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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Parental Rant

Last night we went to my youngest sons school where they were having what is called "Spring Fling". The chorus, of which my boy is a member, did a few selections, then they had an auction and then the kids did a short musical based on Schoolhouse Rock (another post entirely lol).

During this, I couldn't help noticing something. Nine out of ten of the children present there (as well as their parents) were very overweight. I don't mean baby fat that a teen growth spurt (or a few days of being careful in the case of the parents) would take care of. I mean obese. The girl who was the lead in the musical was wonderful. Charismatic, funny, all around great. Also, ten years old, about 4'10" and probably weighed 160 pounds. It pisses me off.
Not at the children though. They are just that; children.

I have six kids. The only one carrying any extra weight is my daughter, who is also the mother of a fairly young child so I am confident hers will come back off. She's been working on it. All of my boys though are fine.

I am somewhat overweight and because of that, I was determined that my kids would not follow my lead. I watched what they ate (still do with my 12 and 14 year olds), was careful about snacks. Pop is a rare treat for them, candy also. They get candy on "kid candy holidays" like Easter, Halloween and Christmas and for "just because" treats every once in a while. I keep canned fruit (in it's own juices not heavy syrup), sugar free jello, a constant supply of Apples and Bananas, stuff like that. Their meals are portioned out to contain more veggies than meat and if they are still hungry when they finish, I ask them to wait for a bit to make sure they really ARE hungry before allowing more. Most of the time they decide they aren't.

I see these children, these precious being entrusted to our care, literally waddling like a woman 8 months pregnant and I want to beat the tar out of their parents. What the hell are they thinking letting that happen?!

Too many people go by the notion of "food is love" and I want my child to know I love them. Hell, I bake for my family. Made cookies yesterday as a matter of fact. My boys had 1 last night and have had 1 today. That's it for them. It's enough. Why isn't enough...well... enough for some parents?

They love their kids as much as I love mine. I know this. So how can they be blind to what they are doing to their kids? The health risks are obvious. The weight, no pun intended here, feeds on itself, making it hard for the child to do the same activities as his or her peers thus making them heavier from lack of exercise as well as segregating them from normal friendships that are so based on action in childhood. If you can't keep up, you're out.

Beyond the health risks, there are the social risks. Sure, there are some, like that girl in the play at my sons school, who get past the weight and you can watch them and know they will be popular no matter their size. Sadly though, that's rarely the case. Those kids will be ostracized, outsiders among the most social of creatures.... children. Then to make them feel better, their parents will give them some cookies.

Dammit... look at that child before you throw edible comfort at him! Give him a hug and go out walking with him. Go bike riding. Go hiking. Something. But teach him to push the plate away when his stomach says he is full. Teach him he can't fill his heart with an extra serving of mashed potatoes.

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