My oldest turns 13 this weekend. He’s my first, the one who made me a mommy. Thirteen! I just can’t believe it. It makes me so emotional. We are so blessed to have him. He had a rocky start in this world, but now he’s strong, healthy and turning 13!
He’s my guy, my pal. I love to be with him. And, he’s a great kid. He works hard in school, is good to his brother and sister and totally idolizes his dad. Sure, he’s starting to have that moody teenager way about him, and he grumbles about doing anything that’s not of interest to him, but he’s still mine.
There’s just something about your first, don’t you think? Maybe because they are the ones who made us mommies. Maybe because they’re the first to go through everything. Or that we go through everything with them first! Whatever it is, my guy is pretty special. And now, he’s going to be a teenager! Yikes!
My daughter has the perfect body. She’s a lean mean 11 year old soccer playin’ machine! Her little belly is as tight as a drum. And, I think she even has a six pack. She’s perfectly perfect. But she doesn’t think so. She thinks she’s too straight. She should have curves, she says. The other girls do. She actually asked me if she was fat and that was why she didn’t have curves yet!
FAT. I hate that word. Oh, and DIET that’s another. Since my children arrived, I’ve been ever so careful about using those words. Girls and boys today are so body conscious, at such a young age. When my son was in first grade he asked me what “diet” meant. He’d heard it at school. I told him it was what you ate – that a giraffe’s “diet” consisted mostly of leaves. That was good for a while. A few years later my daughter asked what “calories” were. Her friends were checking them on their snacks at recess, in third grade!
Kids today are surrounded by body image issues. My daughter’s 5th grade class goes to “fitness” class and uses adult sized treadmills and elliptical machines. We didn’t have fitness equipment when we were kids! We played outside. All of the time.
My husband and I try to lead by example. We teach our children that the key to being healthy is to be active, eat well and get the proper amount of rest. Yet, somehow, they worry that they are fat or that they will become fat. Something bigger than us is getting to them. Peer pressure? Advertising? Television?
I don’t know what it is. But here’s what I do know: My children are perfect just the way they are. I will continue to tell them so day after day. And hope that as we approach the teenage years, my words will somehow become louder and stronger than anyone else’s. People come in all shapes and sizes, and what’s inside is really what matters. I will continue to lead by example. I will continue to treat them as children; encouraging outdoor play, serving healthy meals, setting appropriate bedtimes. I will continue to offer them treats, encourage them to lay under a tree and read a book, and allow them to stay up late for special occasions. I will never use the words “fat” and “diet” in front of them. And, however they turn out, they will always be perfect to me.
We had a lot of response to this blog post – as many of you are experiencing the same things with your kids. We came upon an article recently which is very relative to this post and extremely well written and insightful and wanted to share it here:
My kids think I’m stupid. I knew the day would come when they’d be teenagers and roll their eyes, thinking they knew everything. Problem is, they’re not even teenagers yet!
But, I know why they think that. Over the last 12 and a half years, they’ve worn me down. I no longer answer their questions with well thought out, articulate answers. Heck, I hardly even suggest we “look it up.” No, now the answer to such things as “was the T-Rex around before the Longneck?” or “Did Paul Mc Cartney sing that song when he was with the Beatles?” is simply I don’t know.
You know why? Because I just DON’T. Maybe I used to know and all that knowledge has been pushed aside with new knowledge like the proper dosing of Tylenol and Motrin, who needs to be where and when, if I switched the laundry and when school projects are due.
I hadn’t really noticed until the other day, while driving in the car my daughter asked me something and I answered with the standard I don’t know. She told me I’ve been saying that a lot lately.
Yeah, well, I guess they’d better get used to it. I’m not getting any younger, and their questions aren’t getting any easier. Luckily, now the older ones are answering some of them for the little guy. At least he won’t be stupid.