“Vivian, why didn’t you eat your snickerdoodles?” I’ve emptied her lunchbox to find the sandwich, juice and kiwi missing. The only thing left are 1.5 homemade cookies, lonely in their tupperware.
“Well….I don’t want to get a belly like yours Mom. I want to eat a low fat diet.”
I want my daughters to be healthy. I acknowledge that I have work to do on my body, and have told them that the parts I’m not happy with are because I eat poorly and don’t always get enough exercise. I’ve told them that we exercise to keep our bodies strong, and we eat good food like fruits and veggies and protein to make sure we have good fuel. And we eat cookies or candy as a treat.
But then one day I saw something posted at Vivian’s school that mentioned a diet. I worried about it, thought about asking then school, but after some thought, realized it was on the “parent” bulletin board, and wasn’t meant for the kids anyway. But I still worried-what are they teaching about healthy habits and food? They serve mostly junk in the cafeteria-I don’t find shepherd’s pie or lasagna particularly healthy. And to be honest, she watches far more TV and plays online much more than I’m happy about-and most days, that’s an hour, maybe a bit more.
But I can’t be next to her every moment of the day. I wander by when I’m home, check what she’s doing online, what she’s watching. But while I’m not a fan of her necessarily having access, I also realize she’s a child growing up in a new world, and I can’t, and won’t cut her off. I can provide the commentary. I can remind her that healthy insides aren’t always tiny outsides, just as I can remind Vivian women can be warriors.
But what if it isn’t enough?
What if I cannot fight it all? The magazines, the commercials, the clothing, the people around us-what if no matter how comfortable I am in my skin, how often I remind them that health is priority-I worry that the message they will still get is that you aren’t good enough. You must give something up. You must be something else.
How many 6 year olds don’t want cookies?
Or perhaps, she’s just internalized what we see and hear and LIVE each day. That food is TEH ENEMY and we must gird our loins in preparation, and is just spouting what she sees.
Or maybe, instead of saying she ran out of time, she just said whatever came to mind, and it doesn’t mean anything.
She’s 6. I didn’t think I had to worry about this just yet.