Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moms, Grab Your Babies! It’s Time for the Developmental Derby!

Size matters. Size matters in the world of infants and children. Before we can begin measuring our children on their mental aptitude, we measure their size and their vital signs. The measuring and comparisons begin shortly after birth with the Apgar score. From there a child is measured and compared to others every couple of months for the first 2 years or so.sec

Moms LOVE to compare children among each other. It’s a sport for many. I find this nauseating and try not to participate in this shocking practice. I know I fail at it.

Minutes – no seconds – after Reed was born I was demanding to know his score. I was told he got a 9. Because so many babies under achieve on this test, it’s given twice. I’m happy about this because, although 9 is a solid score, there is still room for improvement. He scored a 9 on the second test as well. My doctor assured me that they only get a 10 if they walk themselves into the nursery and introduce themselves. I resigned to be content with the score of 9. A 9, after all, is good enough to get you into the “gifted” section of the newborn nursery.

Reed at 2 months.  Well, almost three.  He's a genius!
 After this test children are measured in what percentile of height, weight and head circumference they fall. Despite the fact that we’re told that the range of normal is vast, this is the stage where moms and go bit nuts comparing their children to others. In my observation, it breaks down like this. Boy babies are supposed to be BIG – 99th percentile in height and weight. That’s the true marker of a good parent – a large child. Girls, I found, can go one of two ways. If you’re girl child is big you have to own that and be proud in her over achievement. I’d say ideally that moms want their little girls to be tiny, fairy like sprites.

Moms also like to evaluate each other’s baby’s temperament and over all parenting. “Of course I breastfeed. My little sweet nothing sleeps all through the night, never cries, loves to have is diaper changed, has a full head of hair and is already rolling over.” I like the take the self deprecating approach for a response and say, “Mine does NONE of that!”

With my older boy I endeavored not to participate in the Developmental Derby with other moms. I wanted to know that he’s within the normal range and forget the infernal percentiles. I succeeded sometimes – people just keep asking.

Difficult not to share your child's genius
with others when they make it so
 easy with this sticker.
Now boy number 2 has come along and it’s time to take him for his 2 month check up. The pressure was mounting. I was taking him for the 2 month visit on the eve of his 12 week birthday. I was worried the numbers would be skewed. I was assured not, but I may do some research on my own to confirm this. When the measurements were tabulated, Reed is in the 75th percentile for height and weight. This surprised me because all he seems to do is spit up the super expensive formula I give him. He’s in the 25th for head circumference. So I have a giant baby with a tiny pin head?!?!?!

The real fun begins when you compare whose child walks the earliest, and gets teeth first. I can hardly wait!

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