Monday, February 15, 2010

My Old Baby

When Ryan was first born, I posted a semi-rhetorical, semi-serious question on my Facebook page: "When does a 'new' baby become an 'old' baby?" The most common answer I got was, "When you start counting his age in months instead of days or weeks."

The first time someone asked how old he was, I was outside the hospital waiting for Herb to bring the car around, and I proudly announced that he was exactly two days old. The first time we went to church and got the same question, I said that he was exactly two weeks old. Up until a few weeks ago, whenever someone asked how old he was, I would respond with his age in weeks. But how that he's hit three months, it seems right to give his age in months instead. Two or three weeks is meaningful to people without children (or those whose children haven't been babies in quite a few years). Even ten or eleven weeks has some meaning to non-baby folks. But once you reach fourteen or fifteen weeks, counting the age in weeks gets silly at best and confusing at worst. So I'm going by half-months now: Two weeks ago he was three months old; today he's three and a half months old.

Another reason the whole weeks/months thing gets confusing is the same reason it's confusing when you're pregnant: lunar months don't match calendar months. So anyone doing the math thinks sixteen weeks, four weeks in a (lunar) month, that's 4 months, right? But when Ryan is sixteen weeks old, he's still got a week and a half to go before he's 4 calendar months old. And that discrepancy will only get wider with time. So going by calendar months just makes it easier all around.

Also, going by months makes the time seem to go by a little more slowly. When I thought about upping his age every week, time seemed to fly by incredibly quickly! Wasn't he just eight weeks old yesterday? How can he be ten weeks old now? Every time I turned around it felt like I was adding another week to his age. At least with months, I go for four entire weeks before I up his age. It's like finding a rock to cling to when you're swimming across a rushing river - you get a bit of time to catch your breath and get your bearings before jumping back in to the battle.

So I'm not going to think of Ryan as being 105 days old, or fifteen weeks old, or even three and a half months old. I'm going to think of him as being less than a quarter of a year. Then I can pretend that he's not actually growing any older until May...

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