I’m nearing tears as I drive home with the A/C on Turbo. Is it really 109 degrees at noon? Church has dismissed and though I love, love worship and fellowship at our beloved church, I often dread all the attention Finn attracts. Most of it is a blessing; Finn is so well loved. But my momma bear claws twitch as I hold my little nugget and shield him from so many well-meaning careless comments. “Whoa! How much does he weigh? That’s what my one year old granddaughter weighs!” “He’s soon going to be bigger than you!” “Look at those thighs!” “He’s so fat!” “Doesn’t miss a meal does he?” That one’s the most common. I bet I heard thirty of these “big boy” comments this morning. I can take them in small doses, like at the check out line in Target or with friends. But so many packed into two hours is too much to handle.

Now, I understand Finn is a baby. And babies are supposed to be chunky, so I shouldn’t be offended. I’m thankful for a healthy boy.

But Finn cannot move HALF of his body. He may not lose this chunk like able-bodied children do, kicking and crawling and walking. His metabolism is oh, so slow and may continue to be throughout his life. Finn’s legs don’t move so they don’t burn calories. The heavier his legs get, the harder it will be for him to move as he grows. 83% of people with Spina Bifida are overweight. This is terrifying to me as I am a fitness professional who promotes healthy living and want the same opportunity for my baby boy. If this weren’t enough, his silly parents had the bright idea to switch to cloth diapers, which make him about 5 pounds heavier and give him the booty of a five year old. We’ve cut back on Finn’s calories per Dr. Kolobe’s suggestion and may switch back to disposable diapers to allow his legs and hips more freedom to extend.

I wish I weren’t SO SEN-SI-TIVE about this. And sometimes I’m not; sometimes I’m cool. But today was too much.

I’m just such a fan of this little boy. His advocate. I know I won’t be able to protect him from getting hurt throughout his life, but I sure want to. I hope to learn from all you wise, seasoned parents how to protect your child yet still let them hurt. Ugh; parenting is tough, huh?


8 thoughts on “Sensitive

  1. So glad you wrote about this, Ash. There are so many things that are common comments that can be unknowingly hurtful. I remember being shocked to discover that a pregnant friend cringed every time someone mentioned how tiny she was (doesn’t every pregnant girl want to hear that!?!) because her baby constantly measured small. She connected her size with her baby’s and every comment made her feel guilty and worried. So yeah…totally different situation, but all that to say it’s always good to be made aware of how innocent comments may strike a sensitive spot. And if you figure out the whole protect them/let them hurt dilemma of parenting, be sure to let me know the secret 🙂

  2. I love this post and your sincere heart! I often feel the same way as I field comments about my 78-lb six year old. He has a genetic syndrome that causes low muscle tone and difficulty with coordination and balance. He’s always been big and most likely always will be! With every comment from well-meaning friends and strangers alike, I remind myself (and him!) that he is perfectly made and perfectly LOVED! Your sweet Finn will undoubtedly grow up with the same assurance from his wonderful mom!

  3. As a Mom, nothing is harder than seeing your child hurting or being hurt yourself by something said or done you felt perceive as offensive to him. So many times when Robby was growing up I had wished I could take certain burdens from him. I guess I had to find a way to come to peace with that by just being grateful for our many blessings and that his Dad and I were there to help him through the hard times, come what may. Finn will have you and Joey to help him and the rest is in God’s hands.

    xo Gwenn

  4. I wish there was a way I could protect you from the hurtful comments as well. I admire your faith a courage. You are a role model for the rest of us. Thank you for your honesty in your posts. Someday at Church I would love to hold your little man. He is such a joy and his smile is beautiful!! You are a great Mom!!

  5. Dear, sweet, Ashley. My granddaughter is hearing impaired and my daughter deals with stares and “well-meaning” comments on a daily basis. I try to remind her that most people are kind and wouldn’t intentionally say hurtful things. We all want to protect our babies…no matter how old they may be. I think of you daily and wish I could take your hurt away.

  6. Oh Ashley, I hurt for you. Parenting is the hardest thing you will do. I have truly enjoyed reading your blog, and seeing that sweet Finn as he grows. This sounds like a good sermon possibility. What words we speak, and how they come across to others. I have learned that I have to be responsible for how I react to something. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. I would take the ‘He’s chunky remark, as them meaning he’s healthy, that’s great. He’s a good eater, that is good. Not all babies are good eaters. To me, Finn looks like a normal little boy. Cute one, too. I see his little face with a smile, and immediately I have a smile on my face. As Beth above says, most people are kind, and wouldn’t intentionally say hurtful things. What is hurtful to us, might just be a hello, how are you…i’m not really sure what to say to you right now, so here goes. Not really thinking..words… Many of those comments made today were handed down through the ages. You, dear, Ashley, are a great parent. It is hard to deal with all the emotions, thoughts, scares, words, etc. Take some of your deep breathing exercises. Remember, they are words. I know I don’t really know how to help you, because I have to remind myself of things I just told you. I wish I could give you a hug, and take away the hurt in your heart! I will pray that will be. Keep being honest and open in these blogs. It might help you in a small way.

  7. Although I don’t pretend to relate to your specific situation, I can relate to the comments. Duke has always been a skinnier baby. When he was 2 months, a girl I hardly even knew said, “That is the skinniest baby I’ve ever seen!” She had no idea that he had extreme acid reflux and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with. Because of that and because I was one of those pregnant ladies that took forrrever to show, I always go with, “You look great!” or “Your baby looks great!” I don’t know you very well, but I think Finn looks just perfect. 🙂

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