Aren’t you a little stupid for your age?

Mummyjaan recently wrote this post and I am so much in agreement with her that I have to jump in.

I am rather tired of people comparing the Bean to their children. So I often get this – Isn’t she really tiny for her age? Or, isn’t she too small?

Err… Too small for what?

It’s usually followed by a sermon on what the right foods to feed a child are. And how I should be taking her to a doctor and feeding her tonics. All then leading to how their own kids are so heavy that they need help carrying them.

Earlier I was apologetic and I’d start explaining how the slim OA and I couldn’t possibly have non-skinny kids. How we have short family on both sides. How her childhood eczema could be a contributing factor. And then one day I just lost it. Why the hell am I apologetic and who the hell gives them the right to imply that there is something lacking in my child? She’s bright, beautiful, gutsy, intelligent, funny and adorable.

I don’t get it. Why are we so obsessed with big, fat kids? They look cute until they’re one and then they’re just unhealthy. Period. Why exactly should I be aiming for that? In fact, it is your poor feeding practices that lead to obesity so err.. lets start on you and your ‘healthy’ baby, shall we?! My ped says that the weight ranges we follow are suitable for babies in the West. Not ours. We’re smaller built compared to them. And their babies are meant to be 12 kgs at 2 years. Ours should be around 10 kgs. More than that is overweight. So lets give that some thought. Obesity is a problem okay? A baby that looks like a pug is only cute on Anne Geddes cards and you’re doing the child a disfavour. There’s a war against obesity in parts of the world but nobody in India seems to have got the news flash.

You lay claim to your body type early and then you stick with it. I can’t imagine a child belonging to the OA and me, being fat anyway! Tall, maybe, but then his family as well as mine have women who are shorter than 5 feet. So she’s just following her genes. How is it anybody’s problem how small she is as long as she is mentally and emotionally fit?

How would they like it if I asked of them –

Isn’t he developing really slow? Shouldn’t he be talking by now?

He doesnt have teeth at 15 months? Mine got them at 4 months.

She still can’t speak sentences at 20 months? Mine counts till ten.

He doesn’t speak 3 languages? I guess you don’t have enough time to speak to him, huh?

He’s not walking yet? At even 13 months? It must be all that weight he’s carrying.

I feel bad getting mad at the parents and taking it out on the children actually, but I’ve noticed loads of parents doing that. Comparing children and not even having the grace to blush. Openly pointing out that there child is soooo much better, and shouldn’t I take my child’s problem more seriously?

Well then, I cancel all previous statements to the kids and here’s my response to the next parent who says ‘Isn’t she too small/thin/tiny for her age?’

– Aren’t you a little too stupid and insensitive for your age? or wait – how about… Aren’t your brains too small for your age?

Yes, I know this is a rant so go read Mummyjaan’s well thought out post instead.

While on the subject of weight – I read this bit of news. A childless couple is not allowed to adopt because the husband is overweight. I am speechless. I understand the court is worried about his health, but what guarantee is there, that I in my size 28 jeans and the OA in size 30, are better parents? Will give a better home? Will live longer? I’m already falling apart at the knees.

Somebody commented that it might be motivation for the man to lose weight. In my experience, having a toddler in the house makes you lose weight!

But going back to the news – it’s a sad, sad day when a childless couple wants to adopt a homeless child and spread some love – but is turned down for such a cosmetic reason. Whats next? The government taking away your children if you’re overweight? And offering them what? A bed in a dormitory and timely meals? Wow. That should make up for love and a family.

As for my little skinny minny Bean – when other girls her age are starving and dieting and she sashays by in her little size 24 jeans (like her mom used to – note past tense!) we’ll see who has the last laugh. For now, come lets go kick some nosy butt!

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45 thoughts on “Aren’t you a little stupid for your age?

  1. Hey Babe,

    Feel lucky that it stops at that for you. I have the misfortune of knowing people who openly blame me for a skinny child who just doesnt like to eat. I have been told that its because I dont do desi ghee Maalish, must not be cooking or when I do am not doing enough to force it down her throat. When I say she is a difficult child when it comes to eating, I am told that every child is, they had similar issues but they were better parents.

  2. Hey MM,

    I sooo know what you’re talking about. Its a lil different in my case. my lil imp is 13 months and quite tall for his age… So when they look at him they think he’s older and then the questions begin. Oh, He walks but can’t really balance properly yet?!! What?! he doesn’t talk full sentences?
    And the tone is generally a “oh poor you or poor kid” coz they think he’s slow.
    And initially being a first time mom I was worried. Now i just tell them he’s 13 months not 18 or 20 mts as they think or just a curt no- he’s not planning to run any marathon yet.

