Monday, April 16, 2007
One of the hardest questions about Miles for us to answer is one of the simplest and most commonly asked:
"How old is he?"
We typically pause and take a deep breath before responding. Not because the answer is really all that complicated, but because it's first necessary to think about the context of the question.
Our faithful readers will recall that Miles was born on November 18, twelve weeks before his estimated due date of February 8. Not being fully ready for prime time, he spent the next 83 days in Swedish Hospital, learning how to be less of a fetus and more of a baby. He finally came home on February 9.
Since then, we have learned to distinguish between Miles' "chronological age" (measured from Nov. 18) from his "adjusted" age (measured from Feb. 8). So if the question relates to how long we have had a baby, we would likely respond with Miles' chronological age (5 months). If it relates to Miles' developmental status, we are more likely to respond with the adjusted figure (9 weeks).
The adjusted age makes more sense in most contexts. If you're an innocent bystander trying to figure out whether or not to be impressed by the fact that Miles can smile or roll over, or even determine if he is an appropriate size, you're better off getting a simple answer: 9 weeks. If, on the other hand, you are a medical professional filing out an intake questionnaire, you'll hear the whole saga, chapter and verse. Everyone else gets a level of detail somewhere in between, depending on the circumstances.
We didn't hesitate to give Miles' chronological age to one questioner: the Internal Revenue Service. His long ordeal in the hospital is hardly outweighed by a tax deduction, of course, but we'll take it.
Posted by dgf at 8:09 AM