The 9th Percentile

Before I became a parent, the word "percentile" was not in my vocabulary. Percenta-what? I would have said. But it entered like an unwelcome relative (cough cough, lady always asking when the next baby is coming) after my firstborn decided to be a "lazy eater." While that sounds like a Catchphrase clue for "couch potato" and actually brings to mind an endearing image of a newborn scrolling through Netflix options while chugging a Dr. Brown's, it actually meant she would rather sleep than eat and thus became dehydrated on day four of her little life. After being born 7 pounds, 1 ounce, she quickly dipped into the lower half of percentiles and has stayed there for good. Her sister followed suit.

For those who aren't familiar, the medical profession uses this term as a way to classify how your baby stacks up against other babies in terms of height and weight. It wouldn't be such a big deal if the parents of bigger babies (yeahI'mjealous) didn't treat it as some sort of accomplishment (bitter,partyofone) like their 4-month old actually got an 86% on a test instead of eating constantly and having tall genes (life'snotfair). I've finally come to terms that percentiles are something to make the Big and Tall people of the world feel good and petite families everywhere feel like fat baby failures.

Because who doesn't love a chunky child? There're squishy, smiley and just look like they're ready to eat a plate of fried chicken. But can you imagine if adults shared their "percentiles?"

"Yeah, Bob, I'm up to the 92nd percentile now. Been hitting the weights pretty hard."
"Dang, Bill. I'm really impressed that you weigh more than 92 out of 100 people. Congrats."

Sorry for my lack of creative names. And the fact that these people sound like they're in their 80s. Let's try that again.

"Duuuude, I'm straight up 96 #percent."
"Damn, brah, you killin' it."

Whip. Nae nae. I give up.

I will always remember heading into the doctor's office, ready to tell her all about my baby's accomplishments (STOP THE PRESSES SHE HAS THREE TEETH!) and leaving feeling like an incompetent failure for my lack of chubby offspring.

The only thing that saved my sanity over the years were my mother's meticulous records of what I weighed at every checkup ("12 pounds, 3 ounces and cute as a button" - gag, mom!). Turns out my kids grow at the exact same slow rate as their madre all along.

I realize we use these numbers to track development in the early stages of the game, as babies can't walk, talk, or do anything but avoid sleeping. I get it. But by age two is it really necessary? My potty-trained daughter speaks in 15+word sentences (Cubby Bear pick me up! Cubby Bear pick me up! Cubby Bear pick me up!), hops as a mode of transportation and asks everyone in sight, "What your name?" as though there will be a test and she plans to score an 86%.

So why does anyone, including me, care that she's in the 9th percentile? That's right, I said it. 9. NINE. 9er. (You caught a niner in there.) I have never shared my children's numbers with the world in a proud way until today.  Nine percent isn't exactly something you humblebrag about, but I'm going to start. Here's what 9 percent looks like. Happy, healthy and STOP THE PRESSES SHE CAN TOUCH HER TOES!