Posted by: emjb | March 3, 2007

97th Percentile


Being too big brings problems, as my 6’4″ husband will attest, and Nathan is running into some of them now.

97th percentile: that’s where Nathan is; bigger and longer and heavier than 97% of all other kids his age in the US, according to the chart the doctor used at his 15 month checkup.

Which is actually a downsizing from a few months ago, where he was off the chart…statistically speaking, bigger and longer and heavier than EVERY other child his age in the US. So I guess we’re getting a breather of sorts; he does seem to be going through new sizes of pants and footwear at a slower pace.

The doctor mentioned that if he were that much heavier than other kids his age at 3, she might recommend a diet, and this was odd. Wouldn’t his weight have to be correlated with his height…so if he was also that much taller, still, then a diet wouldn’t make sense? I don’t know. I don’t think we’re headed for obesity town yet. He’s a vegan, except for milk–won’t even take cheese or ice cream, much less meat. He would probably live exclusively on apple bits and cheerios if we didn’t insist he eat a jar of baby food now and then. He is uninterested in potatoes, fried, mashed, or baked, so far. He never gets sugar or fast food. He eats healthier than most people you know, and gets more exercise.

He’s just a big kid, which has weird repercussions. In addition to being big, for example, he has a lot of teeth and hair (on his head) for a kid his age, so much so that he needs haircuts fairly often. Most kids his age don’t need haircuts yet, or very much of one; in addition, most kids his age are much smaller and weaker than he is. So today we once again had to hold him down (he was on Matt’s lap and I had to help keep his head still) while the stylist tried desperately to cut his hair. If he were older, he might be bribed or distracted. If he were smaller, he’d be easier to restrain.

As it was, he screamed bloody murder, thrashed, wailed, poured rivers of snot and tears down his face, and nearly got his ear cut off several times while the stylist danced desperately around trying to get a cut in here and there. Short of a tranquilizer dart or straight jacket, there is no scenario in which he will tolerate scissors around his head. We’ve thought about letting his hair grow for a year, but it would be down his back, and it’s not really attractive when long…let’s just say he’d make an ugly girl. Maybe we’re just too vain, but honestly, it is not a good look for him.

He looks dapper, if still a bit straggly, now, and we tipped the stylist well for all the screaming and the snot that flew around and got on her hands. It was the least we could do.

Kids who look taller and older than they are have another problem; they get treated as if they’re older, and may not get as much babying as they really need. One of the things I realized early on about Nathan is that he has an older child’s body, but his mind is exactly average for his age. Meaning, he’s still my little baby boy no matter how tall he is, and he gets scared, and needs directions and play time and to feel cuddled and cherished just as much as if he were tiny. So we do that, even if he overflows our laps and knocks things off of high counters and clocks us with a giant baby fist.

In his mind, he IS tiny, and the world is a huge and confusing place, and we are the people there to protect him. And so we do, even as our backs creak and our knees twinge while we pick him up. Because we want him to have that feeling of safety for as long as he needs it.



  1. I really dig providing that feeling of safety – I never considered myself much of a nurturer (I’ve killed plants ON PURPOSE – maybe they respirated at me funny?), but being able to make a scared/sad/hysterical kiddo feel better is just awesome. J.Q. is nearly two and fairly enormous, but I still like scooping him up and carrying him around before tucking him in his crib. Would it be too smothering to buy a winch so I could continue to do so when he’s twenty?

  2. I think he may be a different species altogether.

    Mine is at the other end of the spectrum — just barely on the bottom of those damn charts — so I think about this issue a lot. It seems like tall people are favored once they’re grown but disfavored as kids. I think my son gets some leeway because people assume he’s much younger than he is, but I worry about what will happen when he’s an adult. People have already asked me if we’ll do growth hormone therapy on him — and I’m like, of COURSE not!! … um … unless he’s going to be FREAKISHLY short … which is how short, exactly? Ugh. I try not to talk about his size in front of him, but I feel like I can’t help it when people are amazed that he’s doing something that seems too advanced for him. I can imagine that when a kid is really big, you have the opposite problem; you don’t want him to feel strange about it, but you also want everyone to know that he’s a BABY, dammit, so treat him like one.

    And yeah, that diet comment was really weird.

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