Something happened at the pediatrician last week that I don’t quite understand. Although I am happy to report I did not sob through my son’s booster shots again, I’m a little confused about the way I behaved.
One of my biggest parenting peeves (EVER) is when other parents assume that they can tell YOU how to parent. But motherhood is a lot like driving; once you figure out which side of the road you should be driving on, you have to figure out how to get where you’re going. Confusing? Yes. Yes, of course it is.
I have always been very careful about monitoring the foods my son is eating. I am hopeful that the healthy choices I make for him now will be healthy choices he will make for himself in the future. Despite my scientific-research-based and pediatrician-advised efforts, I have long endured comments from other moms about how chubby my son is.
“Oh, my! Look how chubby he is! You have a BIG boy! What are you feeding him?”
I smile, nod, and pretend to ignore the vocal emphasis on the word big that makes me think they might be describing a dinosaur. It’s not necessarily a weight issue, but the implication that I am feeding my son a brontosaurus for lunch and a Jurassic Park jeep for dinner. Not sure how either one of those got into my breast milk. Also, I thought his cereal puffs were sweet potato, not extinct-herbivore. I love-love-love my son’s chubby legs and knuckles, but are his eating habits and weight unhealthy?
When we visited the pediatrician last week, I nervously waited for a lecture (or a take-home pamphlet) about my son’s weight. However, his height and weight were in the 44 and 50 percentiles. Yes, my son is perfectly average. I must have exhaled heavily, because the pediatrician asked me if something was wrong. I explained my concern that he was overweight, and she reminded me that he was, in fact, a baby. A healthy (and handsome) baby boy.
When I left the appointment, I felt like updating my status on Facebook to proudly announce how average my son was. However, I was embarrassed about what I had learned about myself, after all, bad parenting moments are among the most teachable if we aren’t too stubborn to admit it. Despite the fact that I have strong opinions which are easily expressed on my blog, I’m not otherwise vocal about agreeing or disagreeing with others. Yes, despite saying I don’t like it when other people tell me what to do, I take what others say VERY seriously. I mostly end up thinking that I am the one doing it wrong or not very well if someone else is doing it differently. And with billions of people on this planet, that’s a lot of ‘different.’
I could not possibly say enough good things about the network of moms and women I have encountered through blogging, web, and social networking communities for their pats-on-the-back and encouraging words when I dare to be brave about my feelings regarding parenting issues. It’s not that everyone agrees with me, but merely reminds me of the fact that we all must make decisions and assessments for ourselves.
And no, brontosaurus will not be on our dinner menu this evening.