  3. This was like 10 years ago–
    My youngest cousin was considered “small” for her age by everybody including her mom(my aunt). No amount of saying “äs long as she is healthy, its ok” ever helped. Grrrrrr

  4. hi
    i can really relate to u MM.i stay in the west,and my son little N is in the low percentiles according to the growth chartsevery single time my ped assures me telling that these are just numbers and little N is growing just fine for his stature and that hes perfectly healthy.but iam really tired about ‘wellwishers” advising me “whether have i checked everythings alright with little N”.this about little N who started running around 11 months.i done have words to say to these people!

  5. Mommy claws coming out in full swing, waiounw! Drop some names already my popcorn bag is in the microwave. No on a more serious note I mean how rude. Next time you should just smile and say, “Have you ever thought about maybe your kid is too big for his/her age?” Kill them with reverse psychology. Mess with their stupid brains!

  6. People are dumb. Seriously…
    They dont think before passing very personal insensitive remarks.

    “Aren’t you a little too stupid and insensitive for your age? or wait – how about… Aren’t your brains too small for your age?”

    Throw out this line please the next time someone comments on her!

  7. OMG!I am so with you on this. I am so pissed with people who do that. I wrote about a lady who was real mean to the BB recently(http://goofymumma.blogspot.com/2009/01/of-openly-loving-babies-and-hateful.html), and she is not even a mother, nor has kids to compare him with. People can be so openly insensitive, ill-mannered, and simply disgusting. Indeed next time do reply them in kind. The BB does not put on weight too easily, and all the flak I have taken from my father-in-law for that. He would sit in my house, do absolutely nothing, and just keep cribbing about how ill-fed the BB is, and how the plain food I gave him, at age 6-7 months mind you, was so non appealing to his taste buds, that he would not eat. I can actually strangle such people with my bare hands. You have an issue, stay out of my face, I did not ask for your stupid comments. I am a mother and know what my child needs more than anyone else.

    Sorry this became too long, a rant, I am really enraged by such behaviour.

  8. And here I am,counseling parents on childhood obesity. Studies show that parents start making their kids ‘healthy'(?) right from the time they start them on formula(While measuring out formula,when you take one spoonful,it shouldn’t be a hilltop spoonful,the brim of the measuring spoon should be leveled) Thats where the problems starts and continues into each and every spoon,fork,mug,bowl,plateFULLS.

    Next time anyone says that to Beanie,send them to me MM.I’ll give them details that will scare them to hell.

  9. “- Aren’t you a little too stupid and insensitive for your age? or wait – how about… Aren’t your brains too small for your age?”

    How I would *love* to use that line.

  10. I am totally with you on this. I think I’m going to get a badge that says” No, it’s just YOU who’s stupid!”

    What hurts me the most – people say this right there in front of the kids. And my supposedly short, skinny, too-shy, too-dark child, despite everything her own mom says to her about how wonderful she is, will be affected at some level.

    Me: *looks puzzled* so then that beautiful, friendly child I met was not yours? strange… in fact the OA and I were wondering if we could take off with her… lovely face, perfect features and played so sweetly with the Bean

  11. Sorry to hog your comments page, just wanted to add that I share every bit of the rage Goofy Mumma writes about. Right down to the ‘strangling with bare hands’ bit.

  12. Oh MM, my mother faced this a lot too. My brother and I were thin (OK, skinny) and “friends” would ask her – Don’t you feed them? I wish she had said (and knowing her, she might have, for all I know), “No, I eat their portions too!”
    That would have made them happy, don’t you think, to have discovered the “real” reason?!

    Me: oh and wait! now i’m back to slim, but there was a time when someone said – looks like you eat their share of food too! I cant imagine what makes people think that is funny when you’re talking to a mother who has just delivered!

  13. ” Why are we so obsessed with big, fat kids?”

    I would like to know that too.

    I am a mother of a 4 year old, healthy girl. She isn’t this fat kid and I have heard this comparison from another Indian mother whose child is obese. A 5 year old weighing 95 lbs. Can you imagine? That kid can’t walk or move and the mother has the audacity to compare that kid with mine who is healthy and smart.

    These comparisons bore and irritate me. So if someone really annoys me I say well! I am glad she is healthy and slim.

    So let those insecure ones go take a hike. I am happy that your Beanie is a healthy, slim and a smart girl!

