Does size matter?

So, people are always interested in your child’s age for some reason. It’s the height of small talk and will inevitably lead to some comment on size and developmental milestones (“Is she walking?” Etc).

I’m interested to know if mums of “typical” children ever feel like a comment on their child’s size is a criticism – if it ever makes you feel like you’re doing a bad job?

You see, Audrey is small. The last time she was weighed, she was travelling around the 9th curve on the Down syndrome chart. For those of you who don’t know, people with DS generally grow slower and are smaller than typical people. So the 9th on the DS chart is smaller than the 9th on the typical chart. 

She is 22 months old, wearing mostly size 9-12 months (just moving to 12-18). So basically she’s the size of a one year old and is nearly two. This means people are usually quite surprised by her age or that they guess her age and are way off. In the early days I definitely felt like I was to blame. It was my breast milk feeding her and I so wanted to make her grow big and strong, but she just kept slowly crawling up the lower curves. She was refluxy, so it was tricky getting her to gain weight, but once we started her on solids, she gained some good chunk. Unfortunately she was still weeny and yeah, it’s great to be petite if you’re a lady, so I’m sure this won’t be an issue in time, but right now, whenever I meet people (bus, supermarket queue…) and they say “Ahh, she must be about 10 months?” and I have to say; “Well, no, actually she’s 22 months”, I feel uncomfortable about it. I feel like they are wondering why on earth is this kid so small? And it’s often followed by the question “Was she premature?” and then I have to say “No, actually she was 6 days late”. Queue another surprised look.

Audrey’s size has skewed my idea of what size a baby should be, so I can’t really enter into the guessing game when meeting a new baby, because I have no idea what age to go for. In fact, how does everyone else know the average size of a 10 month old?! I didn’t know pre-Audrey and I certainly don’t know now. And why do I think that big bouncing baby = successful mother? 

She is a greedy piglet and we feed her a lot. In fact it was Audrey’s ‘decision’ to drop her nighttime bottle in favour of a snack! Ha. 

Anyway, if you meet someone and enter into the small talk of baby age, please try not to be overly shocked by their answer (whether the baby seems tiny or huge to you), either way, I’m sure the mummy won’t be thrilled that you think their child is mahoosive/minuscule! Thanks!

Audrey with a (giant!) teddy and her friend Edith (over a year younger than her!)….


Mummy forum rant

Mummy forums. Personally, I find them horrifying. Like the Daily Mail online comments section, but scarier.

When you throw a question out to a bunch of sleep-deprived/shell-shocked/in-need-of-adult-conversation hormonal ladies, what sort of responses do you expect to get? And yes, I do think that us mummies can provide each other with helpful advice and support, but I also think we can confuse one another with conflicting advice and viewpoints. I guess this is why I would choose to look at medical professional sites for health advice, ‘proper’ parenting websites for weaning/naps/milk etc advice and personal mummy blogs for inspiration/comfort. I would never ask a bunch of mummies in a chat room about whether or not I can give Audrey x amount of calpol or if it was weird that she was doing so-and-so.

And NEVER go there to discuss immunisations. Yikes.

The problem is, I am a member of more than one mummy group on Facebook and various things clutter my feed… Ted says; “Just leave the group or hide the posts” and of course he’s right, I should do that… But I can’t help keeping them so I can judge/get annoyed/laugh/and sometimes (rarely) get some useful advice.

I spend a lot of time saying “Don’t these women have friends?!” Or “Haven’t they heard of Google?!?” But I guess the truth is, no, some of them don’t have friends they can ask and yes, they probably could Google it, but then they wouldn’t have an interaction with other mummies and maybe they desperately need that.

I’ve been hugely lucky in that I have several friends from school who paved the way and had kids a few years ahead of me. So we got loads of clothes, a cot and things we’d never even heard of (bumbo!). Then we did NCT and met a great group of people and shared an amazing experience together. Plus Tallulah from NCT did all the reading so I didn’t have to! Then I had some semi-blind dates with friends of friends with babies. Then there’s the local T21 group, who organise pre-school meet-ups so Audrey can meet other babies with DS close to her age (or more importantly, I can meet their mummies). There were plenty of people to sit and drink coffee with (decaf whilst breastfeeding of course!) and dissect the nap routine and symptoms of this and that and developmental stuff…

But what if you didn’t have that? I can’t begrudge these women their only outlet for baby queries and support, can I? Even if they don’t know the difference between “mummy’s” and “mummies”? Even if they ask questions that could easily be answered by a quick Google or a glance at an instruction manual? Even if they start a discussion about grooming pubic hair??

I give in. If it riles me too much, I’ll block… But for now just listen out for me muttering, “F*¥#ing Google it!”.