Growing up in the 70s/80s, one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was “Fat Albert”. I always looked forward to watching Albert and the Cosby gang, seeing the challenges they would face and the lessons that they would learn.
Over the years, “Fat Albert” has taken some heat on its portrayal of African Americans. But not much has been said about the title of the cartoon “Fat Albert”. Odds are Bill Cosby would not be able to pitch a cartoon with that name now. It’s too politically incorrect. No one likes to be called fat.
Confession time: growing up my older brother use to call me “fatty”. Yes, “fatty”. I wasn’t fat. Perhaps a bit “big boned”, but never fat. Of course the nickname stuck like flies to shit. Our neighborhood gang often called me “fatty”. It sucked…
Not too long ago I asked my brother why he called me “fatty”, his answer: “because it was funny”. Uhm…no, it wasn’t funny. I fucking hated it and him for creating that nickname. It plays with my psyche to this day.
So this takes me to my luscious 2 1/2 year old son and what happened during a recent visit to his pediatrician. My kid is a big, beautiful little boy who has been having trouble sleeping. Turns out, he might have sleep apnea. His pediatrician thinks his tonsils and adenoids are abnormally large. The good news, we are being referred to a specialist.
Then came the not so good news. Toward the end of the visit, she pulled me over to her computer to show me a handy dandy chart.. a chart that tracks my son’s growth since birth. I learned that my kid is off the charts for both height and weight. There it was in a spreadaheet… proof that he is a big, big boy.
After the illustration, she got serious and informed me that it’s now time to “track what he eats”. Those four words hit me like a brick: ”Track what he eats”. Translation: he’s a “fatty” and it’s time for a diet!
I was devastated. I quickly explained to her that I can’t get my 4 year old to eat anything and I can’t stop my 2 year old from overeating. He wants to eat all the time, so there must surely be something wrong with him?
She just looked at me and smiled, “the good news, he’s young and you’re in control of what he eats.”
Fuck me. Another parenting failure.