We’ve reached the time in our lives when taking Soren to the doctor is no longer fun.
In the very early days, taking Soren to the doctor wasn’t fun because he was starving and it was terrifying. He was a skinny guy at birth — 21 inches long and 6 pounds 12 ounces. In the first days, he got down to 5 pounds 14 ounces (the early weight checks were done at our house by my midwife who had this old-school hanging scale contraption). It turned out this was because he was never able to latch and hadn’t consumed anything since he was born, something that freaked me out more than I even want to tell you, but I started pumping and we used bottles and everything turned out fine.
After that, I worried that the doctor would tell us something was wrong. I assume this is normal and won’t bore you with details.
After that, taking Soren to the doctor was fun. We’d find out how tall he is, how much he weighs, and how giant his monster head is (the poor kid is doomed — Ben and I both have gigantic heads [like, the free baseball hats you get from Guys Night Out don't fit us] and fiveheads instead of foreheads). They’d put the tiny little blood pressure cuff (so cute!) on his arm and ask us various developmental questions, the answers to which never caused any alarm. The vaccines (yes, we’re wacky home-birthing, non-circumcising, vegetarian hippies who vaccinate) were never fun, but you knew to expect that and it usually wasn’t too bad.
Today, at the 18-month appointment, everything changed and going to the doctor became tragic.
“Like a dog going to the vet,” the doctor said.
I remember having dogs who dreaded going to the vet. Czar was batshit crazy in the car. He liked to step on me and I seem to recall always being dumb enough to wear shorts during Czar transport. As soon as we got out of the car at the vet’s office, it was like trying to muscle an entire Iditarod team in the direction of evil and death and away from twelve dudes wearing meat suits. Our current dogs don’t even hate the vet. Sadie relishes the opportunity to bark her head off at everybody and act large and angry. Coltrane loves everything about everybody, even when they’re going to stick something up his butt. Peaches just drools and acts like a stoic, midwestern of Protestant descent who will bring a casserole with mushroom soup and French-fried onions to a trashy wedding where the guests are somehow obligated to do all the work. So the dog : vet analogy isn’t exactly spot-on for us, but I get it.
The first outrage was when someone dared to insult Soren’s bodily integrity by putting the little head tape measure thing around his head. She even put it on her head first, to show him how cool it was, but he wasn’t having that shit. It’s amazing we even know his head is 18 5/8″, which, poor guy, is the 92nd percentile (oh man my condolences to the 8 percent of kids with heads bigger than Soren’s). Getting his height (33 1/4″ and 75th percentile) was an outrage but the worst of all was the scale. The scale! First, he had to endure the travesty of having his diaper removed, and then he had to sit on a piece of paper on a scale! A scale! Do you have any idea? He was like a histrionic blogger going through airport security, let me tell you. We finally settled on 28 pounds (75th percentile), although truth be told he could weigh anything from 27 to 29 to zero to 812 if you’re carrying him around.
Soren has this new thing, and I think many kids start doing this much earlier than he did, where he gets very mad. Very, very mad. As an overall super-mellow, laid-back little guy, I don’t love this stage but I know it’s a normal thing kids do. You can piss him off by taking something away from him (unless you replace it with something even more awesome). You can piss him off by putting him on a scale or putting a tape measure on his head. And now, the level of pissed-offedness he attains in these instances is like 100 times worse than any level of pissed-offedness he’d previously attained in his life. He screamed like hell the whole drive home from the doctor’s office and it was like an angry husky trying to avoid the vet all over again. He never screams in the car! Well, he never used to scream in the car. And now he does, I guess, sometimes. But you know, there’s a ton of awesome things he does now that he never used to do. So I guess I’ll take it. (I’ll also take Soren’s doctor saying she loves his hair and guessing that I’m like 31.)
As I am wont to say, kids are an awesome lesson in impermanence. They’ll make Buddhists of all of us one day.