Thursday, April 21, 2011

Daniel the Lion

My oldest son Daniel came into the world almost 7 years ago at nearly 11 pounds and 2 feet long.  As I brought friends and family to the hospital window to view my long-awaited firstborn, it was difficult to hear some of the comments made by strangers unaware that I was the baby's mom:

"Look at the size of that one!"

"Can you believe that baby's thighs? He looks like a sumo wrestler!"

"Why do they have a 6 month old down here?"  (asked when Danny was 3 hours old).

It all made me a bit weepy - add some post-delivery hormone shifts and no sleep for 2 1/2 days and you understand.  My entire life, I had visions of holding a tiny little baby and starting out motherhood with an infant that looked like an infant.  Now I had this son who, as my Milwaukee friend pointed out, arrived into the world "smoking his own cigar and looking for a date."  The nurses had to get clothes for him from the pediatric ward.  His coming-home outfit couldn't be snapped shut.  His hands and feet didn't fit on the ink card and according to those records, Danny only has 8 fingers & toes.  My husband, in the normal male way, beamed with pride as he shouted out Danny's size & weight on his cell phone before even noting Danny's sex and name to friends.

Daniel - 1 day old

As a large girl myself, I had often felt out of place in a world of petites.  Shoes that look cute in a size 6 look like clown shoes in a 10.  Every pair of pants and jeans looked like floods (thank you, JC Penny for coming out with Ultra Talls).  Motherhood was supposed to be the great equalizer - something I could finally share with my miniature friends and neighbors.  And once again, I felt different.  On the outside of the norm even for this.

Through the years, I have often felt like wearing a shirt with Danny's age so people would stop expecting so much of him.  When he was one, he was mocked by kids for not being potty trained (they thought he was 4).  When he was 2 and would throw a tantrum, mothers would look at me as if to say "get your 6 year old under control."   At 3, the 7 year olds couldn't understand why he didn't understand the rules of tag (he would place his hand on "glue" and advise them there was no glue on the park bench, "it not ticky (sticky)."  His peers shied away thinking him much older, and the kids his size thought him daft.  It was crushing. 

Danny is about to be 7 and so much more confident than his mother.  He uses his size to squash schoolyard bullies and help his mother carry in cases of bottled water (2 at a time).   Sometimes I want to go back in time and shake the silly new mother with the giant baby and tell her she has no idea of the joy in store.  But sometimes when the expectations of motherhood meet reality, it just takes a little time to readjust.  I've had 7 years of the most wonderful son a mom could ask for.  It only took me a few hours to realize it.


  1. I also stated that he WALKED out with a five o'clock shadow and a tatoo (to your credit, the tatoo was a heart around the word MOM)!

  2. That's right! I think he may be taller than you now - we'll see in June!