This weekend in the New York Times Social Q’s column, a woman wrote in to inquire about how to handle a ruthless grandma who is obsessed with her six-month-old granddaughter’s weight:
My husband and I have a beautiful 6-month-old daughter. She is chubby but not overweight by any means. My mother-in-law, who obviously has a weight obsession and is quite thin, has started making comments about my daughter’s size: “I can’t believe her legs are so big when she kicks all the time.” Or: “She’ll thin out when she starts to crawl.” My husband knows that these comments bother me, but he will not address them with her. I want to protect my daughter from her grandmother’s damaging and unhealthy fixation with weight. What should I do?
Okay, what kind of sick person body snarks a six-month-old baby? I don’t have kids, so I might be wrong about this, but aren’t babies supposed to be fat? I did not know that having a fat six-month-old was a problem you could have.
Social Q’s columnist Philip Galanes had this to say: “In a nod to maternal sensitivities, I will not make a crack about ‘Baby Spanx.’ (But to any underwear executives out there, I call dibs!) Most babies are chubby. It’s what makes them adorable and, as an evolutionary matter, keeps them warm.”
Yup, babies are chubby. It’s evolution.
Galanes then goes on to tell the letter writer that perhaps she’s projecting a bit, and that she should go get the baby checked out to make sure that she is, in fact, in the preferred weight percentile — advice that sort of puts it back on the mom to justify the baby’s weight. Again, she’s a BABY. My advice to the letter writer? Tell the offending, thin-obsessed grandma that it’s normal for babies to have deliciously chubby arms and legs — nobody’s asking them to strut their stuff down a runway, after all. And shut down her thinspo-talk now, while the kid is still young enough not to be damaged by her weight obsession. [NY Times]