Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
Since Hallie was a newborn, I’ve been calling her “chunk-a-dunk” and any related version of that. Hallie is, and always has been, my chunky girl. I mean no offense by it, but there are some people that have questioned what Hallie will think of this as she gets older. Am I setting her up to be self-conscious? I truly don’t think so.
Let’s say I shouldn’t call Hallie chunky. Would you say anything if I referred to her as a “skinny little thing” or “scrawny?” I’ve heard those terms used in an endearing fashion, but because it’s praising thin over fat, now we have a problem. Maybe neither term should be used, and that I shouldn’t refer to my daughter’s body one way or the other. Great idea, but honestly, I don’t think that’s realistic.
I hate to break it to you, but Hallie has chunky thighs. Since birth, she couldn’t be zipped into pajamas meant for children twice her age because of her thighs, and she is in a size too big of diapers because they don’t fit around her legs otherwise. She doubled in weight in the first few weeks of life, and continues to be a very healthy, growing child.
We live in a world that is body-obsessed, and if Hallie hears nothing about her body from me, that’s not going to stop her hearing it from others. Being chunky is Hallie’s reality, at least right now. And more than likely, Hallie will tower over her peers at a very early age. She is going to be bigger than the other kids in some way, and no, my goal is not to “toughen her up”. Once she is a bit older, I will talk to her about loving her body exactly the way it is.
Hallie will know that she is beautiful and strong. Hallie will know that she doesn’t need to look like anyone but herself to be valued and respected. Hallie will know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being thick OR thin, short OR tall. Hallie will know that she is worthy of love, regardless of her figure. Hallie will know that true beauty shines from the inside out.
So what if Hallie has chunky thighs? Why can’t she love the body she’s in? At a very young age, girls are already convinced that they need to be skinny. By 5 or 6 years old, girls are on diets, and developing insecurities that will haunt them as they age. All I’m saying, is that even if Hallie loses every bit of that chunk before she is school-age, her body will be a target. I just want to meet her where she is right now, and teach love for every stage of growth.
I want Hallie to own whomever she decides to be. I’m never going to let her believe she is anything but perfect, and honestly, chunk-a-dunk is just a phrase. It doesn’t have to define her. Some random stranger can tell her how pretty she is, which says nothing about how smart she is, and you have a problem with my loving terminology? You better check yourself, because I have more of a problem with a stranger emphasizing that she is supposed to be pretty, than me being honest with her about her body.
For all I know, she will grow to be seven feet tall and be stick-thin, and I’ll probably still call her chunk. If she decides one day that she doesn’t want to be called chunk, I am also going to raise her to be able to tell me that. Hallie will have the tools to not only love herself, but demand respect from others, too.
Before you think that I’m fat-shaming my toddler, you better consider all the other things that my daughter gets called, and will be called, that she didn’t ask for. I will never call her “fat” or shame her in any way, but I will explain her body to her, because this is where self-love starts. “Chunk” is the least of my concerns, especially when that is paired with “brave”, “smart”, and “kind” on a daily basis. Hallie will know what she’s about, don’t you worry.