My Dog Is Fat

Yesterday on the “news” – Breakfast Television – I saw the following headline: Pediatricians say parents turn a blind eye to childhood obesity.  I know that it is a serious and sad issue, but I rarely think about childhood obesity, as I have the opposite problem; my kids are very, very skinny.  They are countable-ribs, toothpick-legs skinny.  They are sigh-of-relief-when-they-gain-a-pound skinny.  They are stomach-flues-give-me-incredible-stress-because-of-weight-loss skinny.
Remember those growth charts and percentiles we all fretted about or possibly are still fretting about, when the kids were babies?  For a type-A, competitive mother, it was all about achieving the maximum percentile on the growth chart.  That’s how you knew you were doing a good job of mothering.  You would think that the key to our children’s future success would be in becoming as gargantuan as possible, given the effort and thought we gave to the growth chart.  “Your son is in Harvard Business School?”  “Well, yes!  He is seven feet tall and four hundred pounds.  He was always in the 99th percentile.”  Anyway, my children were always, always consistently in the 60-75th percentile for height, and the 25th for weight.  Beanpoles.
I feed them three wholesome meals and three wholesome snacks a day.  They drink whole milk with chocolate syrup and smoothies made with full-fat yogurt.  I butter their bread.  I bake all the time – muffins, cookies, loaves – so that they can have homemade, calorie-dense snacks.  They eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables.  I allow them ice cream and treats.  My doctor, my dear doctor who has been practicing medicine for over thirty years tells me that they are healthy and growing well, and their weight is fine, but I know that they are one stomach flu away from being seriously underweight and so I am happy and relieved when the scale goes up.
Yesterday I took the dog for his annual checkup and discovered, startlingly, that he has gained TEN POUNDS in the past year.  Ten pounds!  I felt sick to my stomach, thinking that my two year old dog is now overweight.  He is part Labrador, and so he would eat constantly if he was allowed to.  I walk him for thirty minutes every day, but frequently when I have been busy, instead of sitting down and playing with him or petting him, I have been giving him treats to show my affection.  In other words, my dog, my poor fat dog, is now on a diet because of me.  “It’s not enough to increase his exercise,” the vet said, “You need to really cut calories.”  Which is, strangely enough, exactly what the doctor in my maternity group practice said to chubby, post-partum me six years ago.  So I feel guilty and sad.  Weight issues, one way or the other, are overwhelming.

“We may be skinny, but we are happy!”

The beanpoles.

The fat dog.


  1. I love your pictures. Aren’t the leaves just beautiful lately? I think your dog is cute :0)

  2. Poor puppy.
    I almost hesitate to write this as I amy jinx myself BADLY, but we rarely if ever experience the stomach flu. And I have a little boy who could use a bit of stomach flu. Poor child is ALWAYS being made to exercise.
    And the other one eats three grapes and a week and feels full. There is no explaining it.

  3. I try not to stress too much about the kids and food. They seem to go through stages where they eat non-stop and then others where they exist on air. They’re not overweight so I try not to fret. Your kids look okay to me. They’re wispy. 🙂

    Poor puppy won’t be too jazzed to be on a diet I bet.

  4. Your boys look perfectly healthy and happy!

    But, I know what you mean, one of my sons is super skinny, too. In fact, he’s so thin that the slim jeans are baggy.

    They’ll fill out eventually, right?

  5. Our old cat was on a diet, too. Feed with love.


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