How one mum’s cruel words hit way too close to home.
My son is getting fat. There’s no doubt about it. What I saw as temporary weight gain due to the stresses of Kindergarten have turned into permanent rolls of fat covering his stomach. I buy pants that fit his legs but don’t do up around his waste. I buy shirts one size too big so they fit round his stomach, just, and have to roll the sleeves up because they’re way too long for his little arms.
So when a mum-friend said the words, “The fat kids are at the tuckshop every day” as we watched our children swim in the pool and slide down the slip-and-slide, I could only nod. Because it was true. He is at the tuckshop, every, single, day.
Last year I vowed to do better. I would pack him healthier foods, even if they came home uneaten. I'd cook healthier foods, even if he just starred at his plate and didn't touch it. I'd buy less snack foods, more fruit, less juice, more low-fat milk.
I'd do better. Because his weight was my fault. I was the one giving him tuckshop money and thanks to the fact that Australian tuckshop food is often cheap and incredibly unhealthy, he was able to feed his junk food habit cheaply while leaving his sandwich and carrot sticks untouched.
Then I look at my other children. They are skinny. They are small for their age. They are a completely different body type. Is it really my fault that my son is fat? I've raised them all the same. I've fed them all the same.
But for some reason, my skinny kids don't think to visit the tuckshop very often. They often can't finish their meals. They eat healthy food, and junk food. But they aren't obsessed with it. They can take it or leave it. It's different for my other son. He likes around ten foods only, the healthiest of which are bananas, and he eats them over and over and over again.
I've done all the hard stuff. I've taken away all his tuckshop money, I've offered his a reward to try a new food, any food. I've booked him into martial arts and started taking him three times a week. And yet, nothing. He's a big boy and I'm worried he's getting bigger.