Kid by Number

The instant our children are born, their AGPAR scores, birth weight and length are measured.  These numbers serve as a general guideline of health and baseline for future development.  Every doctor’s appointment from birth to age 18 will consist of the measurements of height, weight and their subsequent percentiles

Percentiles have caused me more grief than I care to admit.  If your child ranks in the 6th percentile for height and weight as my eldest does, it essentially means that out of 100 children, 94 will be taller than him.  On the flip side, my Little BooBoo is in the 70th percentile for height, so go figure. 

I’m afraid I have gotten caught up in the numbers game.  I admit it.

How much do they weigh? 

How tall are they? 

At what age should they start walking?

At what age should they start talking?

At what age did they get their teeth?  

How many teeth have they lost? 

These déjà vu questions are asked among Mommy Friends nearly every time they meet.  The answers can be cause for concern if your child doesn’t seem to fall within the popular range of normal.  The term “normal“ is wide-encompassing and what may well fall within normal means medically can be far outside the popular range based on the personal statistics collected from our Mommy Friends.  If all 10 of your Mommy Friends have kids who have lost 4 teeth by the time they were 6 and yours hasn’t even lost 1, it can be enough to sound the alarm in your head even if your poll was far from scientific.

I’m pretty sure a lot of Mommy Friends compare stats and my personal tallied results have admittedly been enough to send me to the pediatrician’s office on more than one occasion.  My pediatrician thinks I’m crazy, I mean I can only imagine he does.  I go to the doctor’s office pretending at act all cool with my careful notes and concerns from my extensive internet research (I have since been banned from WebMD) and personally conducted surveys.  I just know I am the kind of mom pediatricians complain about.  I try my best to present my findings and theories in a more inquisitive than obnoxious manner, but whatever, that’s me. 

Our kids are more than quantifiable beings.  Unfortunately, these statistics often equate to labels such as “big”, “small”, “advanced” or “delayed”.  Inevitably, elements of their self esteem become entangled in these numbers and subsequent labels.  Tell me we have not lost sensitivity for our differences.

Paranoid me is finally learning to trust myself as a mother and see the stats for what they really are, numbers.  They are not absolute predictions of my children’s future successes or failures.  My kids have a lot of growing and development ahead of them.  They may be ahead in one area, behind in another, big or small but the numbers are simply a snapshot in time.

Kids come in all shapes, sizes and personalities, all worth celebrating and all full of potential!


  1. Oh man, I am so guilty of the numbers game too! We can’t help it. We put so much stock and trust in our pediatrician–especially when we’re talking about our precious little babies–and when we are outside of the “norm” it freaks us out. I get it. You are not obnoxious. Every child should be so lucky as to have a mommy who cares for them so much! =)

  2. I have NO IDEA what percentiles my dd was in…I didn’t keep track or care. I do remember the doc freaking out when she hit six months old and started dropping on his charts. Luckily I had info and knew what was going on…she was moving! She was burning more calories than she was taking in…cuz she was too busy moving. ah well
    I think I switched out docs about 3 times and then just had to ignore them. It was so much nicer when I didn’t have to be in there so much.
    course now she has to get a physical for camp and I know they’ll find something to bug me about. sigh!

  3. my son was always in the 50th… my daughter at one point was in the 20th for height … and all of my friends kids were in the 90th and above!

    I dont know what was in their water- but it clearly skipped our house.

    My kids head on the other hand— They were always way above! I was set for a scan of their heads with both– thats how big! lol… so I have little kids with huge heads.

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