The Strange Art of Baby Ages

10:12 PM Posted by Knox McCoy

In my younger days that were rife with a cavalier disregard for free time, I would often wonder why was it that when parents were asked of their child’s age, the reply is given in exact months? Such a strange practice.

When a child turns eight, does the parent announce that their child is 96 months old? No, silly, they do not. So why do babies get this treatment? It seemed superfluous to me at the time. But I understand now. BOY, DO I EVER UNDERSTAND.

Being on the other side of the parenting divide, we parents give exact months because WE EARNED THESE MONTHS. Sometimes, they are nice reminders of how long our little bundle of joy has been with us. Other times, these months are the metaphorical chalk tallies on the walls of our prisons homes.

Don't get me wrong though: There are some months that are wonderful. These are nice because each day runs into the next like a beautifully choreographed montage where wistful music plays, graceful shenanigans take place, and it all ends with him cuddled in his bed. These months do exist.

But these months have a ferociously ugly twin. It's like Meet the Parents vs. Meet the Fockers: Seemingly related entities but entirely opposite. These companion months are not so wonderful. They are like the Trail of Tears for your sanity and they are the times that try the hearts of mothers and fathers.

See, each month is a badge of parental honor. If I say “right at 15 months” it's because I’m proud that:
A. The boy is still alive.
B. My marriage is still intact.
C. Child services has not investigated my parenting methods.

I claim each and every month greedily, like a homeless waffle fry at the bottom of a Chick-fil-A bag.

Why? How dare you. WHY NOT? I’ve earned it, THAT'S WHY.

I’ve been yelled at, peed on and crapped on at all hours of the night. I’ve been pegged by grapes, slimed by sweet potato guts, and had my feet smeared with swiftly decomposing banana bits. I’ve had my beard ripped out in spots, been almost t-boned by a Mickey Cart and nearly brained by wooden building blocks. YOU WANNA KNOW HOW I GOT THESE SCARS?

When you consider all that comprises the investment of parenting, there’s a sense of obligation to yourself to be as accurate as possible because it leaves nothing to chance. What if the following exchange took place at a local Target?:

Random Stranger: Aww he’s cute. How old is your son?

Me: Over a year. Have a good day.

(The End)

"Over a year" could mean ANYTHING. It could mean 366 days. It could mean that it is 12:01 am on the day after his birthday. He's 16 months old for crying out loud! These things cannot be left open for interpretation. This isn't Lost , you know? PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW.

There is a moral obligation to clear the air so that this random stranger understands the caliber of person that stands before them. Namely, the kind that can keep a child alive for “just over 16 months."

Ergo, the exchange presumably would become this:

Random Stranger: Aww he’s cute. How old is your son?

Me: Just over 16 months.

Random Stranger: Really?! Please, take your assorted domestic items and various groceries and take my place in line for YOU HAVE EARNED IT.

Me: I have, haven't I?


I think the latter scenario works out much better, don't you?