My boy is happy today.
One of the things I haven't told you is that he quit eating. At first it was just being really choosy about what he ate, picking things on their healthfulness (like yogurt over ice cream, forgoing anything fried). I was so proud of his choices. Then he started turning his nose up at even healthy things. Until he either wouldn't eat at all, or would eat very little. In the last month, he lost 15 lbs, going from 90 and some change to 75. He's probably at a more ideal weight now (he was a little on the chubby side), but HOW he got there really wasn't healthy.
I know. I've done it myself. In fact, I've literally starved myself fat.
By putting my body in starvation mode so much during my life, I've trained my body to hold on to every calorie it can get a hold of. And it has. I'm trying to retrain it to be healthy and fit.
When I was younger (in my teens) I just forgot to eat. I have pictures of myself with collarbones that could "slice cheese" as the paparazzi seems fond of saying. There was one very active summer and combined with the lack of food - well, let's say I could have played a holocaust victim with little trouble.
After the first time I got married, I started cooking. I grew up in a family of 8 and that's how I knew how to cook - for 8. When you do that for two, there's a lot of food. I put on weight. But I wasn't really FAT. Just nicely rounded.
When I left him, I started smoking. And drinking coffee. It was the cigarettes and coffee diet that took the nicely rounded off of me. But I wasn't very healthy. And I had no muscle tone.
Then I met Darling Man. He was into mountain biking and climbing, so I was too. That year before we married was probably my most physically fit year ever (even though I was still smoking). We went on active vacations; we rode our bikes around town to get from point A to point B.
I actually lost weight when I got pregnant with ZBoy. The doctor freaked since I was already a high-risk pregnancy, so he put me on a high calorie diet for two. Let's just say that it worked.
Dropping a nearly 8 pound baby hardly put a dent in my weight. The C-Section cut the muscles of my abdomen and caused an infection. It was a long time before I could actually use those muscles again.
I quit smoking three years ago. Add 30 lbs that never came off.
So you can see that I have been a little obsessed with weight. It's been a part of my life since I was little - because even when I was skin and bones, I thought I was fat and struggled to lose weight.
When I saw my son plumping out more than the normal chub that occurs before a growth spurt, I started talking to him about making healthier choices in his food and not eating until he was stuffed. I didn't think he was listening.
When he started the Champions program at school, he was having very busy Tuesdays and Thursdays - Champions, PE, KenPo. LOTS of physical activity. At first, I attributed his weight loss to that, but as time passed, I realized that there was more (or less) to it than I thought.
He wouldn't touch ice cream. He only drank water. He pushed his food around so it would look like he ate when he really didn't. Of course, since I've done all those things, I saw through him.
Then the bullying thing came to light. I was scared for my boy. The happy, cheery child I'd been raising was disappearing quickly and I didn't know how to stop it. He was always angry and sullen.
If you've ever had an eating disorder, you know that part of it is about control. When the rest of your world is spinning out of control, you CAN control what you put in your mouth - or if you put food in your mouth at all. Somehow, I remembered this through all my own angst over ZBoy, and with that realization came a plan. I didn't know how well it would work, but I'd try it.
The result was the email to the teachers and the principal. The teachers all took ZBoy aside and talked to him about what was happening, and acknowledged that he was being wronged and that they knew he was capable of striking back but wasn't.
Sometimes, a little validation goes a long way.
He went and got ice cream with his daddy after school. And he ate it. We ordered pizza for dinner and he ate it. He's been cheerful and happy today.
I am not naive enough to think that a cure was that easy. He has a doctor's appointment tomorrow to check out his health and his throat - his stress has been manifesting itself in difficulty swallowing. And if it becomes necessary, I have a recommendation for a good child counselor.
Let me learn from my own trials with weight and control - and let me help my son avoid the pitfalls of the same.
Let me be an example of the right way to do it now. I know it's a struggle. To make your way in the world, to lose weight when you need to, to be proud of yourself.
Let me help you, son.