Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ummm....yeah, I ask you what the **ll?

WARNING...this post is dreadfully long and full of venting, it isn't warm and fuzzy. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

I am so hoppin' mad about this little book my 7 yr. old brought home yesterday! Seriously, I lost sleep last night over it! My poor neighbor was roused out of bed at the butt crack of dawn to me wondering if I was over reacting. She said I should blog about it...so here goes...

Now I want you all to know that this is a sensitive subject for me. I am heavy, I actually weigh more right now that I did nine months pregnant with any of my kids. Believe me, I DO know why, I eat the wrong stuff, too much of it and sewing doesn't burn many calories. Do I wish I was smaller? You bet! Do I convince myself that I am just fine? Absolutely! Do I die every time I see a pic of me? Yup. Am I doing anything about it right now? Not really. Do I consider myself morbidly obese? No. Do I still participate in my active families lives? Very much so. Dieting however isn't for me, lifestyle changes is what I'm looking for.

What I do not need is my little man Jack telling me that I should go on a diet (oh yes he did!). Why did he tell me that you ask? This book has something to do with it. Please read along...

Note the cover...mom looking miserably at the "healthy" salad she obviously feels resigned to eating. First thing, why are they using the word "Diet"? I have two little girls (who luckily will not have my genetic tendency for being heavy), we don't use the word "diet" here. We use the words, healthy, beautiful, active...I'm sure you get the idea. I am very careful when talking about weight in this house. My mom (bless her heart) wasn't, she still isn't. I was weighed everyday when I was 13 for a period of time and I wasn't overweight at all. I also grew up in the era of "there are starving children in Ethiopia, you finish your plate then lick it clean". My mom was "chubby" growing up and it really bothered her. She was bound and determined to make sure I didn't suffer the same fate. To this day, I have anxiety when my mom sees me, isn't that sad? I know she means well, but really, I don't need to be asked if I have considered lap band. Please understand that I love my mom dearly and none of us are perfect. I am certain I will and have made serious parenting mistakes that will come back to haunt me.

This is the part that I ask "What the **ll?". Really? The kids are watching her on the scale? They are soaking in her face of discouragement.

Now here she is trying to button up her jeans. Notice the dialogue. Have you ever had this conversation with your children? Nope, me neither. My husband, yes. My friends, yes. Sister, yes.

Now here is poor mom feeding her family a very balanced diet of....lettuce and tomatoes. I'm sure these kids are really getting the whole eating healthy concept now. Even better, they are so excited about it!

Forlorn boy being told he's going to eat parsley, carrots and fish. Hey, at least there is some protein in there. Carrots are good too, but parsley? Really? One word...yuck.

Umm...yeah. You don't even want to know what I have to say about this page.

Ah hah moment! Mom is divorced! That's why she has to talk about her body image issue with her small children, because she certainly doesn't have friends or sisters. Dad of course is "Disneyland Dad" with that yummy looking cake in the fridge. Mom has obviously been on lots of diets, because dad seems to smuggly know all about it.

On the scale everyday? Really? That's scary, how much do these kids think a person can lose in a day? Look at her face. How sad that the kids are portrayed to be her counselor.

Uh oh...mom crashed and burned on her "diet". Bet that's happened before. Now they can really be "happy", spaghetti is on the table and mom isn't so sad anymore. They love their "cuddly momma". My kids love their fluffy momma too :o)

And this is how we end the book all about eating healthy, having a healthy body image and having confidence in who we are. Mom eating a donut, so that in month or so, she can start this whole thing again. I wonder at what point her daughter will start to mimic her antics?

I am really sorry to post about this here, it's kind of a downer. What do you think? Can we talk about this? I realize it's only a book, but really to me it's disturbing that my child and other children have been sent home this garbage, especially all those little girls. I understand that obesity is a real problem in our society. In our house we have good food and right next to it there is junk, that may not be the way you do it in your house but at the Parry home that's exactly what you'll find in my pantry. In my experience the kids that are denied so called "junk" binge the minute mom isn't looking. There are kids in my neighborhood who come to my house just to eat. I can have a bag of M&M's sitting out all week and my kids won't touch it because it isn't off limits. However, I went to the grocery store yesterday and bought a 7.99 bag of clementines (yikes!) and guess what? As of this morning, they are gone, all twenty something of them. My kids are very active, they play all sports and they really aren't interested in the Wii that we own. They eat fruit, vegetables and yes, candy too.

