Grip went in for his “four month check-up” (although he’s four and three-quarters at this point) the other day, where we learned that he is the size of an average _10 month old_. Here are the stats:
Height: 28.5 inches. This was annotated with “>97%,” i.e., he’s in the “greater than 97th” percentile. They don’t measure any higher than 97 percent, since there’s probably only like 10 kids on the planet his age this tall. It basically means he’s off the chart.
Weight: 20 pounds. This is a mere “97%,” which means that although he weighs more than almost every other kid his age, at least they have a place on the chart for him.
Head circumference: 45 centimeters. This is in the “75 – 90%” — which given his other measurements means, I guess, that unlike his dad he has a small head. Ha!
In the notes, the doctor writes, and here I must quote: “Healthy boy! Excellent growth and development.” They also said to Mom while she was there, “Whatever you’re doing, you should bottle it.”
Not that I’m bragging.
Dad has a picture on his desk of Griffin and I sleeping together in the hospital bed. He looks so new and scrunched and his hat is too big and it makes me strangely nostalgic to look at it. Now, generally speaking, premature nostalgia really irritates me, and these days there’s plenty of premature nostalgia going around — TV movies that film before ink has dried on real-life news stories, packaged retrospectives on tragedies we’ve barely had a chance to grieve — but I digress. The thing is, I look at this photo and I can’t even remember what it was like to be there in that room with him. And he’s not even three months old! When I start thinking about all the things I love about him and realize I’m going to forget them too, I get all weepy (can I still blame post-partum hormones for this?). I just wish I could somehow tuck away these small details until some day two or 13 or 45 years from now when he’s just had a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store or is in the throes of teen angst or has asked to borrow money (again) or for no reason at all. I know there will be wonderful parts all along the way and new things to take the place of what slips away. Still, I already feel a sense of loss knowing I won’t always recall exactly how he smells after a bath, or how soft and warm his tiny feet are when I slip them out of his pajamas in the morning to get him dressed, or the expression that lights up his face when he’s hungry and sees me pull up my shirt. I guess the passage of time, mortality, only hits you when you see it made flesh and saying “ah goo” to you.
I have a shameful confession to make.
It’s a cliché that every parent thinks their child is the center of the universe. “A face only a mother could love.” “Mother’s little angel.” That sort of thing. And I suppose that’s right, as far as it goes. But there’s something else going on with me. I’m not sure if it’s a male-brain thing — competitiveness, possessiveness, all that — or just a my-brain thing, but I can’t shake the conviction that Grip _really is_ the best baby ever. Like, objectively speaking. Like, if I had a different baby, I would love it, but it would still be inferior to Grip. I have that whole subjective “my baby” thing, but I’ve also got a place-’em-on-a-scale, “my baby vs. your baby” thing. I know, on some intellectual level, that it’s extremely unlikely he is actually the best baby ever, or that there can even be such a thing. There are lots of babies, and I’ve only seen a tiny number of them. I know that my assessment is deeply, inescapably biased. I know all babies are precious. I know all babies are the most wonderful in the world for their parents. I know all babies are special in their own way.
Yes, yes, I know all that. But still. _Look_ at him! He’s not just cute, he’s _cuter_! He’s not just big, he’s _bigger_! He’s not just calm and even-tempered, he is so Buddha-esque he makes _your_ stupid baby look like a big… _baby_!
Oh my god, I’m a bad person and I’m going to hell.
Last week we took Grip to his two month doctor’s appointment. Mom acquitted herself well — she didn’t even cry when he got his shots. The nurse made it quick, just one, two, three, four shots in under ten seconds. The little guy got his “why on earth are you doing this to me?” face and screamed for about thirty seconds, but as soon as I picked him up he calmed down. He is such a trooper. I’m trying not to brag too much about him, but… well, I’m not trying that hard… but that’s a topic for another post.
On to more significant news.
Get this: Dr. McMahon measured The Gripster and told us that he is dead average size… for a _four month old_. He weighs 15 lbs 8 oz and is 25 inches long. As you can see from the picture on the right (click it to see a larger version), both these measurements are literally off the charts. They don’t make any distinctions when you get above the 97th percentile, but Grip’s pretty far above it. I think it’s safe to assume that he’s bigger than 99% of the other two month olds.
Yes, that’s awesome, I know, but it gets better. The other two relevant statistics are head circumference and weight relative to height. Grip is on the upper end of both those charts, but not outside the normal range. Let me break down what that means. His overall size is in the 99th percentile, but his head circumference is in the normal range. This means that, despite his size, he doesn’t have one of those massive, wobbly, mutant-melon heads that so many kids have. Again, his overall size is in the 99th percentile, but his weight (relative to other children his height) is in the normal range. This means his isn’t all fat and chubby. He’s long and lean.
In short, my son is about as perfectly proportioned and beautiful a specimen of boyhood as one can imagine. He’s not old enough to know what “pride” means, but I’ve got it covered for him.
We took Grip to his 10 day checkup at the pediatrician’s today. He’s grown to 23 inches long, and his weight is up to 9lbs 15oz. She said that such substantial weight gain in a baby this big is “quite unusual.” Her final words were, “This baby is perfect.” Of course, Mom and I knew that, but it’s nice to hear that medical science concurs.
Grip also got his Hep-B shot. He cried for about one minute, whimpered for another thirty seconds, and then passed out asleep. Mom bawled for about 15 minutes, and still cries periodically when she thinks about it.
I always thought Dad was the slowest eater on the planet… until I met my son. His “dinner” begins about 5 o’clock most evenings so far and ends sometime around midnight — interrupted only briefly for burps and diaper changes.
Grip’s starting to smile occasionally! OK, it’s just one in a series of accidental facial expressions — usually after he passes gas — but it still makes Mom and I laugh and cry simultaneously every time we see it. I can’t imagine what we’ll do when he smiles on purpose!
It’s a cliché that every parent thinks their baby is the smartest, cutest, and most advanced in the world. Now that I’ve had a baby, I’ve realized the truth: all those other parents are wrong. _My_ baby is, in actual fact, the smartest, cutest, and most advanced in the world.
Since Grip is only 5 days old, the signs of his advanced-ness are rather subtle, but they are there if you look closely enough. The one that I’m currently (and, according to Mom, unusually) obsessed with is his leg length. You know how when babies come out their legs are all bowed and scrunched up, cause they’ve been stuffed in that tight space in the womb? Supposedly they stay like that for weeks, and gradually straighten out. This is true of every baby I’ve seen — they look tiny because their legs are all chicken-leg crooked up and weird.
But here’s the thing: Grip’s legs are straight. I mean, they’re bent sometimes, but lots of the time he holds them straight out and looks really tall. Everybody he says he looks older than 5 days. Like, two months, maybe.
I’m no physiologist, but it seems pretty clear to me that Grip’s straight legs are indicative of considerable cognitive advancement, all out of proportion to his actual age.