Category Archives: Culture

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?