As I rolled my shopping cart up to the Costco doors, I had a moment to focus on my two little girls. My two beautiful little girls. My little girls that everyone likes to compare.
When Tenesea was a baby, she wasn’t getting the amount of breastmilk that she needed to thrive. She gained weight faster after being given formula and grew like a weed. She’s 4 years old and is wearying size 6/7 clothing. She’s energetic and very active.
Azalee is in the 85th percentile for height and weight. She’s already wearing 9-12 month clothing. She’s been on formula since she was 6 weeks and she is bright eyed and so eager to learn. She rarely cries and will offer up smiles to anyone she makes eye contact with.
Ever since Azalee was born, people have start making comparisons between the two girls. I hear things like: “Tenesea was so skinny and Azalee is so fat”; “Azalee is so chunky. Like a little butterball”; “Did Tenesea have rolls like this?” and my personal favorite “Azalee is cute for such a dark baby”.
By comparing my girls, people are assuming that Tenesea is too skinny and Azalee is too fat. They are also making the assumption that Tenesea’s size is acceptable and Azalee’s is not.
The worst part is that people are saying these things in front of my daughters.
When I was in grade 3, my teacher started talking to us about body image. She asked us if we would be more likely to buy something from a fat girl or someone that looks like Jennifer? This completely put me on the spot.
I was thin and tall and instead of being flattered by the statement (which I think was how my teacher intended it), It angered me. Why wouldn’t someone want to buy something from the smartest salesperson? Why would looks matter when you’re buying something? I though it was bullshit (yes, I knew that word at the time).
I remember everything about that moment. I remember where I sat in the class. I remember the giggles when she made the comparison. I remember the rage that bubbled up in side of me. I can even remember the smell of our classroom.
That comparison changed something in side of me.
At such young ages, a person can argue that my girls don’t realize what’s being said about them. But, what if they do?
What if Tenesea remembers being told she’s too skinny? What if Azalee remembers being told she’s too fat?
As their mom, I will compare their temperaments, foods they love, favorite snuggle positions and things that make the smile. I know I can’t stop other people from comparing, but I can help them both understand that how they see themselves is a million times more important than how other people see them.
I have two intelligent, beautiful and amazing girls.