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The Weight of the World

Posted May 13 2013 12:00am

Twice last week I read something about kids and weight that really resounded with me.

wrote about her children, and their tendency in weight to be more short and compact. She wrote:  Midway through the exam, it was time to go over the growth charts. The kids' pediatrician and I have come to something of an understanding about the growth charts years ago. He would show me where the boys fell, and I would shrug away the dots with a brusque, "Yep. Looks like one of my kids." The thing is that my children are all, like me, of hearty peasant stock.

Another friend asked: Anyone have any tips on getting a young girl to diet without giving her an eating disorder??? 

It's so funny, because about a month ago, one of my kids fell clean off the bottom of the growth chart. I mean, completely off - she's got a BMI of about 4%. She's 15 and weighs just about 80 pounds. If she was my first, I'd be super alarmed - but she's following her brother, who lost 25 pounds in his Junior year from September to November, thanks to Cross Country and a lack of eating really anything at the right time.

I'm serious - the kid would eat lunch at 10, skip snack, run five miles, come home and eat an entire loaf of bread, and be too full for dinner. When he lost all of that weight, his doctor took a ton of blood, checked him over for everything, and sent us to a nutritionist. She went over snacking, how to eat effectively, taught us a bunch of stuff and sent us on our way. His weight loss coincided with mine, and there was a wee bit of discussion that, maybe, I'd cut my kids food portions as well - but that wasn't it.

Then there is my one daughter, who dropped a ton of weight on purpose thanks to a shitty boyfriend who told her she was fat - and I had NO idea until she went to a formal and I could see her spine and collarbones clearly. THAT was fun.

So when my daughter dropped weight this past few months, I wasn't unduly alarmed. That's what *my* kids do. They know all about nutrition - it's been preached to them forever and ever - but when they spend most of their time out of the house, they make different choices and for various reasons, they super slim out.

One of my shorties has lost so much weight that he's officially "failure to thrive" - go on and ask me how much pediasure we buy around here. It's a lot - and that stuff ain't cheap. He's lost weight for different reasons - mostly anxiety, food allergies, and the beginning of an ulcer. Good times. No one wants to eat when you think it will either kill you or hurt your gut.

Those four kids, well, I joke that they are my husband's body type - no butt, thin. You know the type. It's just my kids. They are not heavy.

But two of my shorties are different.  Shortie #1 is 55% for weight, 30% for height and 75% for BMI. Shortie #2 is 70% for weight, 40% for height and 78% for BMI. So clearly, from my side of the family - the stocky, German peasant type. To look at them with friends, though, they don't look like heavy kids. Interestingly enough, shortie #1 appears to be heavier than #2 - but the numbers indicate differently.

Which makes me slighty stabby about growth charts.

How to help more than a few put ON a few pounds, while helping two that don't need to put on a single pound without raising food obsessers - well, if you can solve that, let me know. Shortie #1 LOVES all things crackery/bready/sweet and getting her to eat fruit and veg is difficult - and she's not a lover of activity. Shortie #2 loves fruit and veg and eats as much of it as I will let her - and loves to ride bikes and go for walks - so if she's doing all of the things that she *should* be doing, and #1 isn't - but they both have really high growth numbers - well, it's got to be genetics. And when my friend asked about her daughter and dieting - it hit home to me. I don't want my girls to *diet* - but we need to find the happy medium of not worrying about weight and eating the right stuff and getting more active for them - things I've forgotten about because my other kids are so thin.

I know that girls, especially, tend to grow "out" and then grow "up", and so maybe this is that time for both of them. I wish I could remember with my older kids  if and when this occurred.

It's so weird to me, how I have children who contain the same genetic background, and yet are built so very differently.

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