Thursday, January 19, 2006

Weighty Issues

Yesterday was Ayaan’s 8-month routine check-up at the doctor. Fingers and toes crossed, I placed him on the weighing scale. Hurrah! Weight gain was good this month. But for some reason he hasn’t grown a centimeter. In fact, he seems to have shrunk a centimeter. The doctor must have made an error measuring him the last time. He’s so wriggly; it’s actually quite hard getting the tape to stay on him long enough to make a completely accurate measurement. Anyway, the doctor says that it’s okay as he was a pretty tall baby to start with.

Ayaan was never plump, even when he was born, and two months of poor weight gain have ensured that he is somewhat thinner than your average bonny baby. Which is actually fine by me as he is active and healthy in all other respects. What I have a problem with is the constant comments from relatives and even complete strangers on the fact that he is thin. People have a stereotypical notion of fat, chubby babies being the only way to go. And any baby who falls short of that must therefore not be thriving. The worst description I have heard so far is ‘kamzor’ (weak). I hate that word. It implies that Ayaan is a poor, starved weakling. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ayaan is not starved or starving. He has (touch wood) a healthy appetite and is a very active baby.

This said, the fact of the matter is that I am deeply affected by such comments and opinions. Every time one of them comes my way, I feel like a bad mother and wonder what I may be doing wrong. So to make myself feel better and to appreciate Ayaan for what he is, I am going to make a list of why I am happy that Ayaan is the way he is:
  1. Ayaan is an extremely active child and is always on the go. They say that lighter babies are quicker to crawl and walk since they have less weight to get off the ground. At eight months, Ayaan is crawling, sitting and pulling himself up to a standing position.
  2. It’s far easier on my legs, arms and back to carry him around than it would have been if he were very plump. And since he still wants me to carry him for atleast an hour every day, this is not something to be scoffed at.
  3. There is now a substantial amount of research that has shown that childhood obesity has long-term consequences on the health of an individual. And babies who are overweight are much more likely to develop problems such as diabetes and high cholesterol when they reach adulthood. So thin is definitely better than fat.
  4. How and what children eat in early childhood does have a major influence on their eating habits later on. I am sure it would be pretty easy to fatten up Ayaan if I were to feed him high fat, oily food. But to what end? To make him look like someone else’s idea of a healthy baby? At the cost of him developing a taste for oily, greasy foods rather than fresh, healthy food? I don’t think so.

In summary, Ayaan is happy and healthy and I am proud of him just the way he is and wouldn’t change a thing.


  1. Ayaan's poor godfather was also hassled because he wasnt tall enough compared to Jai!! He was subject to weekly height "checks" against a swtich on the kitchen wall! Having experienced the pitch and tone and the length of Ayaan's protests - its safe to assume that this little chap has enough fire in his belly to become the don/ gangleader when he goes to playschool next year!

  2. Hail to the self-proclaimed godfather!!

  3. With Ayesha,I,ve just been reading your very honest and amusing updates with Ayaan for the first time. It seems something very creative, personal and hilarious. I think you're enjoying sharing your experiences with us as much as we're enjoying reading them.This is amazing!So till your next bulletein we wait for more surprises. More Happy shopping times to Ayaan, Mom and Dad !