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!

The Big K

Here we are. The day before Kindergarten. Holy freaking crap, Kindergarten. My 7 pound, 1 ounce baby is going to Kindergarten tomorrow. In the hubbub of school preparations, I haven't had time to think overanalyze just how I feel about this until I sat down to type this post. And tear No. 1 just rolled down my cheek.

Raise your hand if you remember your first day of kindergarten. I do. I remember the pictures of apples all over the room (so many apples). I remember how Mrs. Stratman didn't call on me during circle time and how devastated I was that she picked a girl named Amy instead. And as I'm remembering things, I'm remembering how I didn't look back, even once, for my mom.

At 8:30 a.m. on August 31, Faith won't look back either. And I'll realize just how my mom felt sending me into that enormous school all alone all those years ago. Oh how I wish 32-year-old me could hug my 36-year-old mother that day. She survived and so will I, but it probably won't be pretty. Scratch that, it's definitely gonna get ugly.

My tough-girl self wants to slap my sappy self for even getting emotional about this. It's school, not the military, and she's five, not 18. I'm still going to cut her meat for dinner when she gets home and wash her hair in the bathtub because she still refuses to take showers. But tough-girl knows something will change when her firstborn daughter is inside those doors. Mom won't be there to encourage, explain, translate, cheer, clap, laugh or cry. It will just be her. Left to fend and friend for herself. Today it's kindergarten, tomorrow she's driving.

She's been asking about this day for MONTHS. Now that it's finally here, she told me she's "nervous." Nervous? I questioned her incredulously. She confessed she's worried about "making friends." I told her to look at me. When her Daddy's shade of green eyes finally locked on mine, I told her as straight faced as I could: "You will make a great friend to anyone who wants to be one to you, Faith." I hope she believes it. Because it's true.

She survived her shots. When the doctor finished the exam, she told her "I think you're forgetting something! The finger prick?" We all got a good chuckle out of it. She (and the nurse) screamed during the shots.
Two scoops for two shots. We both had stomach aches later!

I'm sobbing while writing this, but it's possible I'll be fine tomorrow? After all, I didn't even get a little misty at Kindergarten Round-Up or anytime anyone asked about the big day. So maybe I got a lump in my throat when I read "12- No. 2 pencils" on her school supply list, and when I learned her teacher's name for the first time, and when I saw her cubby on Back-to-School night, but there's hope right?! 

Oh forget it. I should have saved two of the four boxes of tissues for the classroom for myself and the other moms on the first day. That's right, Dad won't be there. His first day of school is also tomorrow, but sadly he's getting a Tupperware container of leftovers and a swift kick kiss out the door in the morning. With him not present, I'm liable to linger, break down in front of Mrs. Pearce's entire Kindergarten class (my baaaabyyyy) and possibly be politely escorted from the school grounds by a wannabe police officer.

Her Hello Kitty backpack is by the door. Her new school clothes laid out in a pile by her dresser. Her Frozen alarm clock set to wake her up to "Let It Go." This is real. This is happening. Kindergarten, here we come.

Back-to-School Night. Is there anything better than the inside of a Kindergarten teacher's room? Gabby doesn't think so.

Next stop, Kindergarten!

How Not to Take Away Your Baby's Binky

If you Google how to take away the binky, i.e. how to steal the one comfort item your child has had since birth right out from under them, you will be met with a mere 228,000 results. All of them are cruel and unusual.

I mean, cut the tip off? Why don't you just behead one of their stuffed animals while you're at it?

And dip it in something nasty tasting? Probably going to give them a sauerkraut complex for life, but go right ahead.

Then there's the binky fairy. Even the tooth fairy doesn't believe in her.

I never liked any of these methods, so instead we tried our own. And let me tell you, my husband and I, we collectively Sucked, capital S for emphasis. You will not find our methods on any baby websites anytime soon because frankly, we'd be sued. We'll keep them right here on this blog where no one can find them and I guess all you parents out there can just go back to beheading binkies and dipping pacis in pickle juice.

Here's our top 5 "what not to dos."

Mistake #1. Elect to de-pacify on the 4th of July weekend. Pop. Pop. Pop go the fireworks. Crack. Crack. Crack go the cans of beer we needed to save our sanity. I thought my 2-year-old would be the first kid to stay away 24 hours in a row. While the Guinness record would be nice, just no.

Mistake #2. At least I've read the websites mentioned above and knew the "tried and true" methods. My husband decided to go rogue with his idea. Our toddlers room features an owl theme, therefore we have a decorative cage in her room. Dad decided to lock the binky in the see-through cage and act like he couldn't get it out. Really? Imagine what our child thought. "Why did daddy lock my binky in a cage? How dumb is he? He knows I need that to sleep! And why is he so incompetent that he now can't get it out. Mommmmmm!!!" Once I caught wind of this odd jodi-mind trick he tried, I released the binky from captivity. Out of sight, out of mind, or so I thought.

Mistake #3. Find the most ear worm-inducing two-minute video on the internet about Elmo giving up his pacifier. Nice idea in theory, annoying as shit in practice. And you know how two-year-olds say "one more time" and you think they mean it? Mine fooled me with this at least four times before I caught on. By then, she had the song memorized and sang it for an hour straight after I left her room for the night.

Mistake #4. Keep a binky in the bottom of your purse. Sure, I'd forgotten it was there, but when I remembered, I was gung ho on handing it over a full two weeks after we'd taken it away because she still WOULD NOT STOP TALKING TWO HOURS AFTER WE PUT HER TO BED! Her name is Gabby and I did not find the coincidence humorous.

Mistake #5. Not having enough alcohol or will power on hand. Self-explanatory.

There you have it. This has been yet another, "What not to do as you raise your children," segment brought to you by the Lindquist family. You're welcome.