Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Playing Doctor

So Olive had her fourth doctor’s appointment yesterday. We were looking forward to two big events (only a parent considers a routine Doctor’s appointment a “big event” – sometimes I want to punch myself in the face) at this appointment. One, Olive would be getting weighted and measured and we were hoping that she would finally break double digits. She was exactly 9 pounds at her 2-month appointment. Yes, she is skinny. We know. Been through this. Two, Olive was going to get her second round of vaccinations.

The doctor is both a routine experience and an exciting one. The first time you go is usually within a week of the baby being born or a few days after leaving the hospital. At this point, you have no idea what you are doing and are eager to ask a professional questions like; Is she really supposed to poop this often? Is her poop really supposed to look like this? How do I know that she is eating enough? Do I really need to watch her ALL the time? Things like that. Really, if everything is moving along normally, it is just an introduction with you and the Doctor. You then meet again at one month, where you basically ask the same exact questions. At each appointment the baby gets weighed and measured. They write the results in a little blue book that you need to keep track of and take to each appointment. You will inevitable misplace this blue book and have to run around looking for it, just knowing you are going to be late for the appointment. Really, a little blue book? We can't put this on the interweb or something yet?

The two month appointment is a biggy, cause it is the time when the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends getting the first dose of a lot of vaccinations. At two months, Olive got three injections and one orally administered vaccination. Needless to say this is quite unpleasant for the child and the parent. It is however, in a lab rat kind of way, a little fascinating to watch your child’s reaction to being pricked with a needle for the first time. Now, hear me out. As adults, or even as children, when we go in to get a shot, we know what is coming. There is going to be a prick, and a little pain. We can try to distract ourselves, but we know it will pinch. Olive, however, has no idea what she is in for. So the needle goes in, and she doesn’t really react for a beat or two. Then her face transforms from confused, to shocked, to really really sad. She really couldn’t prepare herself because she has never felt that before.

Now, my wife and I have decided to follow the AAFP and AAP recommended schedule of vaccinations. This is not a decision without some controversy. There are intelligent, well-meaning, and passionate opinions on both sides of this issue (see here, here, and here for some fairly interesting takes on the controversy). But we have come down on one side. We think that vaccinating our daughter, and doing it on the recommended schedule is the correct decision for our family. The AAFP, the AAP, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approve the schedule we are on, and they do so for a reason. These are some pretty nasty diseases that we are trying to prevent here. I mean, the measles really suck. Rotovirus is a leading cause of childhood death in developing countries. That is not to say that some of the reported side effects aren't shocking as well. The medical community can and has gotten things terrible wrong in the past...we are hedging our bets that they get this one right. I’m sure each parent has to make their own decision, and as along as it is an informed one, I can not argue with it. Being a parent requires you to make lots of decisions like this.

So, that brings us to the four month appointment. Olive weighed in at 11 pounds, 8 ounces. And I fed her a hefty, 6 ounce bottle about 45 minutes before that weigh in. She is, shall we say, petite. But she has gained 2.5 pounds since her two month appointment and is steadily following the little 10th percentile line on the weight chart and about the 75th percentile line on the length chart. If that holds, I think she is going to be about 5’10” and 65 pounds as an adult. Being light as a feather may have some advantages though. Less weight to move around. Our doctor said that Olive is “quite mature.” She is sleeping well. Taking naps. Rolling over. Holding her head up well. And supporting her weight on her legs. She is even pushing herself forward a bit when she is on her tummy. She is a genius. As soon as they name a site for the 2028 Olympics, I’m booking a hotel room.

She took the second round of vaccinations like a champ. She didn’t enjoy it, of course, but after a few screams she was in mommy’s arms and had calmed down. She even smiled and played with me when we got home. So all in all, not a bad little day playing doctor. Now we have two more months to lose our little blue book, prepare Olive for another round of needles, and fatten her up.

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