  14. Hey MM,
    you know i used to get worried about all such stuff, you know my son isn’t speaking yet and what i am told that i was narrating stories at this age. i always read about bean and compared, oh my son can’t do this yet.. but gradually i realised that every child is different. my son doen’t throw tantrums, is a good eater, healthy, tall and good if not brilliant. thankfully no one has yet pointed out that my 14 month old cannot speak but if they do i’ll simply smile and let that comment pass by.
    you know my aunt’s daughter who is 4, she weighs just 12kg, she is brilliant, beautiful healthy and will grow up into a lovely lucky lady who will not have to worry about her diet…

    Me: your son is goodnatured, a good eater, has a gorgeous smile and the most biteable cheeks. you keep him away from me or i’ll eat him up

  15. errr… sorry, but I don’t understand one thing – why bother with so many explanations?
    I know, I don’t have kids yet and might not completely understand the rant…
    But, my question is, when your little ones are responding so well to your care and upbringing, when you have awesome kids, why bother what anyone else might say?
    Some of these mom’s are the over zealous and totally jealous types too.. I have seem them go on and on and on about their kids’ achievements and they are so jealous when someone Else’s kids are doing well or even better…

    Me: you’re right, babe. most people are not worth the time of day. but when you’re caught off guard with an accusatory tone, then you tend to fumble and wonder if you’re wrong. particularly if you’re a first time parent. you keep wondering if you’re doing something wrong.

    but its no longer that. now the bean understands everything and I dont want some idiot to go on acting as though she is abnormal… once you become a parent you are very sensitive to what might upset the child.

  16. ufff finally found you again..i kept going back to madmomma.wordpress..and was wondering why there were no new posts.
    will come back and comment..i have so much to catch up on!:)

  17. Gah…. these stupid ideas about well fed babies.. sometimes people use the words ‘healthy’ and ‘fat’ interchangibly.
    Makes me go grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
    Kids are like poems. Cant be compared.

  18. My mum can *soooo* identify with this.

    Though by no means a giant, I’ve always been unusually tall for my age and for an Indian. Some cretins used to ask my parents ” Don’t you think she’s too tall & hefty (yes, they’ve used that word for a kid too!!) for her age? Do plan to do something about it? ”

    Go figure !

    And you don’t need to be an Einstein to take one look at my parents and realise where I get my height from.

    Incredible human specimens, these

  19. I can relate to this. I was always the tallest and broad boned person among my peers(includes the boys too) and people would tell my mom if she is ‘looking’ for someone for me, when I was in the tenth grade. WTF? You are tall and people think you are old too?

  20. Hey!! I know exactly how you feel!! N is compared to other kids and is claimed as a tiny baby…I can understand when the North Americans do that..their kids are bigger but what gets to me is when the Indians based in North America do that!!! Both me and my husband were skinny kids and went on to gain weight during adulthood…how does being skinny or small in height make any difference?!? Oh well!!

  21. I’ve linked up your post to mine.Just thought would blog about it rather than leave a comment here.Had a lot to share about it myself and your post gave me that much needed push.
    All I can say is its much more important that your child is healthy,happy and active than fat,plump over-fed and eventually sick.

  22. Oh MM,

    this is such a universal thing….K is very tall for her age, as I was…she is off the charts for her age, even on the western charts. The ped’s office is fien with it, I get the occasional friendly comment about getting her into basketball so I can retire (I wish!) but aam junta – yes, even American aam junta usually comment on “how tall she is!” – to the extent that she is actually self conscious about it now. Couldn’t the kid have inherited our thick skin along with the height? :-)_

    M

  23. I am principally opposed to the conditioning that tall is good, fair is desirable etc. This also includes parents who feel bad if some idiot chooses to make a comment on their child’s physical trait. I have 2 kids, one very tall for her age and one shorter than the average. I take equal offence if someone tells me “Why is she so lightweight and little” and “oooh she is so tall and pretty…she will be a model” Please…in this day and age, when we parents try to raise our kids to choose wisely, let not someone make career decisions for my little ones based on the one thing they didnt choose…their physical appearance.

  24. I’ve had the same “helpful opinions” too…specially in my vacation now. He is doing fine in his growth chart and developmental chart. Why is it a big deal to have a chubby baby? Yes they are cute…but no, I am not about to overfeed my child just so he can wear 1yr old clothes at 9 months!

  25. duuuude! 24’s a bit too skinny, innit?? we likes 28 better !! 😀 gotta have some meat on ’em curvy hips. :p

    ima 26/27 myself. aiming for 28 soon hehe.

    so why aren’t you feeding her tonics again? heheh just buggin ya.

  26. Have come across some insensitive bunch myself … you know what bothers me is that those awful remarks are made right in front of the kid in the radar. We parents may respond back to them … but I always wonder what the child might go through hearing those remarks.

  27. I think this is a common problem with some indians. They think they can show how much they care by expressing concerns on your weight and looks. I dont have kids yet but have faced this exact same thing for my mom. She is too skinny now. She used to be really healthy before she had 2 operations. Now no matter how much healthy she eats she just doesn’t put on any weight. We get comments from relatives and random acquaintances they we should take more care of her and ” OMG, what has happened to you”. This just put so much pressure on my mom and she gets all the more worried about her health. And some of the people who make such comments are so fat that they cant even carry their own weight around. I feel like punching these people in their face when they make such comments.

