Does my bum look fat in this diaper?
If infants could really understand what strangers and family alike are saying to them regarding their cute rolls, I think this inner dialogue could begin to develop just as soon as a first word?
E and I were walking down the street the other day..well I was walking..she was sporting her onsie in the stroller sucking on her hand, chatting it up with herself and waving to inanimate objects. Suddenly this woman appeared before our very eyes. Her hair was gray and her eyes were dark and big! She squatted down a bit and stared at the baby. E stared back, disinterested and engrossed in the relief of her swollen gums. Her onsie was super cute, or so I thought, as I had dressed her. I thought it accentuated every curve and roll with dignity and grace. It had tiny little cars on it. it was a hot day and the sun had been beating down on us. She was cool, calm and collected under the awning of her stroller.
I pondered what a great pair we were as I looked down at her, suddenly aware that this gawker was still there. Back into the moment, I listened as the woman went on about how cute she was, and her cheeks and her rolls and her fat legs and how she wanted to eat them up and bite them. Awkward. I thanked her for the compliments….and looked down proudly as if I had personally birthed this child who happened to be 9 lbs the day she entered the world. Um…nope.
The gray haired women and I exchanged smiles. Then E and I went along our merry way. Baby E was now engrossed with the cover of her bottle that I gave her, exploring the plastic clear texture within her curious mouth and hands. As I was walking, thoughts of my thirst (Had I brought enough water?), my day ahead (Should I do my laundry tonight?), and the fact that my hair has been awfully dry lately (Should I go to Sally’s Beauty Supply and buy another hopeful hair product for my crazy, curly locks?) fluttered in and out of my mind like a little colorful butterfly. (Some call this Attention Deficit Disorder!)
It was then that I began pondering the enthralled passerby’s words. How very interesting that this kind of language was culturally acceptable when speaking of a baby’s cute leg chub. If someone on the street (or actually even someone I know) started telling me how cute my chub was and how they just wanted to bite me, I would be a bit alarmed if not flattered!
Then I began thinking about our culture. When do we go from such adorable baby chubba and squeezablly delicious, consumable cheeks to judgements as to “what is this parent feeding this child?” When does adoring, respecting, and loving an innocent little body go to explaining not to worry …that three year old will be “outgrowing” her baby fat soon.
It is such an interesting concept about how fat is perceived. It just gave me something to think about. Cultural norms and expectations fascinate me.
As I work on my own personal recovery from an eating disorder and weight fluctuations, I think about how I would love it someone told me that my rolls were so cute and adorable. I would definitely draw the line, however, at the “I just want to bite them and eat them up” comments; I would secretly be flattered, I’m certain….but not until after I called the cops and filed a restraining order!