Four and Five have decided to give Tae Kwon Do another go. They haven't been to a lesson since the end of November, because the exertion was "too hard, and painful" for Four, and Five felt like he was being "yelled at" (he's a little anxious, but, fingers crossed, not yet pathological). But we got called in for a personal consult with Young Master, and after the talk, they decided to try again. Young Master is kind, soft-spoken, and wants them to succeed, so I hope it works out. Also, we found out there really isn't any way out of the ONE YEAR CONTRACT that I signed. Apparently, I didn't read the fine print. Because I would never commit Four to one year of anything. But the lessons could be good for him, because he has been talking about getting in better shape.
This is a difficult topic to navigate. The boys all have different body shapes, and most of them started life with extra rolls. Two was my most luscious baby, and now he's 5'11" of stretched sinew. Three goes through periods of expansion and contraction, as he grows ever upward. Five was the only one born with no extra meat. He looked like a plucked, organic chicken: pinkish, bony, and assless. In stark contrast, Four is very curvy, with a definite gluteous maximus. And he has gained quite a bit of weight because of medication.
We'll talk pharmaceuticals another day. Today I am negotiating the fine line between preaching body acceptance, and encouraging body transformation. I'm not sure if Four initiated this healthy quest on his own, or if it was instigated by Chicken Butt's liberal use of the word "chubby." Although I routinely remind the pack that they are not to open their mouths except to be kind or helpful, that is not always the case when they are out of glaring distance.
I want the boys to like themselves, and their bodies. But they are more conscious of their looks than I realized. Maybe not on the same level as teenage girls, but male beauty propaganda is increasing. Two would like better abs, and I won't even go into how many times I've been asked, by one or the other,"When will I get armpit/facial hair/a larger penis/rid of this acne?" So, I tell Four that his body is just fine the way it is, but if he wants to be more healthy, then we can eat better and exercise. But I worry about his odds for success, because he's batttling chemistry.
He has asked to learn how to jump rope, and do sit-ups. He may be on medication for many more years, so I've decided that, more important than losing the weight, is his decision to try. He's caring for himself, and taking control of an aspect of his life. And that will serve him well in the long run.