Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Treatise on Baby Noggins

One of my favorite stories about my husband's early life has to do with his head.  J has a fairly large keppy.  When he was quite small--I know he was younger than two because it was before he was sistered--his mother, who happens to be an elementary special education teacher, became somewhat concerned about the size of J's noggin.  Could it be hydrocephalus?  The pediatrician took the concern seriously.  (I suspect J was off the charts in terms of head size).  The pediatrician decided to send J to a specialist at Johns Hopkins.  The entire B family went to the specialist, who examined J, then looked at his mother, then looked at his father.

"Ahem," the specialist said.  "Mrs. B, you have a large head.  Mr. B, you have a large head.  Your son has a large head."

So, no hydrocephalus.  Just an outsize cranium.

(Anyone who doesn't personally know J is probably now wondering if I married one of the super-smart aliens in the original pilot episode of Star Trek.  Not at all!  J's head is proportional to the rest of his body and looks quite handsome.  I, in fact, was unaware of the unusual size of his head until the first time I put on one of his hats.)

Now, I began worrying somewhat about the B legacy of the large noggin once we knew we were expecting LO.  The physics of large-headedness in terms of giving birth did not seem to go in my favor.  Luckily, LO does not seem to take after his father in this regard.  In fact, LO is only in the 25th percentile for head circumference.  (Considering he is in the 10th percentile for height and weight, I think there is some B family in there after all.  Just tempered by my side).

And a good thing, too, that he's only in the 25th percentile.  LO has a nice shaped head and it was covered with hair from the beginning.  But he's not destined to keep the hair forever.  Sadly, maternal grandpaternity seems to determine whether or not a man has male pattern baldness.  And LO's Grandpa J does not have a whole lot of head hair.  (Nor has he had a whole lot of head hair for much of his adult life).  I used to say that if I ever had a son, I'd shave his head as a child because he wasn't going to have his hair long enough for him to bother getting used to it.  I've of course changed my tune on that, but I am grateful that LO is not destined to have an enormous bald noggin as an adult.  I don't have the kind of savings needed to deal with those therapy bills.

We did discover another amazing cranial fact about LO last night.  When I got into bed, J and LO were snuggled up together already.

"He really generates a lot of heat," J remarked.  I was shivering as I got in bed because the sheets were feeling a little frosty.  "His head's like a little furnace," J said.  He then put both his hands on LO's head.

"Well, babies lose 75% of their heat from their heads."

"He is 75% head."

"Only 25%, but yes.  Babies seem like they're all head."  I reached over to turn out the light, then noticed that J still had his hands on LO's noggin.  LO was kicking his feet and grinning, completely oblivious (or thrilled) that his father was cradling his head.  But I knew what was going on.  "Are you warming your hands on our son's head?"

"It feels good!  You should try it."

Giggling, I placed my hands on either side of LO's cranium.  J was right.  This was warmer than a pair of woolen mittens.  And LO didn't seem to mind.

Now, about those therapy bills in 25 years...

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