by Sharon Tjaden-Glass
He didn’t start out that way.
That’s what everyone always asks when I tell them that I have a big baby.
How big was he at birth?
For being born at 41 weeks 4 days? I mean, okay, he was big, but not huge. He was born 8 pounds 10 ounces (which, I assure you, felt like 25 pounds, 10 ounces). Google tells me that is the 86th percentile for weight.
We’re actually used to having big babies. Our daughter hugged the 90-100th percentile growth curve since she was one month old. (She was born at 50% percentile for both weight and height.) And she’s still tall. She is several inches taller than most of the boys in her class.
When I think back to her babyhood days, I remember that she was about one year old (maybe a little older) when she started pushing me away when she was sleepy, no longer wanting me to hold her as she fell asleep.
But okay. That’s what she wanted. To be honest, she was getting kind of big for me to comfortably rock her anymore. By that time, she was the size of an average 18-month old. So I acquiesced.
So when I was pregnant this time around, I thought, Maybe this one will be different. Maybe this time, I’ll get to hold a smaller baby for a little longer.
Until he was 5 1/2 months old, Henry regularly needed someone to rock him to sleep and transfer him (in such and such way) to his crib. At first, it was rocking in the chair, his stomach turned toward mine, his head resting on the inside of my elbow.
But around 4 1/2 months, he wasn’t digging that position anymore. He would fuss and arch his back, pulling his head away from me. So I stood and held him to me again, stomach to stomach, rotating at the hips until he would close his eyes. (I found out later that his favorite daycare teacher had been putting him down for naps like that during the day. I thought that was pretty adorable.)
And then at 5 1/2 months, he was just having none of it. No more rocking. No more holding. No more shushing. No more patting on the back. It was just all out screaming, his head digging into the mattress, until I would walk out the door and close it behind me.
Truth be told, we still had to do the whole Cry-it-Out process several weeks later since he had developed a penchant for reverting back to night feedings, but his preferences for falling asleep just transformed overnight.
It was almost kind of like, God, Mom. Just back off and let me do this.
To which I said, Seriously, dude? This is my last time around this merry-go-round. Don’t I get some say in when I stop rocking you to sleep?
I guess it makes sense, though. At 6 months, he was as big as my daughter when she wanted to put herself to sleep. (Maybe he was just getting too big for me to make him comfortable?)
Also at 6 months, he outgrew his “pumpkin seat” car seat and we had to upgrade to the monster spaceship carseat that stays strapped into the car unless you want to go through the headache of removing it.
Daycare pickup and drop-off now involves me lugging a gia-normous baby, his bag, and his sister’s lunch bag while keeping an eye on his sister (who is carrying her bag) and making sure that she’s not giving into the temptation to dawdle and pick up trash in the parking lot. Sometimes, I strap Gia-normous Baby into the stroller to manage all the weight, but geez, he really hates the stroller.
I know he’s a baby, but he’s such a baby about some things. Sudden, loud noises, riding in a stroller, an unexpected face–and joy instantly turns into terror. Because those are the only two options. Joy and terror. (If you’ve never been around babies, hunger and tiredness are expressed as terror.)
To summarize, here’s what his growth has looked like:
- Newborn: newborn-sized clothing for 5 days, then 0-3 months
- Age: 1 month, Size 3 months (about 14 pounds)
- Age: 3 months, Size 9 months (about 18 pounds)
- Age: 6 months, Size 18 months (21 pounds, 4 ounces)
- Age: 9 months, Size 24 months (24 pounds)
24 pounds is heavy.
Especially when your baby is just now starting to crawl and cruise. I am lifting this baby all the time.
Every time he goes for a wire or outlet or approaches an ant trap. Every time he barrels headfirst toward the TV stand, where a nest of juicy, welcoming wires await his inquiring mind. Come to think of it, he loves the wires that lead to everything: laptops, baby monitors, lamps, blenders, TVs, dusty PlayStations that I have dreams of playing (When? I’m not sure I have a valid answer. Perhaps I should just box them up and give them to Henry when he descends into the inevitable phase of video game obsession that middle school boys all seem to experience?)
Anyway. Wires. He just really loves wires.
If you think about it, I’m basically lifting weights all weekend long. (I have one mean left bicep.)
But it’s his height that has really taken me by surprise.
- Newborn: 21.5 inches
- 8 weeks: 24 inches
- 4 months: 27 inches
- 6 months: 29 inches
- 9 months: 31.5 inches
I started to really notice how big he was when I was feeding him in the glider and realized that my 7-month-old baby’s feet were reaching my knees, while his head was resting on my shoulder. And I’m 5′ 6.5.” (I used to be nearly 5′ 8″. Hey, did you know that pregnancy can rob you of height? That’s a fun fact.)
This huge change matches what his 6- and 9-month check-ups reported. Beginning at 6 months, he outpaced the 100th percentile curve. Now, it looks like he’s approaching 110th.
People ask us where Henry gets his height from.
Pretty sure it’s from my side.
My father was 6′ 2″. My brothers are 6′ 4″ and 6′ 7″. My mother and sister are also taller than me.
So, we’ve got another big child.
There are advantages.
When he practices his “walking” by holding onto my fingertips, I don’t have to stoop over. He’s tall enough that he can hold onto my fingers while we walk. He can romp around with his older sister without being completely overrun by her. He even finds it funny when she crawls on the floor like he does.
But, hey, it’s all good.
Life is good.