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Silver Threads: Summer babies are on the way

bettyeheadshot-220x220Before knowing why or how babies are born, I was aware that most of them arrive in the summer. That information probably came from eavesdropping on a conversation between my mother and her sisters-in-law, a pursuit that I zealously followed. Who notices that a little girl’s ears are on alert as she reads her book in a corner?
Several years later, the facts of life had become known, and I was mortified to learn, at age 13, that Mother was pregnant. Did my parents still ….. ?  I rallied, however, by the time my little brother was born, I even put on lipstick to pass for 16 and get into the hospital’s maternity ward to see him.
But I digress.
I got to thinking about all this last week when an invitation to a baby shower arrived. The child is due to arrive on July 7, which is my own birthday. Another summer baby.
Googling these hot-weather infants, I found a report that “August had the most births each year from 1990 to 2006 except for six years (1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2004) when it was edged out by July, according to National Center for Health Statistics. Historically, the sweltering, late-summer months are when obstetricians witness an increase in the arrival of newborns.”
Another site reported “Of about 3.9 million bundles of joy delivered every year in the United States, a little more than 353,000 make their way into the world in August, the biggest birthday month. The second most popular birth month is July, with about 349,000 deliveries.
“Why do babies tend to appear in summer and early autumn? It may be that the sticky days of summer don’t lend themselves to romance the way the short, cold days of winter do.”
While I can see that the weather had something to do starting summer babies during my childhood and earlier, shouldn’t the development of central heating and air conditioning have evened out the birth statistics?
Perhaps I can credit that little air conditioner that hung in our bedroom window in 1959 with providing my husband and me with a son in December, and central air in a new house two years later for a daughter born in late November, 1961.
In the meantime I can share some facts about summer babies from the website CafeMom:
  • Few of them grow up to be CEOs.
  • They’re klutzy. No star athletes here.
  • But they’re less depression-prone than winter babies.
  • They weigh less at birth.
  • The females are smarter than the males.
  • They’re all wilder than winter babies, have problems with sharing and concentration.
  • But they’re optimists!
Summer babies who’ve made names for themselves in New Orleans include Saints owner Tom Benson, July 12; Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Aug. 17; musician Branford Marsalis, Aug. 26; and Governor John Bell Edwards, 8/16.
When I searched for some local women to add to this little list, I found that while the birthdates of some prominent winter babies were given, most of the others didn’t offer them.
They must be summer babies — and real smart.

Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at bta7735@icloud.com.