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To lie to well meaning strangers when they ask how old my son is?

(24 Posts)
Snowboarder Sun 16-Oct-11 23:28:58

I have a very cute baby son if I do say so myself. We get stopped every time we leave the house by people wanting to look at him and ask the usual questions re: age/ weight/ birth etc which is lovely as I am very proud of him.

Thing is, he was 3 months premature and so when I'm asked "how old?" it is just easier and far, far quicker to give his corrected age. He is clearly not as big or advanced as a baby 3 months older.

I did start off giving his 'real' age and explaining about the prematurity but then people invariably want to know: how early he was, where he was at hospital, whether he had any problems, did I stay in with him or go home, how long did he spend in hospital, why did he come early (I have cervical incompetence due to previous cancer which leads to a million more questions), does he have any developmental or health problems as well as their own story about their neighbour's/ friend's/ postman's baby who was also premature etc etc.

I have no problem with people cooing over DS or asking a few questions, I just don't want to go over the same story again and again - not only is it a long story I've told a million times already but it's still a bit raw tbh.

So AIBU lying to people?

A1980 Sun 16-Oct-11 23:32:11

Not at all. They're strangers. You don't owe them anything and it's your business.

eaglewings Sun 16-Oct-11 23:32:41

No it is not lying to give his corrected age. Only when he is older will it mater to your son what you say to well wishers.

The only people who need to know the whole story is medical people and those need to know his date of birth

People who turn out to be good friends later on can be told the full story as and when you are ready

Ghoulwithadragontattoo Sun 16-Oct-11 23:35:25

Alternatively you could say: "He's 3 months but he's a bit small for his age" This heads off any further questioning and you certainly shouldn't feel you have to give out a full medical history.

No, I think that's fine.

They are strangers, you don't have to explain anything to them.

I mostly tell strangers who ask that our son is our first child, because I find it hard to explain to some people how and why we lost our first two babies.

If you feel more able to give his corrected age then do so.

AuntiePickleBottom Mon 17-Oct-11 00:03:12

most premie babies catch up, there is a little boy a day older than my premuture nephew at DD nursery and you can tell the diffrence...however looking at my other 11 year old nephew you would not imagine he was 9 weeks early.

they are strangers, they do not need to be told the ins and out of what must of been the hardest weeks/month of your life

GrumpyInRepose Mon 17-Oct-11 00:04:36

no of course not, hurts nobody.

SurprisEs Mon 17-Oct-11 00:11:24

Absolutely nothing wrong with you lying about such thing. It won't have any lasting effect on any of the people concerned.

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Mon 17-Oct-11 00:14:41

I did the same.

Everyone stops to look at prem babies. It gets a bit much when they want to know all the details. In my case (twins, DTD1 stillborn, DTD2 8 weeks prem) it was simply too painful to talk about, so I usually (rather gruffly) gave the corrected age in order to protect myself. That surely can't be unreasonable.

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Mon 17-Oct-11 00:16:18

NoOne - I still can't bring myself to do that. So many people get all confused when they ask and I only produce two children for them. sad

onwardandupwards Mon 17-Oct-11 00:16:40

A little white lie never hurt anyone. YANBU!

Loopy - it makes things difficult all around I think.

If I say LO is our third they usually start asking how old the other two are or if they are at school etc and then I have to start explaining about stillbirth and prematurity and they just get this look on their faces like they wished they'd never asked because they think they have upset me and I ramble on at them trying to assure them that they haven't.

Usually it's much easier for everyone just to smile and say "yes, he's our first."

RalphGhoul Mon 17-Oct-11 10:49:39


My friend's DD was very premature and she has found that if she tells people who are unaware of this her DD's actual age she gets all kinds of hmm looks and comments basically saying she mustn't be feeding her enough, there must be something wrong with her etc.

Some people are just so rude.

babyheavingmassofmaggots Mon 17-Oct-11 10:50:28

Stranger always used to assume my baby was a girl, despite him being dressed as a boy. No idea as they always did.

