Lay Off the Carbs

1

A few months ago,
Someone told my baby
“Lay off the carbs”,
As if a 12-month-old baby
Has any idea what ‘carbs’ are,
Let alone the idea of ‘weight’.

A few months ago,
When these words rocked my world,
I did not know what to say.
I stood speechless in the kitchen,
Watching my baby continue to press
His flattened nose against the window,
Completely unaware
of what the world has in store.

Speechless, perhaps,
because when I think of weight,
I think of me,
of my excesses,
And of numbers.
Numbers on pants.
Numbers on scales.
Numbers belonging to goals
That feel miles away.

I don’t think of the scrumptious rolls,
Or the round cheeks,
Or the kissable belly
Of my 12-month-old boy.

When I think of my baby,
And the concept of weight,
I want him to think of
Weighing apples,
And fruits that we buy by the pound
To eat as a mid-day snack.
Feeling weightless as he swims
In a pond, or a lake, or a pool,
Or when he is thrown in the air by his dad.
The weight his arms can carry,
As he proudly drags a toy up the stairs,
Or around the house.
The weight of burdens he can lift
When he puts a smile on our faces,
Or when his snuggles are what I needed
After a long, thankless day.
The sticky weight of kisses,
Whose prints are left on rosy cheeks
Before being wiped off.
The weight of hugs that are tight
And tender
And necessary.

Because weaponizing weight
Makes my baby forget all of these things.
Commenting on his weight
Tells my baby,
Who will one day be a boy,
And then a man,
That growth and change are bad
Unless it is carefully monitored,
Carefully recorded on the steel slab
Of a scale.

Counting blocks turns into
Practice for counting carbs.
Balancing toys
Becomes balancing meals,
Teeter-tottering between
Skipping breakfast
And gorging at lunch.
And weight becomes
A fearsome, foul word
That is somehow the measuring stick
Of our worth.

So next time you tell my son
To “lay off the carbs”
Know that I will not be left speechless.
Instead, I will crush you
With the weight of
The feelings that have been on my heart
Since that day a
few months ago.

1 COMMENT

  1. Beautifully written! I am apalled someone wouldnsayb that to a baby. It breaks my heart seeing my child in the world and having to deal with things I cant control. Ive always wanted to “keep the world out” for my kids for as long as possible. Just trying to hold their innocense and ignorance.

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