Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Kid Competition

Yesterday was Maren's 4 month check-up. While we were there, I got Dr. Q to check out Brynn's ears and make sure the tubes were still doing their job and she jumped on the scale and the height guy because she hates to be left out. She was more than happy to be left out when it came shot time, though, I can promise you that!

Maren is a big baby. She is in the 90% for both height and weight. She has a tiny little 75% head, though. Brynna was the same way. In fact, I think her head was in the 50%, while she was always in the 90's for height and weight. Brynna and Maren were also born with, and kept (at least so far) a good amount of beautiful hair. They both have met milestones at or ahead of schedule. Brynna was behind on talking, but all the others, she was ahead on. Maren so far is at or ahead on everything.

I am a competitive person. I say this as a preface to what I am about to say. I will kick your butt and taunt you mercilessly if you are ever privy to play a game of Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble with me and I have been known to cheat at Monopoly. The whole reason I did well in school was that I wanted, no needed to have the highest grade in my social group on any given assignment. I had a pretty sharp little social group, too.

But I hate, I hate, I HATE the mommy competition. You all know what I'm talking about, so don't pretend you don't. Percentiles were invented for the mommy competition. "Oh, little Suzy started walking at five weeks old, isn't Brynna walking yet?" Or "Paul is 20 lbs already and he's only a month old. How much does Maren weigh?"

I have no patience with this. In the first place, I don't believe it. I really don't. I am currently dealing with a grandma who insists that her 3 month old grandson is up to about 25 lbs but he was only 7 lbs. when he was born. If that's true, wow, do I feel sorry for that mom. Also, I'd be looking into that. I don't think it's normal. She says, "Well, he breastfeeds, so he's just eating all the time and that's why he's such a big baby." Which is her way of saying, "My kid is a better mom than you and you can tell because her baby is so much bigger, i.e. healthier than yours."

When, by the way, does bigger quit meaning healthier and start meaning fatter. I'm just curious.

Anyway. I'm not saying she's lying. I'm just saying I don't buy it. Maybe she's confused or exaggerating, or maybe he weighs 25 kilos or something, but I am just not buying it.

Secondly, as I mentioned, getting ahead of myself up there, the whole point is to make me feel like crap. I'm supposed to run home and go, Oh-my-goodness! Give me something to feed this baby because I am clearly not doing my job here. My child is so skinny!! I'm supposed to think that the other mom is a better mom because her kid is bigger, or walked two weeks earlier or says 10 words to my kid's 3 or whatever. I'm not gonna. I'm not gonna feel bad about the fact that my kid is different than yours. Because, you know what, I think my kid is better than yours, period. Just better. And you think your kid is better than mine and that's the way the world should be, so quit trying to prove to me that your kid is better, because I'm never going to believe it.

Thirdly, the mommy competition has no winner. What is the point of being competitive about something if you can't win? I don't see one. When Brynna was a baby, we went to church with a couple whose baby was just a few weeks older (or maybe younger I can't remember) than Brynna. Every little thing was held under the microscope. Brynna was bigger but S was babbling more. Brynna had more hair but S knew sign language. Brynna was walking first but S ate more table food. It never ended and it was always even. Because that's how kids work. It all evens out. How many kids without developmental issues go to kindergarten without walking? If you can't think of one, then why worry about the fact that my kid walked at 9 months and your 11 month old is just starting to walk holding onto stuff. Because you know what, your 11 month old could hold a crayon at 10 months and my 13 month old is still working on that - or something.

I try not to participate, but I kinda can't help it. Once a mom starts and I say that's nice about six times and she says "Well, how much does Maren weigh anyway?" I can't help but feel cornered. Like I have to defend myself and more importantly, my kid. And it bothers me. It sticks with me.

You only have to take one little look at Maren's fat rolls to know that she's not starving, but I go home and I try to weigh her on my little bathroom scale and I stress and I worry and I try to get her to eat more. Someone said something about how "tiny and petite" Brynna is the other day and I haven't been able to get it off my mind. Petite technically means that she is short, not skinny, and the kid is not short. She is in the 90th percentile for her age. How can that be short? But maybe they meant that she is too skinny, some people use it that way. But she's not really skinny, either. She's pretty much perfect from my perspective.

What's funny is that I would gouge out my right eye for someone to call me tiny and petite, but call my kid that and apparently I spend two weeks worrying and fretting that it was an insult.

I would like to wrap this up by saying that I just won't play anymore. I'm taking my ball and going home if you start up with that "my baby's this and my baby's that" stuff again. But I won't. I'll try and again I'll get sucked in, because dammit I'm proud of her. I am proud of them and I won't have anyone insinuating that they are anything less than spectacular.

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