My birth certificate says that at birth I weighed eight pounds and six ounces, all in all a very respectable weight. Enough weight to be deemed healthy and not so much as to say I was the cause of some undo stress upon my mother. My brother however entered this world at a whopping eleven pounds three ounces and correctly has been deemed the cause of any number of my mothers subsequent health problems.
My eldest son; Jesse also came in at a respectable six pounds seven ounces. However, during his birth I noticed something that somehow heretofore had eluded me. We Clarke’s have big heads. Not so big as to having been offered jobs at a circus side shows mind you but if you took time to notice or if you were giving birth to one of us you would say “Those Clarke boys sure have a big heads”.
I was living in Somerset and it was time for my son’s checkup so took off from work to take him to the Children’s Clinic there in town. The waiting room was small and tidy. Lining the walls in chairs were mothers desperately holding on to snotty nosed infants who were bound and determined to somehow get away
It was not long until they called out our name and after weighing my son and checking his blood pressure the nurse lead us into one of the examining rooms. The room was decorated with a boarder along the top of the wall that had colorful cartoon characters chasing one another. As we sat there I quickly became bored and started snooping around. I perused among the items around the sink, took out one of the rubber gloves, blew it up and entertained my three year old son. I was startled and a little embarrassed as Dr. Pat Jasper suddenly barged through the door. He was an older man with white hair. His attention was completely focused on the work at hand and he didn’t bother to acknowledge me as he made a bee line directly to my son.
After a very cursory examination he stepped back and said “This boy has a big head!” then to my horror he yelled down the hallway and said “Nurse bring me that big head chart and a tape measure”. It was in only a matter of seconds when the nurse entered the room, unrolled a chart nearly as big as the wall and thumb tacked it in place. She then handed Dr. Jasper a cloth tape measure and he quickly took a measurement of the circumference of my son’s enormous head. With all the activity in the small room both my son and I were stupefied, he on the examination table while I was standing at the far wall. It was then that the doctor whirled his attention towards me. Prior to this moment I may as well have been some piece of office furniture. And then to my continued horror he said “You have a big head too” and without even asking my permission took a measurement of my own head as well and wrote down the number along side of my son’s measurement upon a small note pad.
He then made his way over to the chart and just as if he were lecturing to a class of first year medical students he begins pointing at the chart with his retracted ink pen. Thus begins his speech; “When I first saw your son I was immediately concerned with the size of his head. A large head can be a symptom of any number of serious illnesses. This is the range of normal head sizes for a boy your son’s age” than then pointing the pen to a spot of the graph well way from the “normal range” he says “This is where your son would be. However, I’m not worried about it because your own head size is well above that of a normal adult male.” He then points to another point well out of the “normal” range.
I don’t really remember the rest of the office visit. I guess it went OK.
It is one thing to come to the realization that some part of your body is not considered normal but it is entirely another to see a visual graphic representation of how abnormal you and your son’s heads truly are.
I have come to accept my head size. I don’t think I would make a really good side show but in the name of charity I am willing to offer my services at next year’s County Fair.