Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Body Issues at 9? She's Too Young for This!

Getting Caitlin ready for school on a daily basis is one of the most frustrating aspects of our morning routine. As soon as the thump-thump-thumping starts up from the twins' room, we roll out of bed, already somewhat out of sorts. Logan, you see, lays on his back in front of the door and kicks it to let you know that he's awake, dammit! Come and get him!

So that's fun.

Then, somehow, the thumping that wakes me up from down the hall has no impact on Caitlin, who is right next door to the twins. Or the cats miaowing to be fed. Or the alarm going off by her face.

First thing's first: I open Logan's door and he either immediately impresses upon me his dire need of food ("Hungreeeee! Food! Beckfast! Food! Food! Food!" Repeat until your brains drizzle out of your ears.) or he goes all cute on me and reminds me why I keep him alive on a daily basis (Holds his blanket up to his face, leaving only his eyes visible and gives me the Prince Charming smile and then snuggles into my lap after I've melted into the floor from the power of his smile.). Once the beasts are freed, I then have to go and boot Caitlin into action.

Normal idealized routine:
  1. Caitlin wakes up.
  2. Gets out of bed.
  3. Brushes her teeth and hair.
  4. Gets dressed in Parent Approved clothing (e.g. appropriate for current weather conditions, cleanliness and eyestrain).
  5. Feeds the cats.
  6. Makes her lunch, with assistance where required (e.g. slicing bread).
  7. Gathers up her class materials, finished homework and lunch and gets in the car.

Normal actual routine:
  1. Eric or I ask Caitlin to wake up.
  2. A parent returns, somewhat grumpily, in 5-10 minutes to get her out of bed.
  3. After yet another round of Get Up, Caitlin!, Caitlin finally gets out of bed. Attitude turned On and set to Petulant.
  4. Caitlin goes to feed the cats. Or maybe the twins have fed them with me, when Caitlin didn't appear within a few minutes of being told to wake up. Caitlin may decide to play with the cats or the twins, pet the cats or read a book.
  5. Grumpy parent grumps at Caitlin to work on items 3, 4, 6 and 7 from the list above.
  6. Caitlin gets dressed. Sets off Inappropriate Clothing Warning. Those capris have already been worn this week! Argument ensues.
  7. Lunch is made with some level of grumpy parental involvement. Parent is also making breakfast for twins who are yelling 'encouragement': "Syrup! Syrup! Syrup! Syrup! I want syrup! Syrup! Syrup! Can I have Syrup? Hungreee!"
  8. Remind Caitlin to brush her teeth. Receive attitude because asking such a thing Represses Her. Who needs good dental hygiene anyway?!
  9. Ask Caitlin to brush hair. Also, have you brushed your teeth yet?! You're running out of time!
  10. Throw breakfast together and hand it to her to eat while on the drive to school.

Last week, during the argument as part of step 6 from the Actual routine above, Caitlin hollered that she didn't have any pants to wear. When I checked her dresser, however, I found plenty of shorts that had been worn all summer. Suddenly Caitlin was throwing a fit because she cannot possibly wear shorts.

Mom-tuition flared up and I went into Detective Mom Mode.

Me: Why can't you wear shorts?
C: [After much wailing and attempts at dodging the question] Because my thighs jiggle in gym class when I kneel down!
Me: That's normal. You have muscles and tendons and a thin layer of fat under your skin that keeps you from dying. You are not fat. Did someone say something to you?
C: [Attempts to dodge question]
Me: YOU. ARE. NOT. FAT. Anyone that says so is INSANE. What's going on?!
C: [Crying] Bleeaaaaaargh!

It turns out that some boy at school has determined that Caitlin is neither girlish enough for him (Your hair is too short! Only boys have short hair!) or boyish enough (Your clothes are ugly! Red and blue don't go together! [Say what, white boy?!]) for him. She'd been trying to make him her friend and he was ripping her to shreds on a daily basis. She no longer wanted to wear any dresses or any shorts that showed her thighs all because of some jerk that has no clue about anything. Caitlin hasn't yet learned that not only can you not be friends with everyone, but that not everyone is worth being friends with!

So there we were, sitting on the floor of her bedroom, with our normal routine shot all to hell and it doesn't really matter, all because some brat is messing with my kid's body image. At the end of the hullabaloo, Caitlin was dressed in shorts and ready to go. However, I'm pretty certain that we haven't heard the end of the body issues. Ugh!

Nine is way too soon for body issues.

Isn't it?


Pixi Rae said...

You know, we have a lot of the same issues with R. One thing that helped her was giving her an alarm clock, so that no human had to actually "wake" her up. If she manages to sleep through it, one of us just flips her light on and leaves her be for a little while about 5 minutes after it went off. built in snooze. Not sure if that would help at all. And body issues? Check. We have them over here, too.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Sometimes I was amazed at how much I could hate other people's children. That boy would have been on my list.

Monica said...

Ugh. Other kids really suck sometimes. She does not exist to visually please him.

Better show her how all the magazine photos these days are Photoshopped. Not sure it will help, but it can't hurt. And point out some imperfection of his that will hurt (real or perceived). Time to kick his ass with his own bat.

badgermama said...

God that sucks! At least she told you.

My son pinched his stomach the other day to reveal about 1/4 inch layer of body fat and complained he worried about his stomach. Oh, my god. He doesn't even watch TV! 10 years of body positivity and feminist parenting with this result... I figure just keep trying to get a good message across and give them some way to analyze and undo that cultural damage...

Mom said...

Tell her Grandma's coming and and she only has beautiful grandchildren!

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