Does This Diaper Make My Butt Look Fat?

10 04 2008

Baby Squiggles had her four month check-up yesterday, but due to her on-going case of the sniffles, she managed to avoid getting jabbed with a needle full of vaccine-y-goodness. My favorite part of taking her to the doctor was the weigh-in. I reveled in her transformation from 7 pound 13 ounce chicken-legged E.T to a 16 pound Stay Puff Marshmallow baby. In honor of this transformation, I decided that today was the day we would try on some of her ‘Grown-Up Baby’ clothes, and venture out in to the world more fashionably dressed than ever before. Up until now, Squiggles has sported a steady stream of utilitarian baby sleepers. They are comfy, cozy and easy to get on and off. Squiggles, like her sisters before her, has a great propensity for  craptastrophic diaper malfunctions, so easy escapes are a must.  But today, I cast all that aside and decided to dress her in a real outfit. I picked out something cute. A long sleeved onesie with bands of funky flowers and little folk artsy people on it. A very Urban Boho baby vibe, it made me long for a co-ordinating crocheted hat. For the bottom, I pulled out her very first pair of baby jeans, which were a Christmas gift. Dark denim with white stitching and a bit of a fade on the legs, complete with a woven half belt, the colors of which matched the little folks on the shirt. They are sized 6-12 months, maybe a bit big I figured, but I’d been saving them for the day I deemed her Ready to Wear Grown Up Baby Clothes. Today was the day. I  wriggled her into the top, then began the process of wrestling her squirming legs into the stiff jeans. I stuffed. I wrestled. I stuffed some more. I finally got them more or less in the pants, only to stop, stare, and mutter “Dammit” at the realization that there was no way I was getting those suckers buttoned. In fact, Squiggles could no longer move her legs because the jeans were like little straightjackets on her thighs. I yanked the jeans off, threw them on the floor, and hissed out something to the effect of “What kind of asshole store sells jeans like that? For anorexic babies?” Then I stomped on the offending clothing, just to make a point, just to punish them for suggesting that my baby was too fat for fashion.

In place of the despicable denim, I slid Squiggles in to a pair of comfortable pink elastic-waisted pajama pants. The hip, cute grown up baby look I had crafted in my mind was shot to hell in an instant, and I was more than a little bitter. But, off we trekked to our local parent-child centre to enjoy a singing circle, and some fresh toys and coffee to slurp on. While there, I found myself intensly aware of all the other babies her age, especially the baby girls. All the skinny, little girls. They looked like mini fashionistas in mini embroidered tunics, mini sparkly flats, and mini skinny jeans. They were dainty, delicate and feminine. They made my baby girl look like Bruiser the Beefcake. (It does not help that she is also totally bald, and the fashionista babies had heads full of hair.) Then came a few innocent remarks: “Your baby is only four months? She’s huge!” “Wow, you’re baby is so big!” “Look at those fat legs! Adorable!” But it didn’t feel adorable to me. It made me feel like I was carting around a Jabba The Hut baby. Like maybe Squiggles was already part of the dreaded obesity epidemic currently gobbling up kids and headlines. Like maybe I was doing something wrong.

Granted, weight and size issues are at the forefront of my mind lately, which makes me a bit hypersensitive. I’ve never been petit, to say the least. The only way I can keep my weight in check is by meticulously watching what and how much I eat, and by exercising almost every day. Right now, I am pretty insecure about my own size, as I’m busting my ass to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and shape. And I wonder how this affects my kids. I hope I’m modeling a healthy lifestyle, and not planting the seeds of disordered eating. Neener and Roo see me measuring food, tracking my food intake and working out. They hear me talk about calories, carbs, fats and protein. They like to weigh themselves on my fancy new digital scale. They were about the same size as Squiggles when they were her age, and even now, they aren’t small by any means. But they are strong, healthy and active kids. They jump on the Laz-E-Boy chair like it’s a trampoline while they watch TV, and their favorite breakfast beverage is fondly known as Scary Green Slime juice. It has fruit, vegetables, wheat grass and algae in it! Still, I wonder how they interpret the things they see me doing. I want to keep them from winding up obese, unhappy and unhealthy when they are older, but at the same time, I don’t want them to develop obsessions with diet and exercise, and poor self-images. Been there, done that, bought the baggy t-shirt. And that is why I know better than to listen to that little size-conscious fiend that lurks inside me, the same one that made me briefly and needlessly be concerned with the size of Baby Squiggles today.

So skinny baby jeans be damned. I’m taking them to the parent-child centre next chance I get and giving them to one of the little girl babies. They’ll look positively dainty with a pair of baby ballet flats, and that’s great. For somebody else’s daughter. Me and my Bruiser Beefcake baby girls will be jumping on furniture in our comfy pajama pants. In this pop-culture climate of ever-shrinking starlets and over-dressed infants, I constantly have to remind myself that my family’s brand of feminine just isn’t dainty or delicate or petite, but that is ok. It’s bigger, stronger, tougher. Too tough to be restricted by a piece of clothing. And on days like today, I take comfort in the notion that if there is ever a food shortage, the scrawny ones, no matter how fashionably dressed, will be the first to go. Baby Squiggles might not fit into little fancy pants, but if she had to, she could take down one of those skinny babies and eat her for breakfast. And wash ’em down with a glass of Scary Green Slime juice.

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8 responses

10 04 2008
Lisa

Amy, could we balance out our kids and find a happy medium? My boys are both considerably underweight. At 19 months, Stefan is 19 pounds. At 4 years, Nathan is 30 pounds. After a good growth spurt. By the time pants finally stay up, they’re too short! Oh for stock in a safety pin factory 🙂

11 04 2008
domesticblister

Hmmmm, some sort of non-invasive person-to-person chubb transplant perhaps? Sign me and the Mister up for that one.
I think the gender dynamics of weight and size are interesting, even when it comes to babies and kids. Your boys are small, and my girls are big, and it’s something we’re both anxious about sometimes…but if it were the other way around- smaller girls and bigger boys – would we even think twice about it?
And I’d like some stock in a cozy pajama pants factory.

11 04 2008
nanny patterson

I like chunky babies! They have something to come and go on, to quote your grandmother. once they become mobile the babyness falls away and people want them to be little adults. You are an adult for a long time and a baby for too short a span. Besides when she’s all grown up and beautiful, you can show embarrassing pictures of her when she looked like she came from michelin tire.

11 04 2008
lastcrazyhorn

Hey, I was 9 lbs, 3 oz at birth and 21 inches long!!!

12 04 2008
Anika

So I’m not the only one to refer to my little girl as a ‘bruiser’… I like to think of Gazelle as having very strong survival instincts– there is No Way this girl is going to let herself be starved out. If it improves your frame of mind, my delicious little bundle of baby is now almost 30 pounds at just over a year, weighing basically the same as Zephyr, though he’s got about 6 inches and almost two years on her. Ten-pounds-plus at birth, she’s always been the sturdy variety of feminine. One doesn’t gain 56 pounds in a pregnancy and expect to give birth to a butterfly!

12 04 2008
domesticblister

Yay for the Bruiser Baby Girls!!!!!

17 04 2008
Anjali

Good grief, I feel your pain! Priya got piles and piles of baby clothes marked 3-6 months, presumably for the summer, but at this rate she’ll have grown out of them by mid-June!

7 01 2009
Operation Beefcake « Domestic Blister

[…] a tad perturbed by Baby Squiggles’ size (if you don’t recall, you can read all about it here.) Yes, Squiggy has always been a bit of a beefcake baby, just as her sisters were. As of August, at […]

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