Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chez le pédiatre (at the pediatrician’s)

Before I launch into the theme of this post, I'd like to thank fellow bloggers and family for their kind words of encouragement. I know I complain a lot. Thanks for putting up with it again.

They say when a baby is born, so is a mom. I’d add to that that as a baby grows, her mom does too. I saw how much we’ve both changed again when I took Juliette to the pediatrician this week for her check-up. This time I noticed that she looked around more and interacted a little with the other children. As my own mom says, she seemed to recognize those small faces and big eyes around her as the same “species” and babbled a bit. A fifteen-month-old babbled back at her as he scooted by on a little plastic car. It’s hard for me to believe that in five months (or less), Juliette could be walking unsteadily and that I’ll be holding her hand and making sure she doesn’t bump into things.

At every visit the pediatrician takes her weight and length, of course, but that’s certainly not the only way to measure her/our progress. At three weeks she was a tiny red-faced creature and I was worried about her getting hungry during our visit and me having to nurse in the doctor’s office. I was also peeved that this outing might prevent meant from napping as, of course, she fell asleep on the stroller-ride there but I had to stay awake to talk with the doctor. My questions then were about how to get her to nurse “properly”, how often to do it, and was she eating enough. Nine months later, she and I are old pros at this doctor thing.

This time she didn’t cry right away upon seeing her bearded doctor. My own heart nearly skipped a beat when he seemed to be spending more time than usual listening to her with the stethoscope. But all seemed ok. He asked me if she recognized her own name, and I had to say I wasn’t sure as I seem to still call her “baby” quite a lot. No, not all the time! Does she point to things? Well, she gives us her toys. That seemed to be a satisfactory answer for him. Then I went through my list of questions, about the next car seat to buy, which milk she can use when we’re in America. If it’s normal that she still has no teeth at ten months. I held her in my lap and tried to jot down his answers while preventing her from playing with the pen. Now I’m at ease holding this squirming little body, whereas before I worried about the right way to carry her.

As he’d forgotten to note something on the prescription we stayed in the waiting room after the visit. I gave her her morning bottle, something she wouldn’t take from me until about the age of six months. A curly-headed girl who must have been about three looked longingly at the bottle and her mom reminded her she had one at home, but not as “modern” as mine. I see another mom with reddish hair and a ruddy complexion giving her pink-clad toddler kisses on her head. I don’t have to tell her that my baby is like a (soft) drug to me. Having her warmth next to me can calm me more than modern medication. I can’t help but stroke her silky little head and give her exaggerated noisy kisses in the folds of her neck. And I don’t have to tell that other mom that the mere idea of something happening to my little one brings tears to my eyes. She no doubt feels the same way.

The doctor completed the prescription and we headed back home. Our next appointment’s in July, and I can only imagine how we’ll have changed by then.