Surviving young Pantagruels: a practical guide.

Niko‘s just 6 weeks old now but le petit monsieur already boasts the length (and very nearly the strength) of a 7.5 month old. Seriously, at 70 cm in length, he’s in the 50th percentile… for a 32-week-old. And at 14 lbs., he’s the average mass of a 3-month-old Canadiani boy.

It would appear therefore that the little giantii is so far off the charts that the only appropriate comparison is to Pantagruel, the son of Gargantua from Rabelais’ 16th century French fables. A bit from whichiii  :

I find by the ancient historiographers and poets that divers have been born in this world after very strange manners, which would be too long to repeat; read therefore the seventh chapter of Pliny, if you have so much leisure. Yet have you never heard of any so wonderful as that of Pantagruel; for it is a very difficult matter to believe, how in the little time he was in his mother’s belly he grew both in body and strength. That which Hercules did was nothing, when in his cradle he slew two serpents, for those serpents were but little and weak, but Pantagruel, being yet in the cradle, did far more admirable things, and more to be amazed at.

One day in the morning, when they would have made him suck one of his cows —for he never had any other nurse, as the history tells us—he got one of his arms loose from the swaddling bands wherewith he was kept fast in the cradle, laid hold on the said cow under the left foreham, and grasping her to him ate up her udder and half of her paunch, with the liver and the kidneys, and had devoured all up if she had not cried out most horribly, as if the wolves had held her by the legs, at which noise company came in and took away the said cow from Pantagruel.

And therefore you may believe that which Nicholas de Lyra saith upon that place of the Psalter where it is written, Et Og Regem Basan, that the said Og, being yet little, was so strong and robustious, that they were fain to bind him with chains of iron in his cradle.

Nobody took care of poor Pantagruel, who was left a reculorum, behindhand, all alone, and as forsaken. What did he? Hark what he did, good people. He strove and essayed to break the chains of the cradle with his arms, but could not, for they were too strong for him. Then did he keep with his feet such a stamping stir, and so long, that at last he beat out the lower end of his cradle, which notwithstanding was made of a great post five foot in square ; and as soon as he had gotten out his feet, he slid down as well as he could till he had got his soles to the ground, and then with a mighty force he rose up, carrying his cradle upon his back, bound to him like a tortoise that crawls up against a wall ; and to have seen him, you would have thought it had been a great carrick of five hundred tons upon one end.

But that was centuries ago. How does one deal with a monumental force such as this in the 21st century ? Here are some practical tools that I’ve found to be useful, and should you have the unlikely occasion to find yourself in a similar position someday, you’ll no doubt benefit from arming yourself thusly :

I.I The Swaddle Cloth (before)iv 

swaddle cloth

 I.II The Swaddle (after) v

niko swaddled

II. Ear plugsvi

ear plugs

III. Soothervii 


IV. All-Nite Dinerviii 

niko's all-nite diner

Directions : Use items I-IV as needed.

___ ___ ___

  1. No, we’re not comparing him to little Asian runts here.
  2. His mother is 178 cm in height, his father 185 cm, but still !
  3. Chapter 2.IV. — Of the infancy of Pantagruel from Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais.
  4. Titanium- or kevlar-reinforced weaves are recommended for true Pantagruels.
  5. The swaddle is essential for mid-day naps, which are not optional ! After more than 90 minutes of consecutive awakeness, it’s time to put the big guy down. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later when he becomes over-tired. And you don’t want to see Pantagruel when he’s over-tired.

    Also note the burp bib placed underneath the head. Pantagruels eat so ravenously and with such fervour that they regularly over-eat, leading to spontaneous spit-ups that can damage furniture and carpets. Consider yourself warned.

  6. Never underestimate the vocal power of Pantagruels. Even if their cries don’t impact you emotionally and drain you that way, you wouldn’t stand next to the speakers at an AC/DC concert, would you ?
  7. A.k.a. “pacifier.” This is a deadly weapon in the fight against the supercharged appetite of the Pantagruel. There are some orthodontic concerns that may crop up from over-use, but these are mostly to be addressed later in childhood. Basically, get them off by age 2 and you’re golden. So in the early stages of infancy, go for it !
  8. When nothing else works, the tit does.

8 thoughts on “Surviving young Pantagruels: a practical guide.

  1. cazalla says:

    A swaddle works great while they’re immobile and lack motor control, but once they gain that, you’ll enjoy an array of houdini’s finest acts all hours of the night. Might be an idea to check out something like swaddle up for when that begins to occur.

    Oh yeah, the sleeping bags which zip from the top down are best given little hands and fingers manage to find their way to unzipping things too.

    • Pete D. says:

      Hm ? Pantagruel isn’t immobile. Far from it. Though I’ll admit that his motor control isn’t terribly impressive, he lacks nothing in terms of vigour.

      And your zipper orientation recommendation is duly noted. Cheers.

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  4. […] counting at home, that’s two-for-two! This one came in at an impressive 59 cm in length, exactly the same as his Pantagruelean older brother, but a one-upping 10 lbs 6 oz in birth weight. Damn! Also, as you can also see in the photo above, […]

  5. […] own pantagruel is currently 110cm tall at 38 months of age. That’s… big! At this rate he’ll be, […]

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