  28. I never had the luck to have a kid of my own though I’m past my marriage age but I’ve been spectacle to comments and concerns like this in the society. Ironically the “Mother” never stops worrying 🙂 My Sisters kid, a sweet naughty child is almost one and celebrated her 1st birthday on the 8th of Jan. I incidentally found her very healthy since she’s one of the most active, amongst us all. She never stops going up and down the stairs and is forever dragging herself under all the sofa sets and the dinning tables (me suspects, she’s after the spiders and their cobwebs :-)) Now my Sister was complaining that she should be 3 times her birth weight at age one. My laughter echoed and stopped dramatically as my Mother’s, my Aunty’s and of course my Sister’s (now red) turned and glared at me with that we-know-better looks. I agree with you, obese children look good only in Anne Gedes cards. Nice post!

  29. Don’t you realize MM.. these people are telling you indirectly that YOU are not doing a good job with your kid.. feeding your kid in this case.. I have faced this so many times.. my baby (little older than beanie) is also built small.. and I scaled down on my career after I became a mom. So these workaholic mommy ‘friends’ of mine, who are probably not so happy with their career choices will say things about her size on many occasions .. hinting that my working only few hours a day to make sure baby is with me most of the time, is so not worth it! Their kids barely eat at the daycare, and are starving by the time their moms come to pick them up (usually after 6 in the evning).. but well, since they’re bigger, it’s assumed that’s all ok!
    Well, as my pediatrician says.. bigger is not always better.. and yes, it’s probably that these people remarking are secretly jealous :).. The beanie seems to be talking a lot and doing great! God bless her.

  30. After going through the comments, I am surpised to note that the “don’t you feed them anything – do you eat it all yourself?” line is so common and widespread. What a lame and stupid line.

  31. Big, fat kids are not beautiful, MM! I always thank God that Kevin inherited only my face and not my body. He is healthy and heavy, but not fat. He never was either.

    You don’t worry. The bean is going to be a star. I can see that already! 🙂

  32. Interestign post but you know sometimes the comment maybe harmless….just a statement like how we found Ashu small or Anush tall. Not a judgemnet of the child or of the parents/ parenting.

    But i compleely agree with you on the childless couple part- hope they find their child soon.

  33. Yay my favorite gripe 🙂 This is the one I hear often with Poppin “Isn’t she too shy?” Right to her face, when she now understands English and responds with a mixture of defiance and more quiet. Sigh. My child understands the boundaries of personal versus public space, perhaps a little too much for my liking but yeah so what?

    And now, with sweetpea a gregarious 5 month old, I hear – “Oh this one is Ok, looks like with second babies we get it right”

  34. When all those kids will go and run on the treadmill and do skipping to shed all that fat, the Bean is gonna be one sexy lady!

    Then we’ll see who’s being looked up to!

    Bean is just adorable, and she does not look underweight, then thats it. Nothing else matters.

    Crazy people!

  35. i dunno whats with everyone wanting their kids to be a part of baby olympics! its just ridiculous!

    i keep telling my friends who say oh but he is still not talking or she is still not wlaking that they will do it when they are ready!

    as long as they are active and having fun, who cares how big or small they are!

    i was told forever how plain i was compared to my parents, but then what the heck, i know what my strengths are and i work on them! 🙂 and ofcos parents were very careful about it!

    people just start comparing out of habit me thinks. even if they dont have a malicious intent sometimes. but then yes, a mom can make out the difference! 🙂

    I have told M to shut up with his age guessing because he is SO bad at it and though he doesnt mean ill it can rub people the wrong way!

    cheers!

  36. I want to rant about this as well but sometimes I just don’t know how to convince people who weigh parenting skills against the weight of a child that my child is perfectly healthy and happy.

  37. Hi MM i am so in agreement with you. i too went through a lot of shit from my in-laws including my husband for not feeding my 8 year old daughter who is just 21 kgs now, tall and slim built, perfectly willowy (i know i envy her built), and this was one of the reasons cited in our “separation” (i am separated from my husband)

  38. This is gonna sound a little weird, but this is one of your best rants ever!

    Yes, I keep getting that about the EO and YO and like you I used to feel guilty and strangely apologetic. Another strange one that I used to get ALL the time when the EO was younger and sometimes even now, “Isn’t he’s too fair and pretty to be a boy?” Huh?!? Excuse me? Like boys can’t be fair and sweet-looking?

  39. Pingback: Our child is healthy! « Perceptions

  40. I came across your blog by chance,and havent stopped reading it. 🙂
    I totally identify with this post. Being a mom of a one yr old,i keep hearing comments from relatives and every other person on how thin my daughter is as compared to others.
    I guess this is the case everywhere.

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