Friday, October 19, 2007

Leading Up

He was never fat. I did have to buy him some "husky" sized church pants once. At that point, I was more concerned about his eating habits than I was about his size.

We've never emphasized weight in our family. In fact, because of observing others who talked about weight at every turn, we really didn't discuss weight at all. There were some exceptions. First, I'm prediabetic. I have to be so careful about the things I eat and my exercise habits. He has observed this about me since he was four years old. Right now his dad is heavy. He has struggled with his weight and yo-yoed in and out of the Atkin's diet three or four years ago. I did the Atkin's diet with his dad -- since so many of the principles were consistent with diabetic eating.

Instead of talking about weight, I would talk about being "healthy." We all talked about healthy choices, healthy habits and healthy foods. Unfortunately, I also labeled foods as good and bad. He seemed to hear these discussions and partially apply them to his eating and habits, but it was never an obsession.

He is such an intelligent boy. He was academically gifted from the beginning. He had passed by the other kids his age years ago. His teachers varied, though, on whether they would make accomodations for him. Two were fantastic and kept him busy. Three teachers, however, insisted that he stay with the class. He became bored and developed bad work habits. So, in fifth grade we had him tested for an accelerated classroom. Of course he qualified. We were very prayerful about having him attend -- and in the end we left it up to him. The program has been both good and bad. Good because he is finally challenged. Bad because he no longer stands out among peers. Bad because it was a very rough year helping him to change his bad work habits.

N has always been obedient -- a good kid that wants to please us and do what is right. I realize now that I have always put a lot of pressure on him. I have very high expectations. I always have my fingers in a million things. We spend regular family time together -- but I also volunteer at the school and spend significant amounts of time in church service. I play in a local orchestra and am involved in local politics. Family is my priority -- but not always my immediate focus.

I have good kids. They are all good, obedient and kind. We praise and support them anyway that we can. He hasn't been involved in too many things. He plays the guitar, attends scouts, and plays occassional sports. He loves video games and reading. He is like any other kid and can take a whole Saturday to finish 15 minutes of chores. I really thought he had a good sense of self-worth.

I could never have imagined that anorexia could affect any of my boys -- it's a girl's disease. It's been a surprising and overwhelming at times because of this misperception.

1 comment:

Erin said...

Hi Wendy,

I found your blog and decided to start from the beginning. Hopefully you get this. I too thought it was a girl's disease. That it was about food and body image but I'm finding its about a lot more.

I'm "in recovery" -- I use quotes because I just started and its not going so well. My six year old nephew who is not at all overweight not even by half a pound told me he didn't want pizza for dinner because he needed to watch his weight. I was around that age when I started being preoccupied with my body image and I see where it's taken me.

It's powerful that you and your husband have stepped in to save your son. I'm keeping my eye on my nephew. I don't want this life for him.