It's still not my job to understand them
I get it.

One of mine

Yesterday Max and Sophia had checkups at the doctor. I'll go ahead and spoil the end of the story: they're both fine. Healthy and squirrely, everything's fine. Max's eye exam was concerning, but then again, Melody had bravely attacked his glasses the night before, defending us all from the tyranny of...eyeware. She'd broken them, so yes, Max was mostly blind. Nice catch, doc. And Sophia got two shots, which she took with a stiff spine and a sharp intake of breath, which always leaves the nurse feeling like a jerk, so at least everyone suffered a little over her vaccinations. And during Max's exam, the rest of us (Raphael, and Sophia, and I) had to shuffle out into the hallway to give him privacy for such things as taking off his shirt and answering awkward questions like sexual activity, yay or nay? That is always...odd. But we all survived.

Midway through the exam, it was time to go over the growth charts. The kids' pediatrician and I have come to something of an understanding about the growth charts years ago. He would show me where the boys fell, and I would shrug away the dots with a brusque, "Yep. Looks like one of my kids." The thing is that my children are all, like me, of hearty peasant stock. This means that we tend to hover in the upper levels of the weight chart curves, and squat down in the lower curves of height. We're sort of like hobbits. If my kids are active, healthy, and generally eating good food, I refuse to get upset about how they compare to non-hobbity kids. 

"So let's see," the pediatrician said, "Sophia is right here in the 14th percentile for height, and with her weight, that puts her here on the BMI chart." And he swung the computer screen around to show me.

And I had a moment.

Right there, in the small, tastefully decorated exam room, I had an impulse, so vivid and strong, that it was almost like a hallucination. I could feel what it would feel like to reach way way back and swing my fist right into the middle of that computer screen. As if, by smashing that BMI chart and driving splinters of the screen deep in my knuckles, I could somehow push back the world's expectations about what she should weigh. As if I could shove away the world that brings a whole spectrum of body hate, from the CEO that thinks it's reasonable to exclude women over size 10 to the very sickest among us who think of women as possessions they can steal and hide away. As if I could save her from ever even knowing what a size 10 is, or fixating on a number that would be acceptable. As if I could stay her hand from ever brushing her stomach, from judging its curve.

She was sitting on my lap, a little leery of the doctor and the rumor of shots. Her dandelion light hair tickled my nose and her rubbery belly was warm under my hand - the very hand that twitched with the desire to punch the doctor's computer screen.

Of course I didn't punch anything. We don't hit, remember? I sat there, and pulled her warm against me, flicked a contemptuous glance at the chart and said firmly,

"Yep. Looks like one of my kids."

And she is. She so, so is.

Comments

Mir

She is PERFECT and BMI charts make me ragey. The end.

(Actually, not the end. SOMEONE is now saying, "You always say Kira's a really good cook... so... will we be eating LOTS OF YUMMY THINGS at her place? I am JUST CURIOUS." Hee!)

Amy

Amen!

Lisa

I've seen pictures of your kid, and she is most certainly not going to pose as a poster child for childhood obesity...ever. SHE LOOKS TOTALLY NORMAL! Those charts just make me crazy. It's bad enough that adults are expected to fit into some sort of BMI guidelines (which we are now tested for as a part of our health insurance, OMG!), but to impose those same standards on children who are growing in spurts is just crazy talk. Not to mention that healthy ADULTS never ever fall into the guidelines. For me to hit my "ideal weight", I'd have to be a runner and lose actual bone density and eat nothing but carrots. Seriously. There is no way that those numbers work for actual humans.

cheryl

Don't even get my doctor started on BMI charts. I will paraphrase the rant, "this was invented by an actuary. Not a doctor, not a researcher, an accountant. And people take it as gospel." Add about 10 minutes to it and you have his rant. As long as she is healthy and active, what's the difference.

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