Today a health visitor told us that our two-and-a-half year-old son is overweight. You know health visitors, don’t you? Those people who come round to your house every once in a while and make you feel bad about yourself as a parent?
It was a health visitor who told us that our eldest son was having nightmares because he was afraid of us. It was a health visitor who told us that our two month-old baby should be in a routine by now, and that we should have potty-trained Noah. (This is the same Noah who is, apparently, overweight.)
In fact, I’m struggling to remember anything a health visitor has said which has actually been helpful; but that’s another story.
We know our son is not overweight, because we feed him. Therefore, to state that he’s fat is to tell us that we’re doing it all wrong. How can a two-and-a-half year-old be overweight? And even if he is a little podgy, so what? When I was young I was always told it was puppy fat, that I would have a growth spurt and it would all even out. And I did, and it did too. (I put it all back on after marriage, obviously.)
If the health visitor had their way, we would be placing our son on a strict diet, denying him the odd chicken nugget or chocolate Digestive and placing a plate of broccoli and ham in front of his turned-up nose. After we’d forced the food down his throat, we would take him on a brisk walk to the park, where he would do ten sit-ups before going on the swings, but not for too long because all he’s really doing on the swing is sitting, and that’s not exercise.
I was listening to a show on Radio 4 (yes, I listen to Radio 4) the other day in which the comedian Jo Brand spoke about how childhood is a thing of the past. I couldn’t agree more. My son eats his fruit and his veg, and he also eats chocolate. He also happily runs around, plays games, and has fun. And I’m not about to deny him that just because someone has looked at lines and centile charts and deduced that our happy, healthy two-and-a-half year-old is a fatty.