So what's my problem? Geez, where do I start. I like food. I have 7 kids that are running nonstop from the minute they walk thru the door. I really don't like to exercise. I am not as organized as I should be. My grandparents are heavy. Blah, blah, blah. Basically, I just am not willing to make the changes that I need to make right now. My husband lost a little over 100 pounds almost 10 yrs. ago. He just got tired of being heavy and decided to change. It took a long time, he didn't take pills, shots or have surgery (I don't think there is anything wrong with those things if one chooses to use them). He simply got up one morning went running, puked his guts out when he got home and quit eating sugar. That's it. He didn't watch protein, carbs or fat...just sugar. Food is nothing but fuel to him and because of that he's kept it off. So until I am willing to do that, no "dieting" for me. Been there, done that, didn't work. Sorry for my vent, but really I laughed, fumed and then cried when I read this book. I just don't know what to do with this situation.

What do you think? How should I handle this with the school? I don't want to make an idiot of myself, am I just overly sensitive or is this book what I perceive it to be? Seriously, your thoughts are valued and I consider you all my friends and I want to know what you really think.



  1. Wow. I am shocked and disgusted at that book!
    I want to thank you for being so honest...I imagine that was hard to share.
    I agree fully with you on having both healthy and junk foods in the house. Kids who aren't allowed those things in moderation will binge when momma's not around and that is never good.
    I believe in living an active life and eating all things in moderation and I NEVER talk to my children about "dieting" or weight.
    I would talk to the teacher if this was sent home with my child.

  2. I can not believe that this is a book that kids read!! Why would you right about a mom on her diet... Do kids really care what someone weights?? I know that my 8 month old cares a lot about yogo bits and apple juice... she hasn't once said hey you need to loose weight or eat an apple LOL which duh she can't but you get my point.

    I believe that you should maybe talk to the teacher about the book and I sure hope that it is not really mandatory that this book be read. I wonder how many other parents have said something about it too.


  3. Thank you for posting your rant, I totally agree! I can't tell you how many awful books my kids have been sent home with. I am the mother of twin girls that are just entering grade school and I try every day to counteract the multitude of stereotypes out there. Thanks again for posting, and just know that you are not alone! p.s. I wouldn't talk to the school about it, I would be willing to bet that a lot of the teachers thought it was a dumb book too!

  4. It stuns me that a book like this is in a school library.

  5. I am completely horrified that this is school reading. I cannot get over that a publisher allowed this crap to exist at all! I am thin and I think this book is offensive! And written by a woman! Who is this Joy person, she must have 0 self esteem.
    I would mention it to the teacher for sure. Just a one on one to express your view - get a feel of what head space the teacher is at and go from there if you need to.
    Good luck!

  6. That is the dumbest book I have EVER seen! If it were me, I would go to the teacher first and explain my disgust for such a ridiculous book and ask to have it removed from the library. But sadly, this book won't be the only encounter your kids, my kids, all kids will have with unhealthy ideas about food and weight and body image. Looks like its a great opportunity for you to have a talk about these things with your kids and express your values. Also a good opportunity to explain that not everything they read, even in school, is quality reading material - a "take it with a grain of salt" lesson if you will. Bottom line - I totally agree with your position on this. I literally had my jaw drop open while looking through the pages.

  7. GOOD GRIEF! What is that school thinking??? The only "junk" I see in your post is that moronic book! That book is TOTALLY inappropriate. Parents need to be responsible for what their children are exposed - whether it is what they eat, or what they read! The government and the school has NO right to dictate what is a healthy weight or healthy eating habits or anything else on a personal level such as that! I agree with your post, I am horrified that your child was given that book to read and I think you should definitely go to the teacher, the principal and the school board about it!

