June 24, 2010

small potatoes

My little peanut is just that ... Little.

At his nine month doctor's appointment, it was determined that Malcolm is now in the 60th percentile for height and only the 6th percentile for weight! For any non-percentile readers out there, that means that he is taller than 60% of kids in his age group and only heavier than 6% of them. Although it certainly makes sense when you look at him, both of these numbers are a big drop from his six month visit (where he was in the 75th percentile for height and the 25th percentile for weight). While I'm happy as long as he is healthy, there is a small part of me that is disappointed when his numbers get closer to the average or when he begins to drop toward the bottom of the charts.

I know that a baby's growth and development isn't a race, but it can be difficult to avoid turning it into a competition. It's a thrill when your kid is taller, sleeps through the night earlier, rolls over sooner, or says a more complicated first word than another person's kid. Reactions from friends or family about a new milestone only add to the excitement ... Who doesn't like to hear that their kid is amazing? Gifted? Incredible?

Funny thing is, though, that milestones (aside from giving insight into the presence of developmental disorders) aren't really that big of a deal. At some point, every kid will reach them ... Each at his or her own pace.

Yet, why do we feel like our kid is better for getting there first?

I don't know if it is a societal thing, but there is this push to be the biggest and best at everything. I know from personal experience that, in anything I do, I strive to do it well. From mundane chores like making the bed or cooking dinner to wrapping a present or taking a photograph, I must give it my all. I must be the best that I can be. Anything less would be bothersome ... A disappointment even. Although I certainly don't want to be the kind of parent that puts undue stress on her children, I know that I will expect the best from Malcolm and any siblings that may follow after him.

There will certainly be situations in which "average" just isn't good enough ... But, then again, there will be times where "average" is okay, too.

Like right now.

Whether he is big or small for his age, Malcolm is perfect just as he is.

He is the perfect first child for us and we wouldn't trade him for all the extraordinary children in the world.

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