Tuesday, June 12, 2012

12.6.12 - The numbers game

I've never been great with numbers. It's a fact that many people can attest to. But, I am ok with logic.  I can work out how something is supposed to happen, but I usually get the numbers wrong, for whatever reason. It's just a part of my brain that doesn't entirely work, or work the way I need it to.  As a parent, this antipathy towards numbers is not helpful. In fact, it can be quite a burden. For example, here are some of the basic stats you need to keep in your brain the second you become a mum at any given moment:

My child was born at xx time on xx date at xx kg/lb (yes, we do the conversion for our American relatives). My child currently wears size xx. In approximately xx weeks/months, I need to make sure he has clothes that will fit him, as he will soon be size xx. My child drinks xx mls/oz of milk and is on an xx hour schedule. My child is in the xx percentile for height and weight. My child goes through xx diapers a day. My child is xx weeks/months old. 

And that's just to begin with. 

I'm writing this on the eve of my son's first birthday, which is a concept I have been struggling to get my head around for a while now.  A year is a measurement I have become unfamiliar with. It's too big. When your little bundle of joy arrives, the measurements are all pretty small - NB, 000, 60ml, 7lb, 2 weeks, whatever. Suddenly, without you knowing, you're counting in months. And then, out of the blue, a year has gone by and you need to account for that AND make xx number of party gift bags.  

I need a calculator. 

My hectic year aside, everyone's first year as a parent is chaotic, no matter what the circumstances, because, well, you've never had an alien in your home before who shits in their pants three to four times a day, sleeps erratically but hopefully for two hours out of every four, startles themselves awake several times overnight and literally sucks the life out of you multiple times a day. A negative description perhaps, but I've never been one to mince words. For the first three months, at least, you can barely remember your own name but all of the above numbers are at the forefront of your mind every minute of every day. Why? Because they have to be, and your day and night revolve around them, as do all of your conversations with other new parents, with whom the numbers game becomes a competition, although usually friendly and sympathetic. You feel like your head is going to explode from all of it (and the lack of sleep, and the mind numbing drone of crying as you wait for them to do one tiny bubble of a burp) but these numbers rule you all the same. And even if you told yourself a million times that you'll just go with the flow, and you won't be governed by charts and facts and figures, you'll just "see what's right for your baby" well, ok. I did too. And I've lost count of how long ago I gave up on that. It's ok - I get ya. I really, really do.

What I have learned, happily, is that it gets easier over time, and even a mathematical dyslexic like me can play the game reasonably well. Now, off the top of my head, I can tell you that my son weighs ten kilos, wears size 0-1 (in Aussie sizes) and size 4 diapers, has six teeth, drinks about 120 mls of formula before bed, knows four words (sort of) and sleeps 12 hours a night, 11 if the cat crying at the door wakes him up. He has ten aunties and uncles, nine different bath toys, eight favorite foods, seven first cousins, six friends at daycare, five different footballs, four spoons, three bibs, two cats and one gorgeous smile. 

Heh. Maybe I'm not so bad with numbers after all. 
Happy birthday baby boy. Thank you for being my number one.

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