Thursday, July 21, 2016

Twenty-eighth Percentile!

I took Andy and Alex in for their annual physicals last week.  This is one of those times when I have to huddle all three kids together and explain how very important good behavior is.  "Pediatricians and DCFS are tight, like this," I say, illustrating with my crossed fingers.  "So best behavior so Mommy doesn't get sweaty and screamy."

"But, Alex bit my finger," Andy replied, referencing the current reason why everybody was exhibiting not-so-good behavior.

"Did you stick your finger in his mouth?"

No reply.

"Okay, let's roll then.  Game faces!"

I exaggerate a little, of course.  I haven't had the DCFS talk in at least a month!  The thing about our behavior, collectively, is that it hasn't been all that bad.  Alex breaking his arm may have been the very best thing for the boys, as it seemed to scare them straight.  Emily is still very much a wild card, but she is agreeable, as she answers a very sweet "Yeah" to every question that we ask her.  Also, she's a thumb sucker, which gives her that innocent, sleepy look, the one that has elderly strangers eating right out of the palm of her hand.  It's all part of her diabolical plan to eventually take over the world.  First she will master the stairs.  Then, the rest of North America.

The doctor's visit went well.  The reason for Alex's snoring, it turns out, is that he has huge tonsils.  If you have ever shared a bed with Alex, it is much like sharing a bed with Alex's father, except somehow more infuriating because you wouldn't expect someone so young and cute to be so disruptive. Chris, you kind of figure the snoring would just come with the territory.  "An ENT doctor will be happy to remove these tonsils for you," the doctor told me.  "Or you could just wait and see if his overall head continues to get bigger."  Silence as we all looked at Alex's already massively oversized noggin.

The boys were weighed and measured, and before I knew it, we were back in the car chomping on the lollipops they offered us on the way out, once they were sure the co-pay had cleared.  It was there that I checked out the stats of the boys on the papers the nurse had handed me.  Seems that Andy and Alex are only two inches apart in height... and Andy is in the 28th percentile for height.  Twenty-eighth!  That's so low!

This mouse is actually the size
of a real mouse.  It's my kid that's freakishly small.
Now, I had recently begun to notice that Andy was literally half or a full head shorter than literally every single one of his friends.  But here it was, irrefutable proof.  Andy has gone from measuring off the charts as a baby to... not growing at all in the past year.

Immediately, I was flooded with all sorts of paranoid fears, from Andy suffering from some sort of Benjamin Button disease except growth is totally paused instead of backwards (and without the epic love story part, poor kid) to fearing that Andy will spend all of elementary school as not only the youngest kid in his grade (except for the handful of August kids that *weren't* held back a year) but also the shortest.  The youngest, the shortest, the least athletic, and the only boy who proudly declares love of the color pink and Sofia the First episodes.  Oh man, for a suburban boy, this is all bad news.

Of course, there were the reassurances.  Chris was short for many years until he hit a growth spurt. Andy is smart and friendly and funny, who cares if he's the youngest and perhaps kind of awful of sports?  And as for the pink and the princesses?  Hey man.  Whatever.  What...ever.  I just want the best for these kids.  I don't want them to ever suffer from the harsh words of other horrible children.  The kind of young people I'm NOT allowed to get all screamy and sweaty at.

Here's the thing about Andy, this great little boy of mine who just recently turned six (despite having the height of a much younger five year old).  He's happy.  He's fun to be around.  He's having the best summer ever with his little brother and sister.  He's still in that incredible phase of childhood where he's not too cool for anything, where he fully and completely embraces life with unhindered joy and excitement.  I don't know what percentile he is on *that* particular scale, but it has to be higher than the height one.  I just have to be careful not to wreck that with words like "short," "younger," and "pink."   That's what this blog is for.  So I can type them, not say them aloud.

We go back to the doctor next month, for Emily's 15 month check up.  I will only have 2/3 of the kids with me, as Andy will be back in school, a full-fledged first grader.  I hope that Andy approaches first grade with as much untainted eagerness as he's had until now.  I hope he stays happy in what can be a rough childhood.  And, yeah, I hope he grows a little taller this year.