My girls have completely opposite body types. Oldest One has always been very thin with no extra body fat, and although she was the shortest one in her eighth grade class, as a high school senior she is one of the tallest girls at 5’ 7½“. Little One has been pretty average in height, and developed a prepubescent tummy, just like I had, but she is now growing taller (from 5’ 3” to 5’ 4½” in just a few months) and starting to lose her baby fat…just like I did at that age.
Husband and I have tried hard to make both girls feel comfortable with how they look. Competitive cheer is a pretty physically demanding sport, so they have both benefitted from year-round practices several times a week. When we got them a Wii we only bought games where they had to be active and move. We felt it was better to keep them active, and try to eat healthier then to put anyone on a diet. That came from my experience as a child on Weight Watchers, which I hated doing. I knew Little One would lose her tummy when she hit a certain age, and dieting wouldn’t change it. Husband and I just needed to keep her active and fit, and eating decently.
For the most part Little One hasn’t been too bothered by her tummy. She likes it covered, and she knows it is there, but I always made sure to help her pick out clothes that were cute and made her feel good, and more importantly, that fit right for her body type. I always feel bad for the little girls with a tummy who are stuffed into clothes a size or two smaller than they need. The hard part now is getting Little One to realize she is picking out clothes in sizes that are too big, and she needs to start wearing a smaller size.
For a female of any age body image is usually a big deal whether it should be or not. I want my girls to feel confident, and see themselves as beautiful because of who they are and what they have accomplished. I don’t want them to compare themselves to air brushed images, or feel they have to look a specific way because everyone in magazines does. I admit I don’t always feel great because I am overweight, but I know there is a lot more to me than that, and I try to not let that one aspect color everything else about who I am.
Oldest One does look good in pretty much any outfit she throws on, and she doesn’t have to worry about what she eats. It doesn’t mean she didn’t have a hard time suddenly growing taller than everyone, including the boys, and dealing with that. She has people tell her she is too thin and needs to eat. The child can put away a lot of food; it is just the way she is made at this point in her life. She doesn’t like to be told she is too thin any more than Little One likes it if someone tells her she is chubby. Having kids at total opposite ends of the body spectrum has allowed me to see the good and bad of each end. We all need to focus less on what a person’s body looks like, and more on the person and their qualities. I’m not friends with people for how they look, and either are my girls. We choose our friends for who they are, which will always be more important than what their body is like.