Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Just Two Inches...

Last week, I took Drew to his 3 Year Old checkup with his Pediatrician. The nurse weighed him, measured him against the chart on the wall, made a few notes on his file, and asked us to wait a few minutes until the doctor could join us. When the doctor arrived, she listened to his heart, examined his eyes, ears, breathing, etc. and gave him a new toothbrush! Then, she flipped open his chart to discuss where his height and weight now fell on the scale of percentages I'd become intimately familiar with over the past three years.

When my son was born at 9lbs, he was in the 90% for both height and weight, which means that he was longer and weighed more than 90% of all other newborns. And while the height percentile has adjusted downward slightly through the years, he's always been 90%-95% on weight. Basically, I'm used to big numbers.

So, when the doctor opened the chart and said, "O.K. We're at 8% for height and 65% for weight." I just assumed that I'd heard her wrong. I responded, "80% for height?". "No - 8th..." she responded. I tilted my head and rephrased her findings for her, "As in 8% like, incredibly short for his age 8%?" "Yes."
I was really stunned by this. I knew that there were several kids in his class at church who were obviously taller than Drew, but to be registering so low on the percentile chart... it didn't make a lot of sense to me.

The doctor began asking me how tall I was, how tall my husband was, and we traced back through the men on Drew's paternal side, noting that indeed there was not a whole lot of height to inherit. I began asking the questions that probably can't be answered anyway.. "How tall do you think he'll be as an adult?" "Should I be concerned at all about this since it's such a drastic difference from the previous years of growth?"

She began to answer my questions diligently, but then stopped herself mid-sentence. She looked Drew over again, picked him up off the examining table and set him down on the ground. She finally said, "You know, he doesn't really look that short. Let's measure him again." So, we stepped back out into the hallway, took off his shoes and pressed him back up against the growth chart. We found that he was two inches taller than what had been recorded by the nurse earlier in the visit. We walked back into the examing room and plotted the new number on the chart. "That's better" the doctor sighed. "He's 45% for height and 65% for weight." Absolutely normal.

Two inches was the difference between being shorter than 92% of his peers or being right in the middle of the pack. A measurement about the length of my thumb made a huge difference at our appointment that day. My husband and I both agreed later that we had considered the same "truth" when I relayed the story to him. How a very small thing can sometimes make a huge difference.

I was recently reading a book that talked about encouragement. How we should really practice the Biblical principle of encouraging one another, and building eachother up. And often it's the little things we can do or say for eachother that can make the biggest difference in someone's life. A well-timed phone call. A note in the mail. A quick email saying "Hello - I've been thinking about you today."

I pray that God will use me to be an encouragement. To sprinkle a few inches of loving-kindness around to those who are precious in my life. (I Thessalonians 5:11)

No comments: