I accidentally wrote Abby’s 12-month doctor visit on the calendar for this month instead of next month. When I realized my mistake, I was a little disappointed that our actual visit was a whole month later. Our family has been blessed with good health, so all of the doctor’s visits we have ever had have been routine wellness check-ups. Under these circumstances, I love going to the doctor!
Except for the vaccine shots, I especially enjoy Abby’s well-child visits. They usually come right as I’ve gotten worked up about something I’ve read in What to Expect: The First Year or Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and our unflappable pediatrician can talk me down off the cliff. (Just a side note about our doc– I chose him because I knew his family: four rough-and-tumble boys and a wife who is one of the most good-natured, laid-back moms that I have met. I figured the father of that household would have great practical perspective on child-rearing, and he does.)
Dr. B. asks a few routine questions about Abby’s eating habits and developmental milestones, and he conducts a quick physical exam: rotating Abby’s legs, peeking into her ears and mouth, nodding approvingly at her abundant rolls. He lets me see her plots on the growth charts and then asks if I have any questions. I always do.
“Are you worried that Abby takes three to four short naps during the day rather than two long ones? Dr. Weissbluth says that anything less than 45 minutes is not restorative sleep.”
“No, she’s fine.”
“Should I be worried that she seems reluctant to eat table foods?”
“No, that’s common with breastfed babies.”
“Should I be concerned that she doesn’t have teeth yet?”
“That she was slow to crawl?”
“That she picks up small items off of the floor and puts them in her mouth? I try to sweep every day, but sometimes–”
“That sometimes I put her in her high chair and let her eat a cracker even when it is not meal time because I need her to be contained and content while I empty the dishwasher?”
“That I have not been taking her to baby story time at the library?”
“That she is not demonstrating any sense of rhythm when she tries to dance to Johnny Cash?”
“That she cannot identify the letter A for Abby and M for Mama like this nine-month-old that I read about on another mom’s blog?”
“Are you sure? We have nothing to worry about?”
“You’re doing just fine. Abby is growing and developing at a good rate. That’s really all we need to see at the nine-month wellness visit.”
Then, of course, the nurse comes in with the shots and makes Abby wail, but she is quickly comforted with a new little plastic squeaky toy and a baby-sized board book. Two free toys and the weight of mommy-guilt lifted from my shoulders? It’s worth the price of the co-pay every time!