The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Last week, Leo had his 4-month visit to the pediatrician. I was really looking forward to it, though I was blocking out the part where Dr. O'Connor jabs Leo repeatedly with needles. That is one of the hardest things to witness--more so now that Leo is old enough to smile unsuspectingly while the doctor comes, then to howl in pain and disbelief when the nice lady suddenly turns on him!
I was looking forward to getting Leo's "percentiles": where he falls in terms of weight, height, and head size. I didn't need those numbers to know that he's unusually long, average in weight, and a tad small in the noggin department. Basically, the kid's a green bean. But I wanted the numbers. Was there ever a longer 4 month old? ("Yes.") Is he going to grow into a giant? ("No.") And beyond those stats, is he turning over at the normal age? ("Yes.") And when is he going to figure out how to roll back the other way? ("Eventually.")
I didn't write down my questions for the doctor this time--I never seem to have the chance to sit down with a notebook, a pencil, and my brain all at once. So I walked from the train to the office reciting "dry skin, spitting up, turning over, napping" and whatever else I could think of. Half the questions disappeared during the three block walk, and plenty more questions are still lying on the floor of the dark, disorganized store room in my mind, never to be found again.
After the pediatrician, I took Leo to be part of a focus group. Well, I was part of the group, helping out a friend's company. And I'd warned them I'd be bringing Leo. As soon as I got there, I stuck Leo under my shirt and he settled in for a nice, leisurely lunch. I figured that would be the easiest way to time things so that he'd maybe nap and I could give the folks in suits some of the feedback they were after.
I tried to follow their questions and give my responses. But something kept tugging my attention away. Ah yes, it was Leo, who gave a colossal burp midway through his lunch, then drifted into sleep lap for all of 5 minutes before he was ready to kick and gurgle and flip himself repeatedly (playing with Leo is like making pancakes these days, since he keeps turning over and getting frustrated that he can't turn back).
I left the group feeling refreshed by the pleasant office environment and sensible adults, but also feeling like a big boob. Did my responses make sense? Were they helpful? Was there spit-up on the back of my shirt?
There are so many things I could worry about these days. Is my kid in the right percentiles? Do I have the ability to talk about things other than diapers and naps? When the baby goes to sleep shouldn't I do something more constructive than eat pizza and watch sitcoms? Have I turned into a big walking boob?
Whenever one of my mom friends worries, it's easy for me to see that things are fine. The baby will develop, there will be more time to take charge of life later, and everything is as it should be. I need to apply that assurance to myself, too. I'm doing my best to reintegrate some adult experiences into my life. And when I feel like pizza these days, I make short-cut whole-wheat pizza rather than ordering in. Besides, if I'm a little out of it, there's not much I can do about that, so why bother feeling apologetic? Maybe being a bit of a boob is to be expected when you're breastfeeding the world's longest baby.