Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Can I see some ID?

From the time I was born, I’ve always looked older than my actual age. I weighed 10 pounds & 15 ounces at birth, bless my mother’s heart.  While in the hospital, the doctors and nurses all wanted to come see the 11 pound baby.  Seriously doctors?  I was a big baby, not the Elephant Man. 

I went to a very small elementary school and I was always forced to stand in the back row of the class pictures among the teachers and other faculty. One year, people thought I was the janitor. I was 9.

My brother is almost 8 years older than I am. Ever since I turned 12 or so, people who’ve met us together often ask who is older. I guess you could say that he is fortunate to look younger than he is or I am just unlucky to be mixed up with an old geezer like him.  Since my brother was in college when I was in 6th grade, when I would go visit him he’d take me to do college activities. No, we didn’t go to pep rallies or to make homecoming floats. I was able to waltz right in to fraternity parties, bars, etc. A couple times I got carded and was lucky to have the fake ID that one of his friends had found and let me borrow. In case you were wondering, my alias was George Boll.  

I reached my current height of 6’ when I was 12 years old.  Sadly, my only growth since then has been horizontal.  At my Bar Mitzvah I was taller than the Rabbi though that’s not really a huge accomplishment. For a while, I was the starting center on my junior high’s basketball team.  It’s too bad I was as graceful as a giraffe on ice skates or I could have gone pro. 

During my senior year in high school, I wanted to see how long I could go without shaving. It wasn’t purely a scientific experiment, however. It also spawned out of a combination of laziness and convenience as I’ve always hated shaving and I lived somewhere with brutally cold winters. This was also during the Grunge era when flannel was all the rage, so I will admit that on numerous occasions I was confused for a lumberjack or a member of Pearl Jam.  Since it is obviously very likely that either one of those people would be hanging out at a high school in Ohio. In case you are wondering, I managed to last four months with my built-in neck scarf. 

So when my son was born, beyond my natural curiosity about what he would look like I also wondered if he would have the same older look that I have. Based on those creepy 3D ultrasound pictures you get toward the end of pregnancy, I had a feeling he was going to come out looking like an old Chinese kung fu instructor. Fortunately, he did not. He looked like a handsome little stud. Oh, did I mention that everyone says he looks like me? 

And while my wife’s doctor was concerned that he was going to be a giant, as I was at birth, he weighed in at just under 9 pounds. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but not gigantic either. In fact when measured against my brother's & sister’s kids BC ranks 4th out of 6 in birth weight. It seemed he was destined to be a Three Little Bears kid, not too small and not too big but just right.

Of course that all changed the day after he was born, while still in the hospital. Obviously we were new to diapering, but my wife and I couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t get the diapers to fit properly on our little man. We called the ultra-patient maternity nurse who couldn’t quite get the diaper on right either. On Day 2 of his life, BC had already outgrown the Newborn sized diapers and was upgraded to Size 1.  I could see right then that this was going to be a long road.

Over the next few months, my wife and I watched in amazement as BC was always one clothing size ahead of his age. When he was 3 months old, he was wearing 6 month size. When he was 9 months, he was wearing 12. BC has always been near the top of the growth chart at his pediatrician’s office.  He’s been consistently at or above the 90th percentile in height. Guess what? I was 99th percentile in height until I was 12. I see a trend starting. Fortunately it’s not a bad one.  

Speaking of growth, when BC turned one we tried for weeks to find him shoes that fit. Every time he’d try them on, they never came close to fitting. We figured that size 4 was too small for him so we tried size 5. It wasn’t until a few weeks after his birthday when we took him to the shoe store I went to growing up when we learned what the problem was. We were looking for size 5 shoes for him, but his feet measured size 6 ½ EXTRA WIDE. Guess what, I’ve worn size 13 wide shoes since I was 13. Lucky me. 

When BC was 6 months old, we took him to the LA Zoo for the first time. He loved it so much that we bought a membership and have been regulars there ever since. Ironically, the giraffes are his favorite animals by far. Maybe he feels a kinship? Whatever the reason, he loves those tall ruminants and squeals with delight when he sees them from afar. They are much more exciting than the meerkats and Golden-backed Weavers, after all.  

Zoo policy lets kids under 2 years old in for free and we have a family membership that covers two adults, so our little family is covered for admission. However the last few times we’ve visited the zoo, instead of the normal wave-through at the front gate, there’s been a more thorough inspection of our group. The Bouncer (aka pimple-faced teen hired to greet the members) has started a line of questioning about our 20 month old son.  

Teen: Um, how old is the kid?
Me:   20 months
Teen: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, I’m pretty sure I remember when my wife was sliced open and he was cut out of her stomach.
Teen: Um, oh, OK. Sorry. Have a nice day.

With that, the teen returned to texting his dopey friends and we entered the animal kingdom. I can’t help but wonder how long until this type of inquisition becomes a normal part of life for my child.  There is nothing wrong with being big, or small for that matter. I just hope he learns to embrace it a little better than I did. That’s why on his second birthday I’m going to start teaching him some interior post moves, just in case he is also the tallest kid in his 7th grade class.

Thanks for reading! Your comments are appreciated.  Tell your friends...

--JJ aka The Dude of the House

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  1. LOL. I remember how tall you were in Noar. But the size of your heart has also been so big :)

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