  8. I am shocked that they would actually publish this book. I am struggling with the whole weight issue myself. I am 50 pounds overweight, but don't look it. Everyone who knows me is shocked that I am really that much overweight. Would I want to loose it all? No. 20, maybe 30, but 50 would make me look sick. I wish there was a magic pill, a magic anything that would make it go away, but there isn't. I work in a pizza place and honestly, after 17 years, I still love pizza. I think it is sad that they make it out that lettuce and tomatoes are yucky. They shouldn't be. They are actually quite yummy. But they are jading these kids' opinions without even giving them the opportunity to judge for themselves. I agree with Allison, now is the perfect opportunity to discuss 'body image' with your children. There was actually a huge article not long ago on Marie Claire and one of the editors was bashing the new sitcom 'Mike and Molly'. I was disgusted. This woman probably never had a temptation in her life. She bashed everything about being heavy. I think she should have been fired. After over 1100 negative comments she issued an apology.
    Elementary school is the time they should be teaching children to appreciate fruits and vegetables, but how often are children actually served them? They should have a serving of fresh veggies every day in the hot lunch line. But then to tell them how much better spaghetti is? Please!
    I am with you about leaving candy out. I have bags of halloween candy left, bags. My kids might eat a piece every-other day, but apples? Can't keep them around. I don't think it is good to put something off limits.
    Obviously a very sensative issue for me too. I spent most of my life being a size 3 and 4 kids later I am definately not that any longer. I would definately say something about this on the school level. It isn't even the diet bashing, but the self esteem issues. Aren't these kids getting it enough with all the media? Now they aren't even safe in the school library.
    Know this, there are more people out there who struggle. We are just a few. My sister just lost a bunch of weight and I watch her cook at holiday's and then she chants her little thingy about how nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
    I beg to differ.

  9. I actually started cracking up reading through this book on your page, thought it was for adults, um, yeah, that's just wrong if kids are suppose to read it. I believe you nailed it with the title!

  10. What a shocker. I'd take it up with the teacher and say how inappropriate you thought it was. I recently did the same with one of my seven year old's readers that was about a family losing a baby. (Not written in a great manner.) I'm lucky I pulled it out of his bag and flicked through it first, I didn't let him read it and brought it up with the teacher (after talking to a couple of other parents who also felt odd about the book being on the reading list.) The teacher removed it. I hope you feel better after your vent.

  11. Given the amount of eating disorders in girls as young as 7-8, (see Raising Ophelia,etc)...I would definitely talk to a teacher. Bottom line, it does not portray healthy eating (much less divorced relationships) in a good way....

  12. The book is ridiculous! You being overweight is not even a factor here. That book is going to add to kids thinking too much about diet and body image. Especially young girls have enough media onslaught about all of that.
    I wonder what they serve in the school cafeteria just before or after the kids get these books to read. Ugh.

  13. Wow. I am amazed! How is this book educational and what is it trying to teach our children? That is appalling! I would absolutely go to the school and ask them to explain the education merits of the book. I can't believe it even got published. It is completely offensive and I am not overweight. I would never want my child reading that book.
    Good luck and thanks for sharing!

  14. Crazy! Crazy! I cannot believe that book is at a school and that no one has pulled it out of the library. I am just so shocked! I think that you have every right to be upset. You need to tell the school about it and get it out of there. I can't believe someone would write that crap. When was the book written 1980? I would have reacted just like you! Let us all know what you decide to do!

  15. I was aware of my mother's "weight" problem merely because she had us on every "healthy" diet she read about, and because my grandmother made it a point to tell her and us girls how big or little we looked every time we went to visit. My mother always looked good to me. She still looks good and still complains about her weight. I have always been insecure because my weight was always pointed out to me. Too thin, too heavy... Unfortunately, weight and healthy eating seems to be the only personal issue that others feel it is their business to talk about. Child obesity is a "problem" that the government has chosen to fix, so now I am sure more books like this will be in classrooms. I am sorry your child has been exposed to this in school. It is wrong. The message of eat healthy or you'll be the cause or your family's sadness is not the lesson that I would want my children learning. I don't think you over-reacted, I would have been just as upset. I think schools need to concentrate on teaching the basics and leave rearing kids to the parents. Thank you -

  16. The book is poorly written and poorly portrays not only diet, but relationships. The relationship of the 'divorced' parents. The relationship of the parents to the children. And the overall inapropriateness of the whole **mn thing.

