Is it just me, or are people kind of obsessed with the size of babies and toddlers? I feel like every time someone asks me how old one of my kids is, the next thing out of their mouth is, Whoa. (S)He is big!
Now with my daughter, it is true. She is big, or more accurately, she is tall. She has always worn clothes a whole size bigger than her age. Right now she is in all 4Ts and can wear a fair amount of 5T stuff as well. The girl is tall. She takes after her father (he’s 6’4″) and her height makes her look a good deal older than she actually is.
I guess, with a daughter who really does look taller than one would expect, given her age, I didn’t really think that much about all the comments. People said she looked big because she did, in fact, look big.
Then people started saying the same thing about my son. He is not big. He is average. In fact, he falls into the 50th percentiles for both height and weight. When it comes to external measurements, the kid could not be more average. And yet people are always commenting on how big he looks. My mother-in-law said something about it the other day and I couldn’t help myself, and corrected her, saying that he was actually not big at all, but right where he was supposed to be. She seemed a bit annoyed by that comment.
What is is about people and wanting their kids (or other people’s kids) to be big? Why do we obsess about percentiles? As long as your kid is healthy, who cares how many babies, in a random sampling of 100, are bigger or smaller than he? Why do we brag about how big our babies were when they were born? (And yes, I’m guilty of this myself, or at least I was with my daughter.) What is the big deal?
When I told my in-laws that Monito was in the 50th percentile for height and weight they were visibly disappointed. My MIL kind of refused to believe it. Really? You think they made a mistake? I’m pretty sure their measurements are accurate. And I’m pretty sure they were entered correctly into the computer. And I’m pretty sure said computer completed whatever complicated (or not) algorithm it completes to determine what percentage of babies, on average, are bigger or smaller than mine. And I’m pretty sure those percentages were communicated to me without error. So yeah, I’m pretty sure that there are about as many baby boys his age that are both bigger and smaller than he is. He is, as far as size is concerned, completely average.
And that is okay. That is great actually. I don’t want him to be big. He is my last baby. I want to revel in the smallness of him. I want to cuddle him and dress him in tiny baby clothes and be able to rest the sack-of-flour weight of him against my chest and in my arms for many months to come. I don’t want him to grow out of his clothes before he’s supposed to (that happens quickly enough when wearing cloth diapers). I LIKE that is average sized. He’s following his growth curve; he’s clear he’s thriving. Why does being in the 50th percentile have to be a disappointment?
Why does everyone want to tell me how big he is when he’s not, in fact, big at all?
I don’t know. The whole thing is just so weird to me. I don’t get people’s interest–heck, their obsession–with the sizes of my kids (and I’m assuming other people’s kids–this can’t just be happening to me). Is it just that size is a very obvious quality, one that can be remarked upon without knowing anything else about you? Is it a lazy, but effective, way to interact with a stranger? Maybe. But that doesn’t explain my in-laws weirdness, or friends who mention size and weight every time I see them. Maybe it’s just easy to talk about it, easy to remark upon, easy to make conversation about.
Whatever the reason, I wish we could think of some other topic to chat about, because when it comes to size, my son is entirely unremarkable.
Do people comment on the size of your kid(s)? Does it bother you at all?