Maybe it's because I was scared to death of the surgery I was scheduled to have the next day. Maybe it's because I'm 16 weeks pregnant and hormonal as can be. Maybe it's because I was going on 24 hours with no sleep. Maybe it's a combination of the three, but my baby's doctor's appointment made me cry Thursday. All. Day. Thursday.
The more likely scenario is that I'm a mama bear and more defensive and protective of my baby than I ever knew was possible. It was the first time that anyone had the nerve to tell me to my face that my baby was anything but perfect. Already, he's being judged. At NINE months old!
There's a little checklist that you have to go through while you're in the waiting room about what your baby is or isn't doing. Crawling was nowhere to be found on the list. What was on the list though, was "pulling up to a standing position," saying "mama" or "dada" on a regular basis, and "walking around furniture using one hand for balance." I didn't check any of those because I'm not going to lie and he wasn't doing any of those things. There were only 2 or 3 things that I did check.
Doc asks how things are going and I blurt out that everything is fabulous! He's sleeping through the night routinely! He's eating a wonderful variety of table foods! He almost never spits up! He's crawling! He's great at socializing with other babies and even strangers!
The doctor takes one look at the stupid checklist and says that there are a lot of things that I didn't check off. Duh. Then immediately tells me that even dumb people eventually learn to walk and kick a ball so it's a good thing that there aren't signs of social and/or brain development delays. That his delays are primarily physical/muscular and that we should have him EVALUATED to see if he needs physical therapy or perhaps if they can just provide us with some suggestions for things to work on at home. I was utterly dumbfounded. Completely speechless. I felt my eyes stinging with tears and a knot building up in my throat.
He paused and asked me what I thought about getting him tested. I said I didn't know what to think, because it never occurred to me that there was a problem. He says to me, "well, then, I guess it doesn't feel very good to hear that there really might be some issues, does it?" Excuse my language, but WHATTADICK.
Like I said, I was in complete shock so I agreed to have him tested for a couple of reasons. Not at all because I believe that my baby is stooooopid, but because I don't want the doctor, who probably already thinks I'm a lazy mother, to think I don't care. (Why do I care what he thinks again?) And partly because the tiniest part of me wonders if there is something wrong with my kid? Is he really supposed to be doing all of this by now? Does it make sense that it's okay for him to start crawling at 9 months but it's not okay that he hasn't started doing all that other stuff? Doesn't it make sense that a baby would crawl over to a couch or coffee table before he pulled himself up on a couch or coffee table? And doesn't it make sense that a baby would pull himself up on the furniture before he started walking around it?
I was seriously confused, deflated, and offended. I left the doctor's office with the referral to have him tested in my hand and I think I started crying before we pulled out of the parking lot. Every time anyone asked me how his appointment went, I burst into tears again. I called my friend, who has a baby just 8 days younger than Theo and asked her what he was doing. She told me that he's doing every single thing that Theo's not doing. Every single thing that Theo's supposed to be doing. To me, it felt like every single thing Theo's too dumb to be doing. And J- if you're reading this, don't worry, I wasn't upset with you or D for a second!
Everyone I talked to that afternoon tried to be uplifting and reassuring that Theo was right where he was supposed to be and that he was not "slow," dumb, or delayed. It didn't take away the senselessly hearbroken feelings that I had.
Later in the afternoon, I sat down to look at the brochure from the place that the dumb doc referred us to. Can I please read this to you? No, because this is a blog. Crap. Well, you'll have to read this for yourself.
6-9 months Milestones/Activities:
- creeps or crawls on hands/knees (check)
- moves toys from hand to hand (check)
- plays peek-a-boo (check)
- balances self while sitting (check)
6-9 months Possible Concerns (all of these are old news):
- not accepting spoon feeding
- not reaching or grabbing for objects
- not turning head to locate sounds
- not babbling and laughing out loud
9-12 months Milestones/Activities
- Pulls to a stand (working on this)
- Picks up small objects/finger feeds (has done this for MONTHS)
- Walks with one hand held (nope, not even close yet)
- Waves bye-bye (not yet)
9-12 months Possible Concerns:
- not imitating simple sounds (he does this)
- not playing with parents/siblings (he does this)
- not able to sit on own (has done this for months)
- not crawling or creeping on ground (he's doing this)
WTF? So the doctor knows more about the milestones than the place that is supposed to evaluate him to see why he's not reaching his milestones? Because according to this place, he is exactly where he is supposed to be. Maybe not a rocket scientist in baby terms, but at least average, for Pete's sake.
This weekend, just so you know, he pulled himself up and was found standing in his bed. Pppfffffttttttt. So I am still entertaining the idea of getting him tested just for the pleasure and satisfaction of making the doctor look stoooopid. Then, maybe it's time for a new doctor. Am I crazy and being totally irrational?
On a lighter note, he weighed 18.05 lbs and was 28 inches long. He gained 2 pounds since his 6 month check up. At this rate, I'm wondering if he's going to make it to the typical one-year weight, which is 3 times a baby's birthweight (he weighed 7lbs 1.5 oz at birth so if that theory's correct, he should weigh approx. 21 lbs 4.5oz at 12 months). Something else we've screwed up on, no doubt.