"You're a big heavy girl"(110 Posts)
My mum says this to my two year old all the time when lifting her. I absolutely know it's not meant maliciously, but I remember her saying the same thing to me as a child and developing a terrible complex about my weight as a result (other factors probably at play with me though, my dad was very vocal about weight, whereas me and my husband never mention it). She only sees my mum every few months due to distance but has started talking about being a "heavy girl" to me when I lift her, even when my mum isn't there.
AIBU to ask my mum not to say this? I don't want to make a big deal of it if I'm projecting my own emotions a bit too much maybe. What do you think? I think mentioning it will upset my mum which I don't want to do, but likewise I don't want my daughter growing up being told she's heavy when she is not!
Also I'm not sure how to respond when she says to me "I'm a heavy girl" - what do I say? I've been saying "you're a perfect weight!" and tickling her.
Tbh I think it's a legacy of your childhood - ie, your mum is doing to your dd what she did to you - I know you said it was your dad that was vocal but unless she lived in a cave...
I would make a huge joke out of it with her and say "noooo, not heavy - s t r o n g!" Complete with super-hero voice and faux flexing of muscles - then you could make a big show of struggling to lift the milk or something daft.
Your mother's issue - not your dd.
*coming from the perspective of someone with weight-obsessed parents.
Hmm, I can see why it bothers you. SIL has commented on how her and my 4 year old niece is heavier than her 6 year old DD when she lifts her up. 4 year old niece is the same height as her DD, everyone in that bit of the family is very tall, so it's not surprising that she's heavier, but I don't think things like that should be said in earshot of young girls. This may be my experience informing my opinion more than anything as I was bulimic when I was younger, DM was anorexic, DSis was anorexic, and there was a general feeling that being fat or heavy was awful.
I would change it to "healthy' and not mention weight at all. If you
tell ask your mum to stop saying it she will soon forget.
I think you're overthinking it and projecting. To a child I don't think heavy = fat. She means she's hard to lift and she's growing up / getting bigger, but when you say "you're the perfect weight" you mean "society will find you attractive just as you are!"
Even if the main thing that caused you have a complex about your weight was your mother telling you you're heavy when she picked you up (which I highly doubt unless you're very sensitive), it's unlikely the same scenario will play out with your daughter unless you continue to make a big deal out of it.
Children grow, they get bigger, they get heavier. For an older woman, lifting a growing child is "heavy" compared to say a handbag. There's also a correlational being growing, getting to do "big girl" things, and being called "a big girl". That's all your mum is saying. Your mum is not calling you or your dd "fat".
To be honest I think you're in danger of making it worse. She doesn't know heavy is a bad thing. She certainly doesn't know heavy is related to weight and weight is a source of worry - although you're rapidly teaching her it is. Mothers are the biggest influence on daughters' weight issues.
And unless your mother is a sprightly young thing your daughter probably is heavy to her. It doesn't mean she's fat. You seem to have internalised some dreadful ideas about women and girls not being allowed to take up space.
I also think you're overthinking. In the early years weight gain is growth, is achievement. at that age I used to pick up my boys and say 'uff, heavy'. They loved it. I am thinking the real damage was probably done by your dad And your response 'you're a perfect weight' is making an issue out of heaviness before she has one, is teaching her that 'heavy' is bad rather than big and present and, as a pp says, taking up space.
Darth and Backyard I agree, you've both echoed my fears - I don't want to make it worse and I know saying she's perfect isn't a great reaction and buys into the whole weight issue, but I was a bit flummoxed how to respond.
I also know that my mum is just stating fact, that she's hard to lift, rather than commenting on fatness, hence my saying it wasn't malicious, but I also know that her saying the exact same thing to me in exactly the same way had an effect that stayed with me. But as I said, other factors were at play with my dad, so I would have been extra sensitive to any mention of weight and I'm not sure whether I'm being U to be a bit about it now with my daughter and make it into a big deal. My mum would be horrified if she thought she was upsetting me.
