I once saw a tweet listed in one of those," Funniest things parents tweet," article that said something like, "You know you're a parent when you tell people how much your kid weighs because it's not like you can say your 1-year-old is into skydiving."
I laughed when I saw that because I had learned that truth the second my son was born.
I carried both of my biological sons entirely in my belly. I'm 5' 1.5" and a very petite woman. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I was asked on the daily "when I was going to pop" or "when my twins would be born." To be clear, I was only pregnant with one child.
My son weighed within the normal range when he was born-- albeit on the higher end-- and took off chasing the high end of the charts ever since. My husband and I both still get comments regularly.
Truth be told, he's an incredibly healthy, curious, developmentally-normal child and it's not missed on my husband and me that this is truly something to be thankful for. That understanding goes a few steps deeper for my husband and me.
It's pretty clear that nearly 100% of the time, people ask about a baby's weight so they can measure and compare.
You know how it goes...
A person asks, "How much does Johnny weigh?" and then quickly follows your answer with, "Wow! Your arms must get tired!" or "Our grandson is already that much and he's only 6 months."
It's pretty silly if you read it out loud, right?
Let’s sit down and be real for a second.
My husband and I have friends who have little ones who were born with life-long illnesses and other friends who miscarried and don't even get to know the experience of seeing their child's weight on a percentile chart. My sister and I were both born premature weighing less than 2lbs. Weight and health can be a precarious thing for a lot of parents.
When people ask how much my son weighs, they're not asking from a medical standpoint out of concern. They're asking out of habit and comparative curiosity.
I get it. Asking about weight is an age-old habit and people are just making conversation. Put that question in the same line of complimenting a 2-year-old girl on her pretty dress or a 5-year-old-boy for being 'a big boy' when he finishes his food.
At face value, people are just making conversation and being chatty. There's nothing malicious or rude about these questions.
However, I would implore my friends, family, and greater society to think creatively when asking about a child's well-being and truly search for those deeper questions of curiosity, cute habits, or funny stories.
Why? Because kids deserve to remember people talking to them about their passions, interests, talents, and wishes in life. I want my children to know that they are more than a number.
You might think I'm being overly sensitive or dramatic as a young, millennial mom, but come on guys! We all know how this goes. Words matter and they stay with people.
We all know the friend or family member who was always known as 'the chubby kid.' If we really think about it, it's not a stretch to think that nickname probably started from well-meaning family members asking the parents about their baby's weight.
It's the repeating loop of, "You're such a BIG boy," "Look at you eat!" or "You weigh more than your sister and she's older!"
So what do we do to get beyond (what I think is the lazy) question of weight?
We get creative and ask about things that don't end in comparison and frankly, get better, funnier answers.
Here's my starter list of worthy replacements:
So the next time you ask about his weight, don't be surprised when I tell you 'He's healthy-- thank you for asking," and change the subject.