    Really, I am not at all sure what the point of this book was. Is it supposed to show that all overweight women give up and that is why they are divorced? I mean seriously....where is the moral or the propaganda? It just seems like a dumb and inappropriate book for any child of any age.

    First, if they want to promote healthy body image, healthy eating, and a healthy attitude, this is NOT the book.

    Second, if they want to promote reading, this is not the book.

    I would first find out if this was a teacher chosen book and specific only to her classes. If so, I would talk to him/her and then to the principle or board. If the book is school wide I would get the PTA together to take it up with the board. The more people you have behind you, the better.

  17. I also am a pleasantly plump women. I am big, bold, and to some beautiful. I have a husband who of course would like me to lose the weight, however, he is not a horrific about it. School's are meant to teach facts regarding, reading writing and arithmetic. Not socially transforming a child against the norm of a home. Each home is different and should be so. I don't want to be like the person next door. I just want to get along.This book teaches children to judge their parents in a negative like, and become obsessive about their own shelve. We see what that can do to children. Bulimia, anorexia, anxiety, and the need for Prozac and the like. I too am angry. My children are grown so I am not dealing with that. I just don't want my future grandchildren to feel pressure to judge their parents too.

  18. I really think it's sad that the school would think that was an okay book. What good could anyone possibly see coming from that?
    I would have no problem letting the school know how I felt!

  19. I am absolutely disgusted that the book is allowed in a school. There are so many things wrong with it that I don't even know where to start. Hugs.

  20. Wow! That book is wrong on so many levels. I cannot imagine that the teacher/school thinks this is OK. Please take your concerns to the teacher. We need to stand up and object when we see this kind of thing. Let your concerns be heard. Your opinion matters.

  21. I agree with EVERYTHING that has been said on this comment page! I am absolutely appalled by the book and the message in the book. Wait, what was the message? Oh right, there wasn't one!

    Maybe your child was just trying to say that he loves his cuddly momma too!

  22. This -- is awful. The worst is that damned donut at the end. Let's see, we've covered diets, deprivation, Super Smug Dad, giving up on goals, and reverting to bad habits, all in one story. I think they MEANT to say, "like people for who they are" but WHAT a way to do it! I am disgusted.

  23. I recognize that book. I am a social worker by degree and have spent many years working with children in hospital and health related settings. Several years ago it was determined that books written at a kid level helped them talk about their feelings related to topics hard for them to understand and talk about. They were really designed to only be used with a professionals input and leading discussion. This one is not necessarily the best, but it really should never be used just as a reading assignment or on an open book shelf for such young kids. I wonder if your library has a set of these. Other topics could be as horrifying in the wrong hands too.

  24. I think the book is awful. You are correct, diets are not the way to go. I could go on for days. . . but I will spare you.
    You can vent anytime you want! And way to go getting rid of it.

  25. I think the book is horrible too, however, I think your commentary on it is hilarious! I'm overweight too and some things you just have to laugh at.... Thanks for a good laugh!

  26. What I thought about the book was how mis-informed the writer was on what a "Healthy" meal was. Just lettuce and tomatoes? Just fish with carrots and parsley? First of all, how many of you mothers are told to feed your child a BALANCED meal by their doctors? How many of you have seen the food pyramid brought home by your children from school, when they had been learning about the different food groups they should be eating from? I wonder if this author has children. And why didn't the mom say they could have spaghetti? They could have used wheat noodles or multi-grain ones. Why didn't she have the spaghetti with the lettuce and tomatoes? She could have taught her children about everything in moderation is a good thing. Wow!I could go on and on! I think it was showing the kids how to devalue mom, when they went to dad's and his reaction instead of being supportive makes the statement, "Is your mom on a diet"? WITH a smile on his face! Wow is all I can say!


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