Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"It makes me look fat!"

This morning was so cold here. The heat actually kicked on. So my first thought when I got out of bed was to make sure the kids were dressed warmly for the bus ride. I took Avery out this weekend to buy her warm clothes so I knew she had clothes to wear. I grabbed some long pants for Cullen and a matching tee shirt. I handed them to him and asked him where his sweatshirt coat was. He had left it at school 2 days in a row and it was still there. *sigh* So while the children again ate pancakes with strawberries and whip cream, (yup Daddy upped the anti once again) I went back to Cullen's room for a sweater or something. I found instead a pull over navy blue sweat shirt. Nothing outlandish about this sweatshirt. Nothing at all.

I went back upstairs and put it on him while he was still eating. He started moaning and saying "get it off me". He was pulling at it and as his father and I insisted that he wear it til he got to school he actually started crying. I was dumb founded. At this point I was trying to get Avery dressed. She is always my hardest because it the clothes in any way upset her comfort she will not wear it. He never wears pants or leggings because she does not like how they feel around her crotch. I geuss she wants to be "free". But she helped me pick out her new clothes and they all had leggings for warmth. I also spent a good 15 minutes trying on shoes with her. We decided on 2 pair, exactly the same except for color, and she now tells me she "hates" them. *shakes head and sighs* But compared to her brother she hardly made a peep.

As we were leaving the house, Cullen mumbled that the sweatshirt made him look "fat". WHAT?! I thought this was something a girl was conerned about when she got into her teens. Here was my 7 year old boy worrying about it. I am dumbfounded. Cullen has always been very concerned about how others see him and about being accepted. That is why he is constantly trying to sit in the back of the bus. The kids back there gave him a hard time once and he so wants to be included. He tells me daily what seat number he sat in and had no trouble at all. But that he understands in some way that he is judged by his weight is very unsettling and sad.

I struggled with my body image all my life. And now that I am the heaviest I have every been I look back and realize that when I was in high school and college I looked great. I would die to have that body back. But even then I was unhappy with it. I don't want my son OR daughter to struggle with this issue all their life. But I am at a loss as to how to counter it, especially in a culture that reinforces "acceptable" body images in television shows, commercials and even print.

I have never mentioned weight to him or stressed the need to be thin. How can I with the way I am looking right now. But Cullen must be getting messages from us. His Dad is dieting and trying to get to a certain weight. There is no hiding the fact that I need to lose weight too. I may be sending out my own negative vibes. But I think my course of action is not to focus on the weight issue but more on his need to fit in and be accepted. Those things are important at his developmental age but he also needs to develop a sense of self that he can hold onto independent of the world around him. I know, easier said then done!

No comments: