2.02.2010

Because y'all haven't heard from me in a few days

All is well in Brain Tumor Land.  I have no updates from that front but wanted to share a weird encounter we had at the Children's Museum on Sunday.  It was a packed day in the toddler room--kids everywhere.  Maybelle was in a glorious mood, smiling at other kids, trying to steal the rolly ladybug from a little girl, patting her hand in and out of the sunshine to see the shadows.  She did two things she hasn't done before:  crawled through a tunnel (the first time she had to go reeeeeeally slowly, but thereafter she was pretty quick), and voluntarily slid down a slide (again and again and again and again).

The weird encounter:  at one point, a woman turned to Biffle and said, "Don't worry about her size.  When my little one was seven months old, she weighed about 20 pounds.  Then she got taller and didn't gain much weight, so by the time she was two she was normal on the growth charts."

It was a confusing thing to say, and Biffle and I weren't sure how to respond.  Biffle told the woman that Maybelle's actually older than that and is a little small for her age, and then the woman mumbled something incomprehensible and started talking to another mom.  I can see how the woman assumed Maybelle was seven months old, rather than seventeen:  she has only one visible tooth, she doesn't walk yet, and her spoken language is incomprehensible to folks who don't know her.  And yet, it was a bit of a bummer.  I feel sometimes like we should make a little shirt for Maybelle--it would be the companion to the bumper stickers on our cars and would say "I have more chromosomes than you do."  That might at least invite meaningful conversation.

And, because you may not have enough cuteness in your day today, here is the seventeen-month-old herself:
Tooth, hat, monkey shirt, and denim jacket

19 comments:

Cate Bush said...

Dang that is one cute baby!

Sorry to hear about ignorant comment. I wish there were any easier way to deal with people sometime.

love,
C

Deborah Siegel said...

OMG if that isn't the CUTEST picture!!! What a smile. And what a magnificant tooth!

Anonymous said...

Alison I've been thinking of you every day. It will be wonderful when you issue an all clear on this blog after the surgery. I hope you don't mind strangers comments too much. I get old men telling my kids "mommy don't comb your hair", young girls asking me why my kids don't have socks on, and everyone assuming my big chubby 3 year old is 6. It's the downside of a chatty culture.

The Mom said...

Her smile matches her monkey - although with one less tooth - and she's wearing the "fish" hat her Nonnie knitted her. Just about as cute as they come! It sounds as if she had a pretty eventful visit to the Children's Museum. What fun! Isn't it about time for another video? (I know...we're just never satisfied, are we??) :-)

Christie said...

I'm really liking that shirt idea. And I love how the toothy grin on this shirt sort of matches the toothiness of Herself.

Tawanda Bee said...

All I can say is, "Nonnie, I want a hat!"

Aaron said...

you should've just said
"alas, there's no hope for this one becoming 'normal' by any standards...
(wicky wicky wicky)
she's just a bad ass baby with a big ol' toof!
give her a mic and watch her raise da roof.
she'll find out all da mysteries just like a sloof.
I'll justify my position by givin' ya proof.
just look at my baby with the giant toof (echo)..."

and then you just stand there with your arms crossed, back to back with walter, looking at her in the eyeball until she moves. At least that's what mom did when people told her that I'd be on a normal growth chart...

Anonymous said...

You MUST send a copy of this photo to Paul Frank! This is priceless.

Cheers! Maria

mary said...

holla! just look at my baby with the giant toof..."

The Mom said...

Aaron, you make me laugh - I do love you! What a great reply. Walter, you can put it to music - oh, yea, it's a rap, isn't it...

Alison said...

I'm going to learn that rap and perform it for Maybelle.

Jims said...

Since I don't know many children, I typically have trouble judging a child's age by its size. And since I see lots of pictures of Maybelle on the blog and know her age, I've started to think of her as the norm. When I see other professors in my dept. with their children and then find out their ages, I end up thinking that their children are just incredibly toothy giants.

Anonymous said...

And, here's another approach the woman might have considered taking -- "Oh, what a cute baby. How old is she? Really? My little one is X now. It's so fun to watch them play, isn't it?" or even "What's been your favorite part of parenthood so far?"

Imagine if we lived in a world where people a) didn't make assumptions and chat others up without asking a few polite, non-invasive questions first and b) people actually engaged you in conversation without offering advice/consolation masquerading as unsolicited stories about their own life experiences. I'm sure I'm guilty of this, too, being human, but just imagine...

On the other hand -- Maybelle looks adorable & the shirt & tooth combo couldn't be cuter!

littledj

rachel said...

Where'd that cute ole baby get that adorable shirt? And who put her in that cute little outfit? Must be a pretty hip nanny or something, I'm just sayin'...

Biffle said...

Wow, littledj, you described my dealings with other people to a "T." I make assumptions about others before i chat them up with a string of invasive questions.

Alison said...

Jims, I think it's awesome that Maybelle has come to define "normal baby" for you.

It's true that Maybelle's Tues/Thurs nanny definitely has great fashion sense.

And Biffle, nobody said you were particularly polite. But you're generally not obnoxiously consoling.

Taylor said...

That is an amazing tooth! That is a great outfit, and I particularly enjoy the coordination with the Paul Frank tooth shirt. Oh, and my niece is 7 months old does not have a tooth, does not stand up by herself, and does not make any noises except growling, so I have no idea how that woman assumed Maybelle was 7 months old. People are stupid and every baby is different, I say these things as an anthropologist specializing in infant growth and feeding.

Noelle Zeiner-Carmichael said...

I am constantly amazed at the comments we get--usually from other parents--regarding the smaller-than-average size of our children. What fascinates me is the gender discrepancy: Our 1 1/2 Niamh is "petite,"--and said with an endearing, oh-she's-so-sweetly-delicate tone, and Finn is "so tiny" or "so small" usually accompanied by a tone of sympathy for the hardships we must obviously face in having a smaller than average 2 1/2-year old boy.

Not only does this gender discrepancy annoy me, but the general sense that big, chubby toddlers are somehow better (healthier? smarter? better socialized?) or that their parents are. Is the implication that I'm a bad mom because I'm clearly underfeeding my kids or that I'm not overseeing their consumption of food properly? Or do these remarks stem from a concern that my son, who clearly has the genetic makeup of his 5'4" mom and 5'8" dad, will have a hard time in life interacting with his taller, broader (male) peers? It's infuriating that even amidst rising rates of childhood obesity, the idea that bigger somehow equals better (in whatever capacity that is) persists or that random strangers feel the need to comment on the size of my children. What would happen if one day I simply replied "Clearly Johnny eats as many Big Macs as you do?" But I imagine my implied caveat warning against stereotypes and size would be miss the mark. And then I'd just be perpetuating the ignorance I'm battling against.

Maybelle is absolutely adorable.

Jill said...

Maybelle is tres belle!