Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Body Issues, at the Tender Age of 8

Aliza and I were sitting outside the other night in the backyard, making a fire in the firebowl, just her and I, chatting and laughing and relaxing.  And I kept thinking about how pretty she is.  I ran inside to get my camera and snapped some quick shots of her, but I can't capture it.  The green eyes, the freckles, the unruly, wavy hair.  I can capture her personality well in pictures, but for some reason I don't think they show how pretty she is.



I'm worried a lot right now about her self image.  Up until this spring, she's been blissfully unself-conscious.  She flitted around the neighborhood in shorts and tank tops every summer (and sometimes just a swimsuit), and she was a totally carefree, sunny, happy-go-lucky little girl.  I knew that wouldn't last forever, but I'd hoped to continue it for a more years.  I think it might be over now, at age 8.




She's so much pickier lately, about what she wears.  She won't wear shorts to school, she told me she's just going to wear long pants or capris.  I don't get it.  Everyone else wears shorts. Her classroom isn't air-conditioned.  A few times, if she thinks the shirt she's wearing is too tight or too short, she'll keep her jacket all day.  That can't be comfortable.


This smile makes me think of my cousin Andrea.
Last Thursday was "dress like a friend" day, and Aliza and her friend Sophie decided to dress in all red, from head to toe.  Aliza has red pants, that's easy.  Finding a shirt was tougher because all her red shirts were too small, she decided.  She definitely won't wear anything that, if she raises her arms above her head, shows her tummy.  But even the longer shirts are too snug.  She doesn't like anything body-hugging, and right now, that's the style in women's and girl's t-shirts -- go shopping check for yourself.   All the t-shirts for women are tapered and meant to fit like a second skin.  I don't like it any more than she does, and she probably knows that.

So I tried to show her how to stretch out a shirt a little, if she thinks it's too tight, but it wasn't working well enough for her and at one point she looked down, almost in tears saying "I'll just wear my jacket over it."  It breaks my heart.

I'd like to blame society for this, at least in part.  It isn't just the ads for adults that she happens to see.  It's the cartoons, too.  Just the other day I walked in on her watching an episode of Phineas and Ferb that had their sister Candace looking at a magazine called "Flawless Girl," and saying she is so glad she has that magazine to show her what clothes to wear, and how to fix her hair.  I don't want my 8 year old thinking about trying to be a "flawless girl." 

This video does a great job of showing you outwardly what the ads we see are telling our subconscious.




I guess all I can do is try hard to give her confidence in herself.  Make sure she eats healthy, gets lots of exercise but doesn't see it as exercise, and knows she is a smart, fun, and gorgeous little kid.


Nobody told me I was going to have to worry about things like this as a parent.  So much of my worrying is taken up by the boys.  I guess I'll have to reserve some of my worry quota for my daughter too.

1 comment:

Magic Ear Kids said...

I remember feeling that way when I was a kid. It hit me when I was about 12. Seems like they go through everything earlier these days. I was always self conscious about my arms. I thought they were too long. I was always pulling my shirts down over my hands. I think it just takes the hard fought maturity of age to feel comfortable in your own skin. Until then, lots of hugs help!

~Joey (Big Teeth & Clouds)

Labels

#youmightbeanautismparentif 2012 in review 9/11 memories ABA therapy Acceptance acronyms advocacy affection aggression AJ Aliza Aliza the playwright All I really need to know... Alphabitty Moments American Girl Ann Coulter antibullying anxiety anxiety in parents of children with special needs apple orchard apps for autism AppSmitten Arbaclofen Arbitrary Thoughts ARC autism autism brushing autism portrayed in TV shows Autism Shines awareness backyard band baseball bath toys beds behavior problems being tall Birthday Boys biting blog change blog hop blogging books bottles brushing bubbles Burnsville Fire Muster bus Cabin Fever in Minnesota candy Carly Fleischmann Carly's Voice cats cats and dogs chewys Chicago childcare for special needs children childhood Children's Museum chocolate Christmas Church circumin clinical trials Clonidine CNN Hero of 2011 coffee communication comparisons computer Conference cost of special education Courage Center Curcumin daddy dance dance competition dance moms Dental surgery dentist developmental milestones diagnosis diapers Diego Disability Day dogs Dolphin Tale Doomsday Preparation Dora Doritos drug trials DVD player early intervention earrings Easter ECSE Parent Retreat electronic gadgets electronics Everything I need to know... Evil Overlord fall falling asleep at school families family fashion fear Featured Feel Good Friday field trip fireworks first day of school Flash Gordon Food Chronicles food issues in Fragile X and autistic children forms forts Fragile Face of God Fragile X Fragile X advocate Fragile X and autism Fragile X Awareness Day Fragile X carriers Fragile X in the news Fragile X presentation Fragile X statistics Fragile X Writers friends fundraiser for Fragile X funniest Funny Gabrielle Giffords Galveston games getting carsick Girls' Night Out Giving Spirit glasses global warming going home Good Morning Great Quotes guest blogs guest post haircuts Halloween hearing test Heaven is for Real hippotherapy holidays Holland Holly home life homework hotel hugging human behavior hyperactivity IEP Meeting IEPs in the news inclusion inspiration integration iPad iPad apps iPad apps for autism IQ testing Jack Jablonski January First Joke journal entry kids with Fragile X and animals Kindergarten Kindle kisses language study learning to talk leaves lemonade stand Lily Little Einsteins losing teeth Mad Gab makeup mall Mall of America marcia braden McDonalds media sensationalization medications Melatonin Miami MIND Institute Minnesota Bloggers Conference minocycline Miracle League monkeys mosquito bites Mother's Day movies MVMOM Used Clothing and Equipment Sale nail trimming names naughtiness neighbors nicknames nightmares normal off topic one thing leads to another online dating Operation Beautiful oral sensory orphan drug act other bloggers Our Wedding outside overstimulation panic attacks parade parental stress Parenthood park Partners in Policymaking penicillin people with disabilities pets pharmacy fun photography Photoshop picnic Pictures pinching pink shirt Pinterest playing outside playing with toys poem politics poop potty training Presents protecting autistic children rash reading to kids research Retreat riding a bike Robin Williams Roger Ebert routine RSS feed RUSH University San Diego Sandy Hook Elementary Santa schedules school school bus school notes school pictures screaming self image self-checkouts sensory Seroquel siblings with developmental delays sick kids sippy cups sleep smile snow pictures Snowstorm social situations speaking of the unspeakable special education special education evaluation special needs kids special needs parents Special Needs Ryan Gosling Special Olympics spelling spoon feeding spring break staying positive stimming Strep STX209 Stylish Blog Award suicide summer Sunday School Sundays sunshine survival mode swimming talking talking to kindergarteners Target teacher's aides Teeth brushing Tegretol Temple Grandin Ten Commandments textbook case of Fragile X thankful thanksgiving that window/mirror thing The Autism Store The R Word the rapid passage of time The Right Things to say to parents of special needs children The Santa Experience the Shedd Aquarium The Twin Thing The Wiggles therapeutic horseback riding therapy This is Autism topless trampoline traveling with special needs children TV twins with special needs Twitter typical Fragile X characteristics typical kids typing vacation Vacation Bible School video games videos volunteering Waisman Center water play way-back-Wednesday What I've Learned What's your song? when a special needs parent dies Wiggles Wii games Winner Winner Chicken Dinner winter wonder Wonder Pets Wordful Wednesday Wordless Wednesday Words of Wisdom World Autism Awareness Day YMCA You Tube Zack Zoloft zoo animals

Fragile X Blogs