This just in: Our* fucked up relationship with food and health is having a definite trickle down effect on our kids. The Victoria Times Colonist is reporting this morning that kids under 10 have seen a spike in treatment for eating disorders like anorexia and bulemia. 5 year olds are being admitted to Sick Kids in Toronto for these problems. Five years old. This is freaking me out as Gabe is approaching 5. He'll be going (back) into kindergarten soon. Will there be kids in his class saying "I'm not eating X because it'll make me fat." ? Or worse yet "You shouldn't eat that, it'll make you fat."
We've all been trying really hard with him to talk about size diversity and not make any kind of value or judgement statements about food or people of size. When he pats my roomates belly, or mine, and makes a comment, or says something about the people around him, we're quick to remind him that it's rude to point or stare and to not say things that might hurt others. The other day we were at the mall and a very large man was having a coffee near us and Gabe was all "Look at that man! He's so big!" He was just amazed, but I know that comments like that can be very hurtful so we asked him to be quiet and reminded him that people come in all shapes and sizes. I try very hard not to comment on how thin he is. I know his body is still transforming and that ten years from now he STILL wont be settled into his adult body.
Like most parents (?) I worry that the foundation I'm laying wont be enough, that the pressures of school and fitting in will erode what we've built. I'll just have to reinforce and maybe take preventative measures. Last year sometime I did an interview with Shannon from Atchka and I was adamant that parents have to stand up for the kids, for ALL the kids, on this issue. We can't let doctors, teachers, media or even other parents bully our kids about their weight. Maybe it's time I put that teacher's college training to good use and put together a package of info for the parents in Gabe's school.