As the visiting Canadian and I wandered Millennium Park the other day, a parent beside us proudly announced to some other parents: “He’s in the 50th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for height! What about your kids?”
The other parents mumbled some replies, including: “Um, she’s 2 years old… That stuff doesn’t really matter after a certain age…”
After proceeding a reasonable distance beyond this inane conversation (approximately 3 feet, which I believe is the rough equivalent to 2 Canadian milliliters), The Canadian regaled me with tales of working in children’s retail, where parents would brag that their 9-year-old daughters were, shockingly, skinny, tall, and generally looked like mini-super-models, just like every. other. 9-year-old. pre-pubescent. girl. We laughed (and sort of cried) that that is the standard for beauty in certain industries, then proceeded to down a bag of Garrett‘s Chicago-mix.
I told The Canadian that my parenting technique would be a bit more nuanced than measuring kids in percentiles of height and weight. “My motto is that if they’re not on fire, everything’s fine,” I pronounced.
Later that evening, The Canadian asked my mother if she knew about my parenting mantra. Without answering that question, my mom replied with her own technique: “I always say ‘stop, drop, and roll.'” This unrehearsed moment of serendipity reminded me, once again, that I really did fall into the best family ever. (In my mom’s defens/ce, we were sitting around a pretty out of control bonfire, courtesy of my dad, who has destroyed [as in, melted] at least two of those ornamental yard fire pits by putting trees, pieces of houses, and other unnecessarily large objects into them. In addition to fearing for my dad’s life, she has raised four [other] kids, so, as my partner kindly pointed out, her tip comes from a pretty realistic data set.)
This reminder of how close I fell to the nut house came on the heals of a telephone conversation with my Great-Great-Aunt, who told me that she was on her best behavio(u)r at a recent party, because she’s a lady, even though this other chick totally deserved some sass. Her other antics in role modelling will be a post for another day, because she merits her own blog!