Slow down, August! My legs don't know how to be as long as yours.


August had his two-month check up yesterday. These visits are a big deal to most new parents; they're affirmation that your baby is healthy and that you're doing a good job as a parent. OK, that's obviously a gross exaggeration. There's A LOT more involved in determining those things. When it's your first time around and you have no other basis for comparison though, you're tempted to look just about everywhere for validation. It doesn't help, either, that organizations like the CDC, establish milestone charts that have you stacking your baby against the rest of the nation's children. Falling within a certain percentile can have you either chest-bumping your partner or developing a serious case of hives. 

Back when I was pregnant, I swore that I wouldn't allow myself to get stressed out about meeting those standards. They're guidelines, I reminded myself; Not laws. But I was kidding myself because even then, I anxiously tracked my baby's growth according to BabyCenter's fetal development updates. Those weekly emails had me over analyzing the progress of my pregnancy with their fetus vs fruit reports. At week 34 it said my baby was the size of a cantaloupe and by week 35 he was supposed to be as big as a honeydew. Are you kidding me? I thought all melons were created equal! Luckily I was surrounded by people of sounder minds to remind me I wasn't actually growing produce.

At his first doctor's visit, just days after he was born, August had lost 13% of his birth weight. I had prepared myself to see a lower number on the scale compared to his baseline because it's practically expected for newborns to lose a few ounces in the first week of life. This was greater than the accepted range though and since I had decided to exclusively breastfeed, the responsibility for his growth was entirely up to me. Clearly, I was slacking. I tried to keep my cool, but the grey tee-shirt I was wearing betrayed me and tragically revealed my underarm sweat. Major fail on all accounts. Thank goodness, again, for the supportive people in my life. With a bit of coaching from a lactation consultant and the encouragement of my family, I was able to stick to my commitment to breastfeed and a few weeks later, at his one-month visit, August was back on track and within the pediatric mean.

Yesterday's appointment was on the other end on the anxiety spectrum compared to that first visit. Our boy sprouted three full inches and tacked on three pounds to match. Either he hit the genetic jackpot or I'm a rock star mama with liquid-gold milk. Oh, how my ego wants to believe the later! The truth probably is that he had an amazing growth spurt that will taper off and eventually even out. That doesn't stop his dad from calling everyone he knows to announce that our son will be the next great American ball player. All reason goes out the window with proud parents.

What I have to constantly remind myself is to stop using statistics as a source of comparison. Not only is the "nature" of each child unique, but the situation of his "nurture" is also individual. It's why despite being twins, raised by the same parents, and exposed to practically the same experiences; Claudin and I are so different. Both of August's great-grandfathers were tall men; it could be that he inherited that height. OR his growth could hit a dramatic halt in which case we'll push a musical instrument (you should see this boy's hands - he's bound to have impressive dexterity). There I go again, getting ahead of myself.


Anonymous said...

He's all torso!!!


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