Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kid Comparisons

I have to say that I am quite happy that my doctor wasn't comparing my kid to the "average" every time I went in to see her. (which makes me digress briefly to say - why is it that whenever I say "I took Ada to the doctor..." most people respond with "what did HE say?" Even the nurse on the Nurse Advice line I called one day assumed she was a he. I happen to have all female doctors that I go to and think they are all great. Dr. Batista and Dr. Cummins are fabulous in case anyone needs a referral. I think it is partly because we don't have a female version of Doctor like we do for Waiter or Waitress. Maybe I'll invent Doctoress but what would the abbreviation for Dr. be? Dres. Batista?) Okay, back on track. So, not comparing my kid to the average.... I've been in to see the Dr. a lot since Ada was born - probably ten times, which seems like a lot to me. I mean, as adults we only go in once or twice a year if we are fairly healthy and this little munchkin is only four months old. Babies go in for a one week checkup, one month checkup, two month shots, four month shots, and several more I'm not sure when. But the average - there is that word again - baby gets 10 colds a year. I've already taken her in about four times for colds and treated her for a sinus infection. I think she is on cold number three - and that's a lot of snot and boogers so be prepared all of you not-yet-parents.

Where was I? Yes, the average. So at four months, Rick and I were amazed that our baby who started out at 8 lbs was now 16 lbs 8 oz. I knew she would double her weight in the first 6 months but the first four months seemed ahead of schedule. So I asked. Where is Ada on the national chart of averages? To which my female Dr. Batista replied, "She's off the chart for weight, and over the 95th percentile for height." What? I have a big baby! Is that a good thing? or a bad thing? She told me not to worry as things will even out as she gets older. She's just front loading all of her growth spurts. Okay...

So I asked my neighbor who has baby Eva how much Eva weighs and her stats. Same as Ada. Yeah! We both have crazy big babies that are off the charts. Woohoo! We aren't alone. But going out in public is a whole different story. "Wow! What a big baby!" is the new standard comment. "Yeah, she's eating well and growing fast." I reply. Or "How old is she?" (sometimes they say HE even if she's wearing light pink - go figure.) "She's four months." "Wow. My eight month old is smaller than her." To which I think "Holy crap what have I done to this child?" It used to be that everyone commented on how cute she is and what beautiful blue eyes she has but now they have switched to how quickly she has grown. I don't have much to compare her to but baby Eva next door and they are similar so I'm not worried. It's just when she comes back from day care in Claire's clothes that fit Ada nicely (I forgot to send a backup outfit one day and that's all they had to put her in after a blowout) and they tell me Claire is nine months old and wears the same size as Ada. It is kind of weird. And day care would know if she is big on average since they have several kids her age that they see daily.

The good news about having a big baby is that they tend to sleep through the night sooner since their bodies need to be a certain weight before they can physically sleep that long without needing to eat. The studies say 12 lbs/12 weeks old or 14 lbs/14 weeks old is when they are able to make it through the night. We hit that milestone early. (For which I am very thankful.)

The bad news is that I don't want to give her a complex about her size. At mom network I was told that studies show that whatever you tell your kids at age four is what they will be. If you say they are lazy, they will be lazy for the rest of their lives. So at least I have some time to re-train myself. But I can't help but catch myself every time I say "Look at your cute budda belly." or when I call her "pumpkin". I can't say "you're my 'big girl'" either since it is okay to say that to little boys but not little girls. Again with the gender crap.

I'm trying to call her my "little monkey" instead just so that it isn't related to anything big and round. And day care is calling her "cupcake" since she has a cupcake outfit. I thought about "muffin" but then I thought of muffin tops being the flab hanging over the waist of a pair of jeans and, well, that just isn't working for me either. It's not like she'll have any trouble with her weight growing up as both my husband and I have insanely high metabolisms and have to really work hard to put on any weight, but still. If she is above average for height and weight, she might be teased and called "Amazon Woman" by her peers. I guess I just have to tell Eva's mom that they can never move because Eva and Ada have to stick together in their bigness. They can be the twin towers -- but see that doesn't even work since 9/11.

I guess I'll just hope that she doesn't turn into a bully and used her size to intimidate other kids, unless it's on the soccer field or basketball court or wherever else intimidation is socially acceptable. And it could be worse. She could be below average. I'll take what I got and know that there is just more of her to love and cuddle with. And I'll pray that she doesn't decide to join the WWF (world wrestling federation not world wildlife foundation).

Moral of the story: It's okay to be above average (half of us always are if you think about it), it is important to love your child for who they are, and it is best not to make a big deal when people compare your child to theirs knowing that they all develop differently -- and that's okay.


RebeccaC said...

Interesting about the 4-years old thing. My mom always called me peanut (which I LOVE to this day), and I never grew past 5 ft tall. Now I'm wondering if I subliminally told my body to stop growing b/c my mom called me "peanut". Then again...I doubt it. Plus, I think its a great nickname...if you want to borrow it for Ada, I'll let you...since "peanut" is exactly the opposite of something large it probably won't give her a complex ; )

Anonymous said...

From now on all female doctors shall be referred to as "Doctoress" in my book.

Ada, I'll start saving my shoes for you!

Sara said...

I chalk it up to the fact that 98% of people, including those with children, have no idea of the relative size of babies.. My bambino is on the small side, with an even smaller head, and people tell me all the time what a big baby I have. I'll just need to remember not to tell him he has a small head!