Genetically, my son is destined to be a wee one in the land of giants. He should be the short skinny kid in the group; the Tiny Tim, only with better teeth and minus the dark circles. At age three, he is in the 3rd percentile for height (with all the other Cratchit kids), but it’s the width where he has surprised us.
I’ve analyzed the Punnett squares at length to confirm that they didn’t accidentally switch babies in the hospital. I was a scrawny kid, and Rocco’s dad is a 125 lbs soaking wet, I-skipped-a-meal-and-accidentally-lost-7-pounds kind of guy. His sister is the smallest in her class both vertically and horizontally.
I always thought he was a little chubby as a baby, but looking back at photos I am genuinely surprised that I didn’t end up on the news as the mother of one of those Guiness-record-what-can-she-possibly-be-feeding-him-babies.
At about 5 months, he started taking rolls to an entirely new level. I was a little concerned at first, but having seen plenty of chubby babies I didn’t lose any sleep over it.
Moms of roley kids know that to properly maintain your little one, you have to take cleaning to an entirely new level. You scrub in all the valleys at bath time, looking for crumbs. You often take a wash cloth to the neck folds to remove milk crusts that have collected. You may even consider adding a teeny tiny crevice tool to your vacuum cleaner attachment collection.
There’s an older neighbor gentleman who always stops me during stroller outings to say ‘He’s a Healthy boy!’ and then adds in his knowing laugh and side glance as if to say “It must be hard to keep Twinkies on the conveyor belt 24/7 mom”.
People want to “eat him up” and “squeeze those cheeks”. They announce to me (with the excitement of someone who has uncovered brand new information) “Look at those chubby cheeks!”.
When he was 13 months old, Rocco had a peanut reaction, and was covered in hives within minutes of eating his first peanut butter sandwich. I rushed him into the ER entrance, and a concerned nurse scooted over to analyze his facial swelling.
“How much would you say his face has swollen?”, she asked in a serious and urgent tone.
My response? “There isn’t any, that’s just the way his cheeks are.”.
It isn’t just his cheeks and waistline either. Bilbo Baggins has nothing on Rocco’s feet. His dad and I wear thimbles for shoes, but Rocco’s foot never fit into normal toddler sneakers. The expensive mall store brought out a wide shoe, followed by an extra wide shoe. Finally they brought out an extra, extra wide shoe. Angels sang, and I rejoiced that someone had thought to stitch together the quantity of velcro and pleather to cover my toddler’s meat hooves adequately (even if it did cost an arm and a roley poley leg).
As he got older, There was a physical delay with crawling that the therapist suggested may be due to his ‘build’. There were the family members who suggested I cut out snacks. There was the pediatrician who instructed me to keep putting the same plate of meat and vegetables in front of him for every meal until he finally ate it. Everyone had an opinion on Rocco’s waistline.
Though I make a regular habit of second guessing my parenting, I knew I was right on this one and blocked out the noise, using the simple justification that I’m mom, and therefore, I know what’s right.
I wonder if he’ll struggle with weight as he gets older, but I’m not too worried. Anyway, with a name like Rocco, did we really think he’d be lanky and angular? I like that he adds some variety to our family gatherings of tiny men. He is one of the most pleasant and happy little guys you’ll meet, so I know the ladies will love him. Plus, by the time he gets married, his wife will be in luck, since they will probably have invented vacuum attachments to clean even adult-sized crevices by then.