In Vogue's "Body Issue" this month, Manhattan socialite Dara-Lynn Weiss opened up about the difficult time she had restricting her daughter Bea's diet. It was very hard, Weiss explained, to "deride Bea for not refusing the inappropriate snack" after the 7-year-old's pediatrician had labeled her "clinically obese."
Those hardships are over. Bea lost 16 pounds and grew two inches in a year, as young children often do, and now her mother has a book deal. Don't you love it when everything just works out?
I once reproachfully deprived Bea of her dinner after learning that her observation of French Heritage Day at school involved nearly 800 calories of Brie, filet mignon, baguette, and chocolate.
PAUSE. Brie and filet mignon in elementary school? Whatever happened to rubber cheese cubes?
I stopped letting her enjoy Pizza Fridays when she admitted to adding a corn salad as a side dish one week. I dressed down a Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance of the nutrition content of the kids' hot chocolate whose calories are listed as "120-210" on the menu board: Well, which is it? When he couldn't provide an answer, I dramatically grabbed the drink out of my daughter's hands, poured it into the garbage, and stormed out.
I cringe when I recall the many times I had it out with Bea over a snack given to her by a friend's parent or caregiver … rather than direct my irritation at the grown-up, I often derided Bea for not refusing the inappropriate snack. And there have been many awkward moments at parties, when Bea has wanted to eat, say, both cookies and cake, and I've engaged in a heated public discussion about why she can't.
There is nothing like a happy ending to a child's humiliatingly public starvation process: Weiss now has a book deal with Random House's Ballantine imprint. The publisher says that the memoir, tentatively titled The Heavy, is about "an experience that epitomizes the modern parenting ‘damned if you do/damned if you don't' predicament."
Indeed. You are certainly damned if you don't destroy your kid's self esteem forever and publish it in a magazine dedicated to deifying anorexia. What choice do you even have?