I was the skinny kid and I hated it, not only was I skinny but I was tall for my age. It was hard to find trousers that were long enough AND slim enough around the waist, all of the cool clothes seemed to be made for girls who were four inches shorter than me. Never mind that people said, "you should be a model, you are so tall and skinny." I never, ever took it as a compliment.
I was self conscious and clearly remember trying to walk with my knees bent in the hall way at school when I was in third grade because I did not want to be taller than everyone else. I have vivid memories of this and I wasn't even the tallest girl in my class. In middle school being skinny meant I really didn't need a training bra until long after my friends had been wearing theirs for what felt like ages. In my mind skinny wasn't cute and the boys seemed to like the cute girls. Anytime anyone said "you're so skinny" they didn't realize it but they were pointing out everything that I didn't like about myself at the time.
The reason these memories are coming back to me is because my daughter is now experiencing something very similar. She is petite for her age, she takes after my mother and both of her great-grandmothers. Although she is 12 she can easily wear size 8-10 trousers and gets really annoyed that she can't shop at Forever 21 like her friends but still has to shop in the kids section. She is a dancer and has a natural dancers body, something she definitely did not inherit from me.
She has a very healthy appetite and has always been a pleasure to travel with since she is an adventurous eater. When she was five she ordered mussels in a Paris restaurant and fresh fish on the beach in Italy every day of our vacation and didn't even flinch when we were served various intestines while trying out authentic Beijing hotpot in China which is more than I could say.
Since she grew up mainly in the UK and in Beijing she is not used to the high sugar content in a lot of American food nor the American sized portions. This seems to now be getting her a lot of attention at school and I am shocked at how quickly something can become a stigma. People keep commenting to her that she never eats enough, that she is "so skinny" and she is becoming increasingly self conscious about it.
Luckily she is talking to me about it and what she is saying is "why is it okay for people to comment on things like this when I wouldn't say you are so fat, you eat so much?" She is right. For some reason saying "you're so skinny" is supposedly acceptable but for the receiver it is unlikely to be, unless that is you are my age and have just lost a lot of weight through a vigorous exercise program that you have willingly shared the details of with others.
For kids, pre-teens, teens and young adults, who are naturally more self conscious of their changing bodies, be aware that pointing out the obvious is unlikely to be taken as a compliment. Let's remind our kids and ourselves to keep comments and observations of others size, height, food intake etc. to themselves, surely there are so many other more interesting things to talk about.