The Number Games

2+3+1=6 , 6×4=24 Boom!
I never really liked math very much. In school, when the mathematical concepts became more difficult than anything you could use in the game “24” (+, -, x, ÷), I decided it wasn’t really for me. But, I was really good at 24. 
Anyway, it continues to amaze me, the ways that becoming a mom changes you. Not that I spend my days building matrices or calculating the speed of a moving train that arrives in Boston at 7pm. But, I do spend a lot of time thinking and talking in numbers.
It started on Charlie’s birthday. I can’t really think of many other times in my life – if any at all – that I remember exactly where I was, exactly what I was doing and exactly what I was thinking, down to the minute. Maybe on 9/11, but even that is more of a general “I remember where I was what I heard/saw…”
But, from the time it happened until forever, I will always remember where I was, what I was doing and what I was thinking at 3:41 pm on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. I was laying in a hospital bed, exhausted, giving one last push, thinking  Jesus H. Christ if this kid doesn’t get out of me now someone needs to just shoot me. Charlie sprung free at 3:42, after 36 hours in labor, 16 hours at the hospital and 1 hour of pushing. He was 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 21 inches long at birth – the baseline for his growth curve for the next 18 years.

Every doctors appointment revolves around the pounds, ounces and inches, to make sure he is on track with his growth. While I wasn’t one for graphs and charts in high school, the following bares a lot of importance to me. Still, I don’t need to reference it to tell you that Charlie was 14 pounds 1 ounce and 25.5 inches long at this last appointment.

Who would have thought, a real-life use for charts and graphs beyond 12th grade! 
The normalcy of a baby’s growth curve pretty much goes hand-in-hand with their eating habits. In the hospital, one thing I was completely unprepared for was the nurses/doctors’ focus on the time and frequency of Charlie’s eating and, in turn, the frequency of his expulsion of said food.
How often is he nursing? How long has he been eating for? When was the last time he fed? Did he poop yet? How many wet diapers did he have?
I’m sorry, I’d love to share this information with you, however, I haven’t slept for the last 48 hours, I’m trying to turn off my short-term memory so I can forget the pain I experienced yesterday, and I’m a bit distracted because my nipples feel like they have been put through a paper shredder. But I appreciate your interest in my child’s eating and shitting.
We didn’t realize the utter importance of the numerical answers to these questions, so we started writing everything down on the second day, in what I like to call the Poop Diary. The Poop Diary  made my life easier for the rest of our hospital stay. And, we continued keeping the Poop Diary  for the first month of Charlie’s life. So, if I look back, I can tell you the exact number of times we changed his diaper, what the contents of the diaper was, how many times he nursed, the start and stop time of each feeding, and whether or not he fed from lefty, righty or bothy. If I wanted to get all mathy, I could probably even bust out his averages for you.
I really thought our pediatrician was going to be impressed with the Poop Diary. For the first month check-up, I told Tristan that he absolutely couldn’t forget to put it in the diaper bag to bring with us. Dear god, I told him, if you remember anything – remember the Poop Diary!!!  Considering how important these figures were in the hospital, I was sure the doc would ask me how many poops, how much he was eating – at least asking me to give an estimate. I was prepared to point out his eating and shitting habits for each day, as I referenced my chronological chart housed in the bright-yellow folder. “This day was a little more runny than normal. And this day, he seemed to just have little squirts.”  I even thought, maybe I should laminate the Poop Diary  to protect its integrity in the event of an explosion.
However, I don’t think the doctor could have been less interested. Apparently, they really only care if the number of diapers and/or feedings is close to 0 and if the difference in growth between visits is not enough. So, the Poop Diary  was retired after only one month of existence…what a shame. All those numbers, all that tracking. I guess we can say it was not a total waste, though, because I’m sure it will come in handy to pull out the Poop Diary  to share with Charlie’s first date.
Anyway, enough about poop numbers.
When I returned to work, there was a surprising re-introduction of math equations into my repertoire. When your baby feeds from your boob, it’s kind of hard to figure out how much he’s drinking. Last I checked, there are not lines on the side on my boob that read “1 oz, 2 oz, 3 oz, 4 oz”.  You can see how this might make it difficult to try to figure out how many ounces of milk you need to send with your child to day care. 
Luckily, I stumbled upon this calculator, that helps you figure it out. The average breastfed baby drinks anywhere from 19-30 ounces per day. So, let’s estimate the high-end because Charlie has an appetite like his Mama. He eats anywhere from 8-10 times per day. So, let’s say 9. 
A/B = C
A= Total Ounces, B=Total Feedings, C=Ounces per Feeding
30/9= 3.333 
So, about 3.5 ounces per feeding. He is gone 9 hours in a day, and nurses about 2 times before he goes (between midnight and 8am) and about 3 times in the evening (roughly 6 pm, 9pm, 11pm). 
Total Feedings – (Morning Feedings + Evening Feedings)=Number of Bottles needed for Day Care
Another real-life application of math. Through these formulas and a little tweaking with experience, we have learned we need to send 4 bottles a day to day care, containing 3.5 ounces of milk each. Yay, math!
Another number we keep track of is our baby’s age. I find that it’s these numbers that people don’t really get – in fact, people frequently make fun of moms for the way we talk about our children’s age(s).

“How old is your son?”
    “84 months.”
“Wait, he’s…7?”

Okay, most of us aren’t that extreme. But, Mom Age is different from Normal-People Age.

First, we talk age in days and weeks. He’s 5 weeks and 3 days. Why? Because we remember exactly where we were on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm. And it’s like time reset for us at that moment. But, it gets kind of difficult to keep this count up around week 10/11, so our calculations turn to months. 3 months, 10 months, 18 months, etc. The month talk usually ends by age 2. And, there is actually a relatively sensible reasoning to this madness.

You see, we are taught to watch for our baby to hit their milestones by month. I even have an app on my iPhone that tells me what I should “expect” from my baby at 4 Months – Week 3.  (In case you’re curious, his spine should be straightening to prepare for unsupported sitting, and he should begin “babbling” more. If trying to make fart noises counts as babbling, we are right on track.)

Developmentally, there is a world of different between a 3-month old and a 4-month old. A 16-month old is way different than an 18-month old, which is nowhere near “almost 2.”

Semantics? Maybe, but it’s important to us. These numbers are vital to keeping sane amongst the mom comparisons. You show me a mom that says she doesn’t compare her entire pregnancy/birth experience/newborn/toddler to others, and I’ll show you a woman whose pants are on fire.

“Oh, little Sally was smiling at 2 weeks! She was such a happy baby and smiled all. the. time.”
“OMG, my Henry crawled at 5 months! But we weren’t shocked, because he was just SO far ahead developmentally.”

If you are a parent (or grandparent) that needs to brag about your baby being the best baby ever created, it’s important to note that A.) You deserve a slap in the face, and B.) Your child’s advanced abilities do not make YOU any less of a moron.

I’m sure this is just the beginning of the Number Games when it comes to our child(ren), because the future has a lot in store. There are 2,347 days until Charlie starts kindergarten. There are only 5,702 days until he gets his license. About 7,095 days until Charlie goes to College. Which leaves us only 18 years to prepare for this: Charlie will be starting school in 2031 and will be enrolled for 4 years. In 2010 dollars, you can expect the average annual cost for college to be $126,320.32 for a public New England College.

I used an online calculator for that figure, but I hope it’s broken. So on that note, I think I’ve had enough of the Number Games. For now, goodnight, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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