Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chunky monkey

My baby is not a chunky guy. He's just not. My dad was visiting recently and downloaded some photos he'd taken when Cletus was about six weeks old. He looks like a little skeleton baby. He looks almost like one of those little African starving babies. At least that's what he looks like to me now. Anyway, he wasn't a chubby little roly poly baby.


When he was about three months old, I took him to the garden show and some older woman asked me how old he was and I said and she said that was about the same age as her grandson. But her grandson was so much bigger. She asked me how much my baby weighed. I told her (I think it was about 12 pounds). She looked shocked. I said "Yeah, he's little." He was about the 9th percentile for weight at that point - meaning about 90% of babies his age weighed more than he did. And then she said her grandson was 16 pounds. Her grandson was just growing and thriving. He was just coming on leaps and bounds.

Shut the fuck up, I wanted to say. I wanted to say "Hey, you know I'm sure you're thrilled with your grandson's growth. And while on the one hand I don't actively want him to shrivel up and fade away on the other hand I don't know you and I don't really care and I don't know why you think I would care. I don't begrudge you your little chunky monkey, but just so you know I'm actually very worried about my son's growth. I don't know why you'd want to rub in the fact that your grandson seems to be doing better than my boy when you could equally well take private pleasure in it or share it with the parents of your grandson later. But I don't really need you exacerbating my anxiety so you can get off in some kind of weird way. You old freak."

She probably didn't mean anything by it. But her co-grandma, who was standing next to her, looked a little uncomfortable, too. So I know it wasn't just me.

Anyway, it all worked out. Here's Cletus looking like a lumberjack and he's ok.

he's a lumberjack and he's ok Have yourself a scary little Christmas

And there he is as an elf.

He's so OK, in fact, he's up to just over 17 lbs and according to CDC weight charts he's on the 50th centile. He's Mr Median. (According to English charts based on formula fed babies he's just above the 40th centile).

weightchart with orange


A blogger with a new baby is having trouble*. She's finding life with a newborn difficult. Really, it's probably all OK or will be OK, but it's really, really hard. And I think she probably feels like if she complains it will seem like she's not grateful for her much wanted baby.

I tell you what, I wonder if I'm guilty of "My baby is easy. I breezed through the newborn thing. He's a walk in the park. I'm a kick-ass breast feeder. My baby can already drive and I would let him start University next fall, but well...I'm needy." A little bit like that crazy grandma and her fat lump of a grandson.

Anyway, if I have been - I'm sorry. I'm just trying to accentuate the positive. The newborn thing sucked. It was awful. In the early days, I had to remind myself that if I didn't take adequate care of him the law would come after me. I had to tell myself "Fake it til you make it," because I really didn't feel especially bonded with him. Not like all those other women on-line "It was love at first sight..." blah, blah, blah. I couldn't imagine my life without him. Well, I could and often did. I kept thinking about how I heard that Bulgarian babies were bringing about 50,000 Euros and so how much more would my baby be worth on the black market? (To a good home only - and yes, I know it's ethnocentric to rate my baby higher, but it was my fantasy)

Breastfeeding actually wasn't that bad for me, but there was an awful lot of doubt about whether he was getting enough nutrition. And there were many times that I was just plain tired of it and felt like it was sucking the life out of me.

Cletus screamed and screamed. At one point, I thought we'd never be able to eat a meal in peace again. He still can't stand to be put down much. He's now old enough to go into a door jumper and a baby activity center - but he doesn't like them if you're not actually looking at him. And heaven forbid you should do something like blog.

He does cry a lot less, but that's because we're better trained to attend his needs as quickly as possible.

Actually, now that we're approaching six months, it's a lot better. He's a lot cuter. He's more interactive. We can kind of share experiences. Really. Like when I help him pet a cat (his fave thing). It's still hard, but the rewards are greater. I guess this parenting thing is always hard, but as you go on it's hard in a different way.

I don't know if this makes you feel any better mystery blogger. Probably not. But I just want you to know you're not alone.

*I'd link to this blogger, but I don't think she'd want me to. I will if she lets me know.


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furrow said...

I think you are probably writing about me, and thanks for letting me know that what I'm feeling is normal. So, just how much is 50,000 euros in American dollars? Quite a lot, eh? Nah, I guess I'll keep her.

Congratulations on your chunky little Cletus.

(And I don't mind you linking. Maybe I'll get some helpful/encouraging commenters. Or maybe I'll get flamed. Whatever. I don't mind.)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you feel confident enough to talk about the down sides to motherhood. I'm sure I had a dream of putting you in the freezer shortly after you were born. I can still feel the guilt and fear I felt. Deep down what I wanted to do was put you on ice until I felt better. I can laugh now, but I wasn't secure enough to share that with anyone, not even your dad, for a long time. For what its worth, I think you and Simon are doing a marvelous job at parenting--from a long distance perspective. Just wait till I get on site. Vol Mom

Chris in Oxford said...

Great post and I agree with your Mom about being able to tell the truth - it ain't always a Pampers commercial. Also I was reassured to read that your boy and mine seem to share the same response to any perceived drifting of attention to something other than themselves:

Hey, my congratulations on your Cletus' rise to the middle - I reckon the middle is often the best place to be.

Vol Abroad said...

chris when Cletus notice our attention has drifted he starts off with enh, enh, enh - then HUH, HUH, HUH before MMMMWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAA!!! So I can't say we haven't been warned.

Noble Savage said...

Ah, I remember those days vividly. The first six months kicked my almighty ass. There were days I had to lock my windows for fear of throwing The Noble Child out of the nearest one the next time she screamed or pooped up her back or knocked something over or kept me awake all night. Luckily, by about 9 months it started to get a LOT better and by the time her first birthday rolled around, I was like "Eh, this is EASY. Bring in on, baby, there's nothing I can't handle now!"

Now we are entering full-blown toddlerdom and a whole new can of worms has been opened. How I yearn for the 6-18month stage, which is the best in my opinion. Savor it from now on!