Numbers Don’t Lie – Unless the Math is Wrong

For the record, Tad is in excellent health. He has no broken limbs, his spleen is in the right place, and his heart is nice and strong.

Yesterday was his annual checkup at the pediatrician’s office. Do you want to know how much weight the boy has gained in a year?

TWO POUNDS. He weighs a whole whopping 35 pounds.


He’s also grown close to three inches. Tad now clocks in at 40 and 1/4 inches tall – which means that he is officially tall enough for most of the rides at Disneyland! Yay!

As the nurse was doing her calculations for percentiles, I was actually curious to see how Tad measured up. So, imagine my shock when she announced that he was in the 50th percentile for height and the 80th percentile for weight.

Oh, and his BMI is 15, which puts him in the 25th percentile.

After I retrieved my jaw from the floor, I said to the nurse, “Um, are you sure about those percentile numbers?”

“Oh, yes, but if you like, we can weigh him again.”

“No, because I believe his weight is only 35 pounds. But 80th percentile?

She tried to show me the math for the curve, the jump between ages three and four, and the marks on the chart, but I was just incredulous.

The rest of his appointment went well, and he had two shots. Still, the weight percentile was bugging me.

When I told Grandma about it, she was equally confused. “Something is wrong,” she declared. “According to those percentile numbers, he should be chubbier than he is tall, and we know THAT’S not true.”

For the record, Tad was wearing 18 month size jean shorts yesterday, because they actually stay up around his waist. The boy is an absolute string bean. And then Grandma got online, found a percentile chart, and that one said that Tad was in the 47th percentile for height and the 41st for weight.

Grandma recommended that I call the office to have his chart pulled and the numbers looked at again. So, after the nurses all came back from lunch, I finally got a hold of the nurse who ran the numbers earlier. “This kid cannot be in the 80th percentile for weight and only the 50th in height with a BMI of 15!” I exclaimed.

She promised to look at them again and run them by the doctor.

I was out when she finally called back and told the Webmaster that she had made a mistake when she had added the numbers for something or other when she converted Tad’s weight from pounds to kilograms. Their records now show that Tad is in the 50th for height and the 50th for weight.

I’m not sure if that’s entirely what I believe, but it’s much much much more reasonable.

Still, Tad is healthy, active, vaccinated – and skinny enough to wear 18 month sized shorts.

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