I held my head up for the first time at eighteen and a half months and the doctors gawked at the strength of my neck. My head accounted for two-thirds of my body weight. My older brother Jeff made fun of me mercilessly, calling me witty things like ‘Big-head’ and ‘Giant-head.’
My head was a bit less wobbly by the time I got to elementary school. The kids called me things like three-eyes on account of my eye-patch and bifocal glasses or alfalfa on account of me liking alfalfa sprouts.
Overall though, aside from being the last one chosen for dodgeball, my head-size did not stir comments.
And then, in 1985, the movie Mask came out. Mask was about a kid named Rocky who had a skull deformity causing a huge head. He also collected baseball cards. Instantly, I went from four-eyes (I lost the patch after Kindergarten) to Rocky.
Me, not realizing there was a new movie out, figured the kids thought my math skills were somewhat akin to a boxing champion’s skills. They’d yell, ‘Hey look, it’s Rocky from the movie’ from across the schoolyard and I’d smile and raise my hands in a muscle/victory pose. Sometimes I’d even throw a punch or two.
Zach tumbled into this world with his mom’s constitution and his dad’s cranium. In nine months, his height/weight/head circumference percentile scores climbed from 4/3/20 to 18/14/116.
I explained to the doctor that she probably didn’t understand percentiles if she gave Zach a score over 100. She explained that I probably didn’t understand just how big Zach’s head was if I thought traditional percentile scores could do it justice.
Six month shirts still fit him, but we couldn’t get them over his head, so we gave them a snip at the neck.
His head size demands a unique crawling style. Zach sees something far off that he wants.
He lays his head on the floor, skids his cheek against the carpet as he pushes forward with his toes, picks up his head to check his progress, and starts the process over again.
We taught him to alternate crawling cheeks to symmetrically rug burn each side of his face.
He’s a smart boy.
It was a full year later when I saw Mask and learned that the kids were making fun of me the whole time. Crestfallen, I decided to wear my baseball hats extra tight to shrink my head to a more normal size.
I was fifteen before I realized that I was just stretching the hats.