon.  Afterwards, my shoulder will be immobilized from anywhere between one to four weeks.


I’m hoping that with my incredible strength and youthfulness (note sarcasm here), recovery will fall in the short end of things.  But I won’t know how bad things are until they go in and take a lookie-look around.

Basically, I might just be useless for a while.  I won’t be able to drive, and luckily my husband won’t be traveling and will be available to help out with the kids.   The bonus?  I get a free pass on cleaning the house and will take a hiatus from my current title of Sherpa.  And I might be able to skip out on wiping my daughter’s butt for a while.


But then, I realized, how will I wipe my OWN BUTT?

I’m right-handed, and that delicate matter is handled by my dominant hand.  I have never, ever even attempted to wipe with my left hand.  Is it awkward and unsuccessful?  Will I need to resort to screaming on the toilet like a potty-training toddler?

“I’m DONE!!!!”

I’m close to my husband, but that is territory I’m not willing to embark upon together for at least another 30-40 years.

So, for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to have to start practicing performing that job with my left hand.  Because I like to be prepared.  And because I don’t like to ask for help.  Especially with my underwear around my ankles.

I will become the switch hitter of bathroom breaks.  The Ambidextrous Ass Wiper.  The Toilet Southpaw.

Ditto goes for brushing my teeth, eating, getting dressed, and generally feeling like a functioning human being.

I’m dreading giving up control over the cleanliness of my home.  I’m afraid my kids will get tired of me not being able to play with them.  I’m not looking forward to asking for help with simple tasks that I’ve been used to doing on my own for over three decades.

And having someone wipe my ass for me?

I’d like to feel youthful again, but not that youthful.