When Is Skinny Too Skinny?

Tiny-Small has the problem almost every woman in America, for the past several decades, has been hoping for: She is too skinny. When we go to the pediatrician her head circumference and length are perfectly average, but her weight is so low she drops off the chart. Well, technically she is still on the chart according to Dr. Brian, but when I look at it her weight is about an inch under where the chart ends. I always have a minor freak out about it and Dr. Brian always assures me that “apples don’t fall from the tree” as he sizes up me and my husband.

How Dr. Brian Sees Me

He tells us she has always been thin and probably always will be because her parents are not very big people. I always find this amusing because my daughter’s pediatrician thinks I am thin, but my own doctors are always urging me to lose weight. My primary care physician advises me to exercise, drink only water and eat several small meals a day. My OBGYN told me at my last check up to lose as much weight as possible and if I stop menstruating I have gone too far. Really?

How My Dr.’s See Me

I have a hard time taking him seriously though because he laughs extremely loud and for several minutes after everything he says. He also told me once that women should never leave the house without being dressed nice and wearing make-up. He is from Nigeria and I don’t know why, but for some reason that makes it easier for me to give him a pass on his crazy antics and sexist remarks. His laugh is so infectious I find myself laughing right along with him until I think about what he actually just said. Then I’m like…wait a minute here…. Anyway, back to Tiny-Small. Dr. Brian said she can eat anything, ANYTHING, she wants to. Whole milk, gravy, fat-filled everything and anything that she can stuff into her little mouth and chew up is hers for the taking.

How I See Me

I have this baby food book that is supposed to be full of healthy recipes and ways to fatten up your baby. It’s a pretty good book, but if your child has any kind of nut allergies I’d toss it out the window because almost every other recipe in it calls for some kind of nut or nut butter.

Tiny-Small is a cookie monster in training. All day long she asks, “Cook-cook?” I was starting to worry about how many cookies she was digesting on a daily basis and started looking for some healthier alternatives. My book has a recipe using ground oatmeal and peanutbutter that is formed into a ball and then rolled in a bed of crushed nuts. She loved it.  Then I got super ambitious and tried another cookie ball recipe that used mashed beans as the filling. I used baked beans in a light barbecue sauce. I formed balls and rolled them in crushed nuts. Jim said they were delicious. I couldn’t bring myself to eat one so I will never know. Tiny-Small hated them and she looked at me like I was a big fat liar everytime I offered her one and dared to call them cookies. She did take them at first. I thought she was eating them like crazy until I noticed one of the dogs had bean breath and sure enough she was doling out my bean ball cookies like dog bone candy to every flea bitten rascal that walked by.

I’ve tried slices of avocado strategically hidden in her sandwiches, peanutbutter spreads and real butter, drizzles of olive oil, ridiculous amounts of cheese and full fat yogurt. Tiny-Small eats it all in large quantities (except for the avocado which she seems to despise) and still remains a skinny-minnie. She is still a lean, mean, fighting machine. As a mom I worry about her weight and her nutrition, but I try not to obsess about it.

I do wonder if she will grow up to be one of those women that complains about how she can’t gain weight no matter what she eats and that all of her women friends will roll their eyes in disgust and talk about her possible eating disorder behind her back. Will there ever come a time when a woman’s weight isn’t really such a big issue? When women of all shapes and sizes can be content with their bodies?  I keep hoping the future is better than the past has been in that regard. I want Tiny-Small to grow up in a better world than I did and yet here I am thinking about her weight and she’s not even two years old yet.

I don’t want Tiny-Small to develop a complex over what she eats or how much she weighs so I only subject her to the scale once a month or so and I don’t say much about it. I just keep offering her snacks and high calorie foods and hope for the best. She has another doctor’s appointment coming up in a couple of weeks so I am hoping she has started to fatten up a little, just enough to get her back on that gosh darn chart. Until then I just hope her delicious diet doesn’t fatten me up too much. I don’t want to hear about it from my doctor(s). I don’t want to model a weight obsession (am I too skinny or too fat?) for my daughter either so I also try not to go on and on about my own weight. I just want us both to be healthy and happy people.  I mean at what point is skinny too skinny and most importantly do I really want to find out?

8 thoughts on “When Is Skinny Too Skinny?”

  1. My son is in the 2 percentile for his height and weight. He barely reads on the chart as well. He is almost 13 years old and weighs 56 pounds. Some kids are just naturally skinny. Our pediatrician keeps convincing us he will sprout in his own time. I was worried as well so I started giving him instant breakfast shakes a couple times a day to fatten him up which didn't do anything. I think some kids just have a faster metabolism and are smaller. 🙂

    1. She is VERY active too. I think she burns it all off. I try not to worry, but I guess that is just part of being a mom. It's hard not to think I am somehow to blame, but then again it probably is genetics. Jim is thin and very active so maybe that is just how she is going to be. People always think she is about 6 months younger than she really is and I try not to get all defensive when people make comments. I try to just laugh and imagine that she must look like a baby genius to people who think she is much younger than she really is!

  2. Maya is on the thin side, too. She is also very active… she runs around like a crazy woman and she also eats quite well. I'm like you.. sometimes I worry about it, but then I think she is acting completely normal for her age so then I stop myself. I figure she's got my genes. I have always been “skinny” since I was a little kid. I hated it, too. Because I would always get comments about being “skinny.” I still do.. sometimes it bothers me. People think it's taboo to talk about people being “fat” because it will offend, but no one cares about the “skinny” people. I also worry about Maya growing up and worrying about weight or just general looks. Since it's apart of our society it's hard to get away from, but hopefully, she will have a strong sense of self.

    1. That's what I keep hoping to give my daughter: a strong sense of self. It's the only weapon we have against society and I only hope I can help her develop enough confidence to feel secure in her own skin. I hope she has more self-esteem than I ever did!

  3. I want to smack your OBGYN upside the head.

    I have one ultra-thin kid, one chubby one, and one average. It gets tricky trying to sneak the skinny one extra cookies while packing the husky one low-carb bread in his lunch when he's not paying attention. I'm like, “couldn't you have just given me the same model?” Life would have been so much easier.

  4. Marianne, I can't stop laughing about your request for the same model. That is so funny and so true. A friend of mine has two children with two very distinct sets of allergies that she has to cook around. I am pretty sure dinner time is a bit of a nightmare for her. It sounds like you probably have some similar meal related problems! I wanted to smack my OBGYN too. There is nothing worse than being told to lose weight by an overweight person or that you should be wearing makeup a few days afer giving birth. If we have another child I will be looking for a new doctor!

  5. We had a non-eater, she just didn't care to eat. Then at 15 mo. she discovered PASTA. It worked for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The nutritionist said it had all the elements of a balanced diet. Then when school started, it was peanut butter and dill pickle sandwitches. When she was in High School, her friends would stop by to see what she was having for breakfast, salad, an artichoke, pasta, etc. AND stayed thin through it all. And your husband couldn't get enough to eat, stayed thin–we think it was because he was a perpetual motion machine

    1. Yay! The grandparents weigh in. So, Jim was a perpetual motion machine…he hasn't changed much! I guess Tiny-Small comes by her size honestly then. She doesn't sit still much either. I'm the only one in the family that has any interest in sitting down, especially during meal times!

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