human, being

Off the charts
My beautiful kiddo

My beautiful kiddo

Lauren has always been in the 99th percentile for height and weight. She was born three weeks early, and she was 22 inches long and weight 9.1 lbs. (Can you imagine the 10-lb giant I would have given birth to on my due date?)  I’m tall, about 5-9, and her father is 6-2. We both have male relatives who are well over 6-5, so it’s not unforeseeable that she will be six feet tall.

She’s not a slim kid. She’s not obese, but perhaps just chubby. Her dad was a chubby kid, and he and his mom have struggled with their weight for all of their lives. I’ve struggled with staying in a healthy range during my adult life too. I can always tell when she’s about to get taller, because first she gets fatter. It’s like her belly has to expand so that her skin doesn’t get all stretched tight when she shoots up.

Since I see her every-other week, it’s a little more evident to me when she grows than if I saw her every single day. So last week, I noticed that she’s “skinny” (for her) again. I had her stand up against the measuring wall, marked off where she is, and got out the measuring tape.

My daughter, who is 7 years and 9 months old, is 4-8. That’s 56 inches. She weighs 83 pounds. She wears a kids size 14 and a women’s size 5 shoe. On Nov. 18, she was 54.5 inches.

Did I mention that she ISN’T 8 YET? I have friends who are only 61 inches tall, and they are full grown ladies.

Lauren: Momma, I’m going to be taller than you when I’m 12! Then I’ll be the boss of you!

Gawd. Just what I’ll need: a hormonal pre-teen who can look me eye to eye.

So, her doctor is a little concerned because if you go by the BMI chart for her age, she’s overweight. However, if she were 11, she would be at a healthy height and weight. Huh? That makes no sense to me. Her height and weight are above the 100th percentile for her age, and would be in the 90th percentile if she were 11.

Anyway, at the doctor’s suggestion, we took her to an endocrinologist to make sure she doesn’t have diabetes or thyroid issues, and she’s fine. She’s active. She eats healthy–or about as healthy as any other 2nd grader. It’s not like she walks around with a liter of Coke and a bag of chips glued to her hands. The endocrinologist suggested we enroll her in a program for overweight kids. Seriously? I used to write stories about that program for work, and those are kids who are as wide as they are tall. Lauren has a belly. But you wouldn’t look at her and think, wow, that kid needs to go on a diet. You’d think she were 11.

She’s also mature and a little serious and independent for her age (my fault–my genes and my own temperament), so put that all together and people give me “what is wrong with your child or your parenting skills” looks on the rare occasion that she acts her age.  At which I give them the “mind your own f-ing business and tend to your own obnoxious child/yappy dog/bad habits” look and go along my merry way.

Given my own penchant for self-flagellation over what my body looks like, I have to be very careful around her. Sometimes, when she’s in her pre-shooting up phase, I look at her and want to criticize her. Yeah, my perfectionism spills over to her. I have only rarely said anything to her that was mean, and I have instantly regretted it and apologized. Hopefully I didn’t do lifelong damage to her self-image. I have to remind myself often that she is not me, and my own body image issues have no business reaching her ears.

Then there is the reality: Buying clothes for her is frustrating. First of all, I cringe over the fact that she is not in a “normal” size for a girl her age.  I don’t want her in double-digits. Then there’s fit: She has short legs and a longer torso, and her belly is her biggest part, so we are constantly having to alter her pants. She won’t wear skirts or dresses.  If her body had different proportions, they would fit.

I think that by summer she is going to be completely out of kids sizes, which means trips to the Juniors department. Have you seen what Juniors clothes look like? Everything is short, belly baring, low-cut, hardly appropriate for a 12-year-old but completely inappropriate for an 8-year-old. Not to mention, more expensive. Not to mention, at the rate she grows, she wears something about a dozen times and then it doesn’t fit so we’re back at Old Navy and Target.

Oh, and then there’s shoes. No more $12 per pair at Payless or Target. We’re in the Women’s department now. I hadn’t realized her feet had grown so much until we had a major fight because she wouldn’t wear socks with her shoes, which causes her feet and shoes to stink to high heaven, and which causes me to have to buy her new shoes more often. Then I realized that all of her socks are for kids with size 3 kids feet, so they are about two sizes too small. She’s started wearing my althletic socks and the fight is now over.

From age 12 to 16, I was taller than most of the boys my age. See me in the middle of the back row of that class picture? Yep, that’s where Lauren is too. At least I can tell her I’ve been there. Not that that will matter when she’s 12. And taller than me.


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I’ve seen “slutty” clothes like that for kids my daughter’s age and she is 5. It’s amazing how quickly these designers want to sexualize our kids. Now, I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination but honestly, what is out there for little girls can be a bit outrageous

Comment by Jessica

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