Yesterday morning, I took Marina to the doctor. She was not sick. I was asked to schedule the follow-up after her last check-up. Marina had lost five pounds, and the doctor was worried and wanted to make sure she didn't lose any more. I wasn't worried. Marina has always been a sensible eater. It's just that she tends to forget to eat when she is caught up in her work, and she has had a lot of work to do during the fall term. It was her first full time semester at the college. She was taking art history, two honors classes and a rigorous online math course.
I have to say, this experience was new for me. Usually the doctor has worried because she felt one of my children was gaining too much weight. This time, Chase and Sierra's weights were acceptable. This is mainly because they both had growth spurts. Chase is now taller than Marina and only an inch or two shorter than me. He might be my height, but he slouches, so it's hard to tell. Sierra also stretched up. I knew they would, but being warned visit after visit that I needed to watch what they ate took its toll on me.
I've had my own weight issues since I was ten or eleven. These issues started with side effects from having my asthma treated with the steroid, Prednisone, for over a year and it continued throughout my life. Even though I was dealing with these side effects, I was continually told I needed to watch what I ate by doctors, family members and teachers. The message I got was that if I was overweight, it was my fault. It has been a lifelong struggle to keep control of my weight.
Now, over thirty years later, I am told I am also responsible for my children's weight. I suppose I should be happy no one is blaming them. In spite of observing that all of my children gained weight around the same age before they shot up, being constantly reminded that I needed to watch their weight made me start questioning myself. Maybe it was my fault they were putting on weight. Maybe I had some strange power that caused them to gain weight. Maybe I should stop baking. Maybe I should stop buying juice. Maybe I shouldn't try to stock up on cereal. Oh wait, cereal is my addiction, not theirs.
And that's the problem with blaming myself. They are not me. They don't have the love-hate relationship with food that took me forty-three years to develop. They have never had my experiences. They simply have a doctor who has, unfortunately, dealt with enough eating disorders to be hyper-concerned about any deviation from the norm.
So I continue doing what I have always done. I talk about eating right and exercising regularly. In fact, I try to demonstrate good habits by taking them on hikes and walks or by reading nutrition labels with them at the grocery store. And I try not to worry.
Marina's weight was stable. I'm not surprised. She's on winter break. Maybe I'll keep some chocolate on hand for the spring semester.