In the end I told everyone who asked what my little girl's name was that she was called Sophia.

He lived, I lived and they went away quicker.

NotJustClassic Mon 17-Oct-11 10:53:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flyonthewindscreen Mon 17-Oct-11 10:55:52

YANBU at all to give your DS's corrected age but unless they are virtual strangers could it not lead to confusion and further conversation later on when they realise his actual age? How about saying something along lines of "yes, he was prem, long story, difficult times, glad its behind us" and try to cut people off at the pass as it were?

hildathebuilder Mon 17-Oct-11 10:57:23

I still lie now, and DS is 19 months (16 and a bit corrected) and I sometimes make him out to be even younger as he is little, and can't walk because he has CP. Life is too short to go into details with everyone.

Mind you I still remember the first time I took him to John Lewis when he was just discharged and just after he'd had the NGT taken out. He weighed 4lb 14 and looked tiny. I got this very random woman looking at me and looking at him, and then going on and on about how well I was doing to be up and about so quickly given he had obivouly just been born... If only

Snowboarder Mon 17-Oct-11 17:18:39

Thanks - I feel better now. It does feel a bit mean and uncharitable to lie to people when they're just interested and trying to be nice but for my sanity I think I'm going to have to keep up my little white lie.

Hilda a couple of weeks after DS had been discharged we took him out for a brief trip to a local shopping centre. We were both stir crazy by this point and picked a day when it was sunny so we knew it wouldn't be too busy. I was just feeding him in Starbucks when two women walked past and loudly started talking about how 'irresponsible' I was to be dragging a brand new newborn out shopping. DS was small, granted but was almost 3 months old by this point!

marfisa Mon 17-Oct-11 18:17:52

I can relate to this dilemma! My DS was 2 months early and I get so tired of friendly strangers asking how old he is. He is 6 months but his corrected age is 4 months. Basically, the answer I give to people varies depending on the mood I'm in. If I'm feeling cheerful and chatty, I tell the truth, mention his prematurity and wait for the inevitable conversation to start. If I don't want to chat about premature babies for the millionth time, I just say 4 months (or sometimes, 5 months, now that he is getting bigger) and leave it at that.

sismith42 Mon 17-Oct-11 21:51:24

As someone who's only DC was full term, I have to ask- I though the adjusted age WAS the "correct" one until the baby is big enough to give their age in years?!? (I don't mean to cause offence, but am a bit confused now)

Snowboarder Mon 17-Oct-11 22:37:53

sismith no offence taken, the whole corrected/ actual thing can be confusing if you're not familiar with it. Basically your child's age is calculated from when they were born. So my son is almost 8 months old actual - this age is used to determine when he should start school and be weaned. In terms of development though, we use his corrected age (ie almost 5 months corrected), so he should be doing the things a 5 month old baby is doing and should be the size and weight of a 5 month old. It's not as simple as using one age for everything - I wish it was!

sismith42 Mon 17-Oct-11 22:42:35

And that explains it, thanks Snowborarder! I had only come across it in terms of baby books ("your DC will hit milestones as per the corrected age, which is calculated like this, but don't worry, most chlidren catch up at around such and such age")

MollieO Mon 17-Oct-11 22:42:54

I did the same. For months. When ds was newborn it was okay that he was tiny. But when he was still tiny at 8 months I just found it easier to lie. Reckon I did it from about 2 months (after I got the first 'what's wrong with him?' comment). It's hard to explain to those that don't know that your 'newborn-looking' baby is actually several months old!

Ds was 7 weeks prem and took a long long time to put on weight. He never got the chubby baby look and instead looked thin and scrawny and ill. He is now 7 yrs old and taller than most of his friends. He doesn't have an ounce of fat on him but he looks healthy and normal and now gets taken for a 10 yr old!

SaffronCake Mon 17-Oct-11 23:35:37

YANBU at all. It's a fib, if you meet them again a second or third time and you think they might be worth the bother you can always tell them why you fibbed at first. Anyone would understand in your circumstances.

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