Friday, October 10, 2014

My daughter's beautiful belly.

The Headlines:

This post makes me sad to type.

My daughter thinks her belly is too big.

I think it's beautiful.

She's 8.




This morning my son, daughter and I went to the library together before school.. it was raining… as we walked we huddled under 2 umbrellas and sang "rain rain go away come again another day..." it was sweet and fun and we all giggled.  I think it may be a flash memory I'll carry forever.  If only it could BE like that forever.  But for some reason I think the tide is changing.

My daughter is a special little girl.  Isn't every girl… to their Mother?  When she is in pain I think I hurt more.  Most Moms do.  So this is not only confusing but difficult as I struggle through it.

I know a subject many girls struggle with… is their weight.  At one point in every girls life she looks at herself in the mirror and doesn't like what she sees.  It happens to everyone.  It's probably something we will deal with on and off forever.  I didn't like my body in high school.  I was a cheerleader and one of the football players used to put his arms out, near his hips and wobble back and forth as he walked when he saw me: to indicate that I had big hips.  I was a petite, curvy girl probably with a little "baby fat" still packed on.  Back then, I wished I had a boyish figure.  Straight up and down, stick skinny.  But alas… that was not to be!  I lost that "baby fat" finally in my 20's and have never really put it back on.  Weight hasn't been an issue for me for years.  I don't talk about it - I don't even get on a scale.  Ever.

So when my daughter, at 5 - in kindergarten, said to me… "why is my belly so big?"  I was a little taken aback.  "Huh?  Why? Did someone say something to you?"  No she explained, no one did, she just wanted to know.   I told her bellies are big when kids are little and as they grow, they stretch out.  It was dropped.

Until 1st grade when she asked again.  Again dropped.  

Then again in 2nd.  Nothing too serious… just here and there and I continued to reply, "little girl belies are supposed to be like that!"

But this year… she's talking about it a lot.  She is not a big girl.  In fact, she's just right.


But she sees herself in the reflection of our new shower glass.  And she sucks in her belly.  Then at dance class… where all the little girls wear those half tops and those bellies are in full view.  Last year, I made her cover up.  This year she wants to fit in because "everybody wears half tops!"  But she came home one week asking why some of the younger girls had a flat belly?  Remember: I said as a girl grows her belly stretches out!

Sometimes I feel like I am seeing the future.  And I am worried.  I want to help my daughter become a happy, healthy, self confident, strong, independent little girl.  But am I doing that?  Or is this an indicator that something's going awry?

I decided to check with her doctor and she says, after looking at her height and weight - she is completely normal and in no danger zone for being too heavy.

Now, I am changing my strategy.  I'm attacking it head on.  This afternoon I had an open discussion about her belly.  I told her if she had that belly on her for the rest of her life, could she still be happy?  Do you know what the answer was?

"No."

Ahhhhhh… that was surprising.  "Really?" I said, "your belly will determine your happiness?"  No she decided, it wouldn't.  But then she showed me what she wanted her belly to look like.  She really sucked it in.  Oh dear.  I reminded myself one of  BP's (the husband) favorite sayings: it's a marathon, not a sprint.

My daughter has always been such a hopeful, happy, easy little girl, since the day she was born.  My son on the other hand… can you say HANDFUL?   Is that a girl/boy thing?  Are boys just more difficult as babies and then it flips?  Girls are harder as they grow?  I'm actually asking you, the reader, this question - because I don't know the answer - though I have a feeling I'm about to find out.  I'd also ask you… if you've had this question of weight from your young girls (yet)?  Please leave comments if you have...

Yep, this morning my son, daughter and I went to the library, singing together in the rain before school.. such a precious and priceless pleasure.  If only we could sing in the rain together... forever.

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