It never ceases to amaze me the difference in language between speaking about a fat child and a fat baby. One of my jobs is at a pet store right now (and I'll leave the hype around obesity in pets for another day) and the other job is at a well known children's clothing store. All day long I have parents, grandparents and their children in and out and when it comes to shopping for a fat baby versus a fat child the language, both verbal and physical, is quite different.
Parents shopping for a chubby baby, with cherub cheeks and wrist rolls and big gummy smiles, are proud of their baby's size. They marvel at how much they've grown in such a short time and happily browse through the racks looking for the next size up, or even two sizes. Having had two big babies myself I commiserate and shop with them.
Parents, and especially grandparents, who are shopping for an older child of five or six or older, are less inclined to my help. When I ask what age they are and/or what size (at my store sizing is done in relation to age) and the child is larger than they 'should' be, the shopper is often embarassed, especially if they're looking for girl's clothing. Their body language changes; they shrug or turn away from me slightly, they wont look me in the face as much, and they don't want to talk about the child in the same way the parents of chubby babies do.
When this happens I try to make the shopping experience fun and throw in some body acceptance talk while I can, making sure to say that 'it takes all sizes to make the world' or 'I'll bet it doesn't slow them down in the slightest' or some other positive comment. So many parents and grandparents and of course, even the kids themselves, have been drinking the Obesity Epidemic kool-aid that I know my few words here and there wont make a big difference, but if it gives those parents and grandparents pause even once it's worth the effort.