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September 05, 2006

Who are you calling fat?

Obesity The other day I was at the gym and I ran into one of our neighbors.  She and her partner were expecting twins, and she asked how my daughter was doing.  At some point in the conversation she said something to the affect of, "she's very cute...one of the few chubby babies we have in our building."  I had to do a double-take...did she just call my 13 month-old daughter fat?

My first reaction, of course, was to slap her, but instead I calmly asked her if she was really accusing Cheeky of being a Porky instead.  She back-pedaled, saying something about her looking "healthy", which we all know is code for "tubby."  I was going to make a snide comment about her thunder-thighs (she was at the gym, after all) but regained my composure long enough to ask myself, "Is my daughter turning into a lard-ass?"

It's a stupid observation and stupider question in reference to all but the most obese toddlers.  Most kids I see that are Cheeky's age are still layered with baby fat, and it's not like she's been exercising that long.  But I'm sensitive to that, and it still got to me. 

I have no idea if my daughter eats too much or not.  Her stomach is barely the size of a tangerine...how do you know how much is too much?  It's not like she's eating a pan of lasagna or anything, but I've seen mac 'n' cheese disappear at a frightening rate from her tray.  Then, on the subway yesterday, I noticed her leaning forward in her stroller, and sure enough her belly stuck out like a sack of flour under her shirt.  I started mentally perusing her family history (there's ample photographic evidence of a fat gene there) and cataloging all the foods she eats.  How could blueberries do this to her???

I've managed to get a grip since then.  For starters she's barely into her second year; she's just getting started.  There are rotund little girls with their muffin-tops showing through their skin-tight tank-tops all over the place, but it took them years to get there.  It probably doesn't help that we're still squeezing her into clothes that she's mostly outgrown.  Hell, stick me in a size medium t-shirt and I'll look like a glob of Playdough, too.  And damn it, if my kid is wailing her brains out because she wants a plum, you'd better believe she's gonna get one stat.

There's no way I'm letting my little girl go to the prom with her cousin, or be the last one picked in P.E.  But until the kid is actually toddling I'm not going to stress about it.  And if I see that woman at the gym again, I'm gonna pull up a chair in front of her treadmill and eat a big chocolate chip muffin.  Mmmm....fatty.


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