Crystel came upstairs the other day and said she weighed 79 pounds. I didn’t pay any attention to this. We only have one scale in the house and that is in the basement bathroom. I just figured that she stepped on it after she was done showering.
She had never mentioned her weight before. She is ten-years-old and not overweight. But then she did it the next day and again the next.
I had it in my mind to inquire about her sudden interest in her weight, but then it slipped my mind. Neither Jody nor I ever talk about our bodies or other people’s bodies. We tell them … if you are hungry, eat; when you are full, stop eating. If you don’t like something, you don’t have to eat it. They have our permission to leave food on their plate.
We have intentionally not made food a focus in our house. Though, Jody and I, do have controls on the amount of soda the children drink by having cold water available in the refrigerator and as a general rule they don’t drink soda at home. We also don’t deny them candy, but they have to ask for it.
Our thought is … if candy isn’t taboo then there isn’t any reason for them to hoard or hide it. It is December 27 and they still have Halloween candy left.
Jody and I haven’t ever been concerned about Antonio and Crystel’s weight—in large part, because they regularly exercise at Tae Kwon Do.
One disagreement that Jody and I have had about the children eating cropped up when the kids were little. Antonio or Crystel said they were hungry, and Jody told them that they could wait until breakfast. I told her later, “You just need to know … if they ask me for something to eat, I don’t care what time it is, I am going to let them eat. I’m not ever going to send a kid to bed hungry.” We head off any arguments by giving them a warning early enough in the evening … “If you want to eat, eat now.”
One day after school, when Crystel tells me, “I weigh 80 pounds,” I remember to ask her about it.
“Are the fourth graders talking about their weight at school?”
I tried again. “Are your classmates weighing themselves?”
“I don’t know. Why?”
Well, why the interest, I think to myself. I don’t want to make too big of deal about it, because then for sure it will become a big deal. That’s how it works with Crystel.
I tried one more time. “Do you tell classmates what your weight is? You know some classmates might be sensitive about their weight.”
“Who? Who is sensitive?”
Hmmm. She is just like her Mama Beth, answering a question with a question. I wasn’t getting anywhere fast.
“I don’t know,” I said. I needed to change the subject. I asked her the first thing that came to my mind, “Are you hungry?”
Jody and I don’t have glamour magazines lying around the house, and Crystel hasn’t started getting any teen magazines. So … maybe she is just curious about how she is changing from day to day.
Doesn’t matter. The scale is going in the drawer, in the cat room, by the litter box.