I like the idea of talking about being strong and healthy.
Honestly, when your dd says "I'm heavy" I'd just say "that's because you're a growing girl!" and leave it at that.
I think your bigger issue is your father so I think you may be unfairly zeroing in on your mother for this.
Is she actually concerned or just aware? Could you say something like, 'of course you're heavy, you're not a baby' and then show her some things that weighed the same as her when she was born so you can both marvel at how big and strong she's getting?
Had the same thing from my grandma, and completely agree with you. comments on others weight do not belong anywhere in life.
I would tell her op. Tell her how you felt as a child re your dad and you don't want dd to feel the same.
I font think it's projecting at all. Heavy isn't a way I would ever describe any child or adult. It's rude.
Just to detail my point a little bit - children love a sense of 'impacting' on adults, making themselves felt. Being heavy for an adult to pick up is one very direct way of doing this. Allowing them their delight in this is a way of showing them that they are there, they have a right to be there, they matter. Far too many girls get this denied to/trained out of them at the earliest opportunity and obsession with low weight is one way it happens. All that considered, I would be turning this to the positive and actually celbrating my dd's heaviness and healthy growth.
I'm glad that people think I'm projecting - that's what I wanted to check as I suspected it may be the case, and there are some good responses here, thank you. I can see that saying she's perfect is responding from my own point of view and isn't the best thing to say!
It's really made me think, would I be as annoyed if she said the same thing about my son? But then there isn't the whole societal weight issue for him to navigate so it's not really the same.
I agree, you need to stop mentioning weight to her or she's going to link it up. It's obvious your issues with weight will rub off if you don't find a way of dealing with it.
I picked up a pals toddler recently and she's a small dainty thing but it was like picking up a small boulder. She's heavier than she looks and I did say that.
if your dad didn't say the things he says about weight then it's unlikely you would be seeing a problem now.. It's time to face this one I think.
I also agree with Pidapie, I don't see why it has to be commented on at all, but then my mum is being matter of fact and would say the same thing about a handbag, and I'm the one over thinking it!
tell her your mum is puny and needs to eat some spinach for her muscles!
you are overthinking it.
as kids get older they get heavy to pick up.
Turn it around "No, you are a strong girl. It is because you are getting older, soon you'll be too tall and strong for grandma to pick you up.
Yes I agree you are (understandably), over thinking this. I have 3 heavy children and I have commented on it as I have been caught out before when they were little and at playgroup etc. I would pick up one of their friends for a cuddle to to hand over to their mum, once or twice nearly chucked a baby over my shoulder not expecting a featherweight child! I have solid babies and they are tall broad shouldered and heavy children, "some girls are bigger than others". They are gorgeous and strong and tall - I am tall and solid and cursed with muscled calves and I weigh more than I look like I do...
I have joked about not being able to lift the kids, and I have commented positively on how they are getting tall and strong and dh is always giving positive reinforcement to the girls in particular on how clever/strong/beautiful they are. I am sure the girls will still pick up on the social messages about weight and attractiveness - I don't know how to avoid that and I am sure I will/ have made mistakes
My two year old (now 3) equated big and heavy with growing up being like the "big kids" and able to do a lot more things independently. We would even tell him when we were allowing him to do/try something new ot was because he was growing bigger and stronger and more able. This has also just started having a bonus positive impact... he's been picky with vegetables recently but we keep commenting on how his legs just keep growing because of potatoes and peas and carrots. It's made him want to eat them again
Heavy isn't a way I would ever describe any child or adult. It's rude.
MN is educating me daily on the growing number of innocuous phrases that are now deemed to be "rude".
I'm size 12. My (not particularly strong, bless him) husband picks me up and says I'm heavy. I am. I'm heavy because I'm a human being, not a feather, and when I'm picked up by other human beings, most would describe me as "heavy". I'm not at all precious about being called heavy (although I can understand why the OP is, in this situation).
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