If there is anything I love hearing when I take Kitty for his jabs is that he’s gained weight. I usually do a couple of mental somersaults and hip hip horrays whenever I hear this good news.
Really, I derive such pleasure and satisfaction when I hear he’s added the recommended grams (the nurse told me that a baby Kitty’s age should add between 700g – 1kg each month). It always makes me feel like I’m doing something really great, greater than even being president of the world.
Whenever I am taking him to the clinic, I always hold my breath, hoping the nurse won’t tell me he’s below that graph thing they usually fill his particulars in. It’s called the ‘road to good health’ or something like that. Listening to the nurse tell me that Kitty has added weight and is within the recommended growth curve simply is music to my ears. I could listen to her all day as she says so. It makes me feel that I’m really doing something right, and I often pat myself heavily on my back. Makes me think my milk has superpowerfoam ingredients. And while I celebrate the good news, I always take a brief moment to empathize with my mum. And I’ll tell you why.
Thing is, I have always been on the smaller side of life. My frame is not all that big (okay it previously was, not now), and my mum tells me she really used to have a tough time with me when I was a kid. Each time she took me to the clinic, the news was always the same – I was underweight and below that graph thing. And trust me you didn’t want to be a mother with an underweight child in those days, because the nurses were not very kind. They would reprimand you, accusing you of not feeding your child well amongst many other not-so-nice things that would make a mother feel not-so-nice.
“Kwani hunyonyeishi mtoto? Wewe ni mama aina gani?” They would snarl at such a mum with a sneer on their face. Like this mum were engaging in the worst crime against humanity.
And my mum was one of the recipients of such, because if I used to add any weight, it was just a gram or two. But the interesting thing? She was a nurse herself so as far as having all the information about weight gain and babies? She knew it all. But hard as she tried to get me to add weight, it was a fruitless effort. She tells me that she used to be so frustrated as I was as featherweight as they come. I was simply a poor feeder. Even when I grew older, she does not recall me ever finishing my plate of food. That in primary school, I would be given a fried egg for breakfast, chew on it for 45 minutes then tell her that I was full after eating only half of it. I would then put the remaining half in the fridge, where I would return to eat it in the evening after school. Those were my normal eating behaviors. And that was just my weight. My height? That’s a different story altogether.
At birth, Kitty was 52cm and two weeks ago, he was 63.5cm. In three months he has added 11.5 cm. My mother continues to be very impressed by his height gain. She tells me that I used to add an average of 3cm in a year in the days I was supposed to be growing. I don’t disagree because last week I measured my height, and it stands at 150cm. My oh my! My 3 month old son is 63.5 cm and my thirty-something old self is 150cm. At this rate, won’t he be looking down at me when he’s 5 years old? But I’m not surprised because his father is 6 foot tall and me – I’m not even 5 feet! What was that again they say about opposites attracting each other?