Caroline was not an easy baby or toddler. Sleep eluded her (and therefore me). She cried loudly and often. She was sensitive to sound, light and texture. She much preferred to say no than yes. During those years, I cried easily and the dark circles under my eyes were hard to miss. Friends and family would often remind me to enjoy those years. “Small children, small problems. Bigger children, bigger problems.”, they would say.
I thought they were all crazy.
Over the weekend, Caroline and I went jean shopping.
Because she is still a bit sensitive and in need of soft fabrics, we have been buying more name brand jeans to get the better fabric. We spent a long time trying on jeans with names like ‘skinny’, ‘twig’ and ‘painted on’. And I am not exaggerating. Time and time again, the jeans were too tight and Caroline is far from overweight.
After taking one more trip out of the dressing room to find another pair to try, I returned to the dressing room to find Caroline sitting on the floor and crying.
“Mom, I’m fat, aren’t I?”
Caroline is not even ten years old and the fashion industry, as they sell jeans marketed to twigs, has convinced my gorgeous, strong, intelligent and creative girl that she is fat.
Turns out all those people were not crazy after all.
Any day, you can bring me a sleepless night and a defiant toddler who does not yet know that society will one day judge her on the circumference of her thighs.