C.B. is small for his age. When he was a year old his height and weight were less than the 5th percentile. Our pediatrician didn’t say she was worried about him, but she did say, “If this were my child, here is what I would do.” I have to admit I felt more comfortable when she put it that way. She ran a few tests on him (I specifically remember growth hormone levels and his kidney functions being tested), and all tests came back negative. She then sent him to an endocrinologist at Cardinal Glennon for further evaluation. I was prepared for some invasive tests and the possibility of having to inject my baby with hormones for the next ten or fifteen years. However, the doctor simply weighed him, measured him, and gave him a thorough evaluation. He explained that according to the height and weight charts, C.B.’s growth is on a definite, though gradual, incline. He doesn’t even consider running further tests unless the growth chart shows a decline or even a straight line. He said C.B. is probably just a “late bloomer”. He asked to see him again in six months, and then in another six months and another. Each time C.B. was still on a slow upward path on that growth chart, always around the third percentile. Last year after we saw the doctor we were told said he wouldn’t need to be seen again for a year. I took that to be good news.
Well it’s been a year, so C.B. and I took a trip to Cardinal Glennon this morning to visit his endocrinologist. He was again weighed and measured (twice) and thoroughly examined. His weight and height were again at the third percentile and on the same gradual incline as before. The doctor mentioned the possibility of doing a bone age test which he suggested would likely prove the “late bloomer” theory. However, he decided to wait until next year to do that because C.B. is still too young to make an accurate assessment of his future growth. And because there are no mental delays in C.B.’s development, there isn’t any reason for concern.
I realize that the third percentile sounds really low, especially to those of you who have heard your doctor use the term “off the charts” for your chubby youngster. But today I read that “Most kids whose heights are between the 3rd percentile and the 97th percentile and who are growing at a steady rate are considered to have normal growth.” (kidshealth.org) That made me feel even more comfortable about that third percentile. And more important than how tall he is, C.B. is a happy, healthy and bright little boy who is loved by all of our wonderful family and friends.