Healthy Boys

Today was the day of our well-child pediatrician appointments. I’d been hoping my husband could come, but he had an offsite meeting this morning so it was me.

First, the stats.

Grey is 38 lbs (70th percentile), 41 inches (70th percentile) and has a BMI of 15.9 (60th percentile). So apparently vomiting twice a day for a month hasn’t hurt his growth. That’s actually a bit on the short side, percentage wise, for him historically so I suspect he may be getting ready for a growth spurt.

Thane is 23lbs 1 oz (55th percentile) and 31.5 inches (90th percentile). I’m actually surprised that his weight is so low. The kid feels like someone stuck lead bars in his diapers. Or maybe that’s just because he squirms so much.

Both boys got vaccines. Grey is, sadly, old enough to anticipate the shots with fear. Happily, he got the nasal H1N1 vaccine. Also the seasonal flu and the standard 4 year vaccines. Sadly, there was no H1N1 available for Thane, him being too young for the nasal vaccine. I need to bring both boys back in four weeks for a flu shot booster, so if I can’t get him H1N1 before then, he’ll get it then. Now if only I could find even a seasonal flu vaccine for myself! I tried and so far I’ve failed.

Developmentally, both boys are fine, which is not surprisingly. There was actually a _moment_ though. Grey has been reading to us for a while. But of course, at some point we’ve read him all the books, or read them to Thane. So it’s very likely that he knows the books from context. (Last night he read us “Pajama Time”.) He can do the Boyntons. He can do Hop on Pop. While I was talking to the doctor about Thane, he picked up a book. When I finally took note of him, he was reading Go Dog Go to himself. Correctly. With even some interpretation in his reading.

He’s never seen that book before in his life, as far as I know.

So that’s it. I’m calling it. Grey is a very beginning reader, of course, but he is officially a reader.

And Thane. Oh my Thane. After my love-song of yesterday, I suppose it would be inevitable you’d be a pill today. I think I miss my baby already. Thane is at that age. The age that you block out of your memory. The “My only goal in life is complete destruction and to eat the cat’s food”. The age where desire outstrips ability and ability outstrips judgement. Every room he enters in our not-badly-childproofed house shows clearly that he has been there, with the detritus scattered throughout. He does not yet know or respect “no”. Today I got angry tears that he couldn’t play with my laptop.

I found labor with Thane harder because I knew what I was in for and could dread it better. I’m afraid this is a similar situation. It takes a long long long time to teach a child to obey your verbal instructions. We’re just starting. Grey is finally, for example, BEGINNING to clean up his own messes. So that means I have three more years of not just cleaning Thane’s, but worse yet teaching him to clean up his own.

Have I mentioned I already miss my baby?

What he must eat

I’ve learned a lot by sending my sons to a daycare where many of the families are served by public services. In my white, middle class, privileged world we might get suggestions on what we should do for our children from our pediatrician, or Oprah, or our parents. But in this other world, there are all these mandates that come down from on high to try to help less educated, poorer people treat their children appropriately. Frankly, when you’re on the receiving end of these, they sound bossy. You wonder if you’ll get in trouble if you don’t follow them. It’s as though there are far more rules there than there are in my world.

Case in point.

I was feeding Thane today (actually, I was bouncing him on my knee because he wasn’t hungry) and I mentioned that I was thinking of starting him on solids. The daycare lady looked relieved and brought me over a sheet she had been given by the folks who control her all-powerful license. It was a rule sheet that said all children 4 – 7 months of age MUST be given cereals at breakfast and at snack (3 tablespoons) and an additional fruit or vegetable at lunch — in addition to fortified formula or breast milk. Must.

What a spot to put my care provider in. Defy her licensers? Defy me AND provide cereal if I decided to wait until 6 months to give him solids? Sneak past me? Sneak past them? Tell me I also MUST follow these guidelines and start him on solids, even if I thought he wasn’t ready?

I can understand why they do it. The folks who promulgate these policies aren’t bad, or even wrong. My pediatrician also says 4 months is a good time to start thinking about solids. I guess the difference is that I am given information and possibilities and expected to use my judgment. In some ways, this daycare provider and women like her are a conduit of information from our government to poor parents, saying “This is what you ought to do in order to raise a healthy child.” I am simply unused to being on the receiving end of those pronouncements, or being told what I MUST do.

In this case, it’s not a big problem. I think Thane is ready for some real food this weekend. I’ll send some cereal and food with him on Monday. But it is still an odd feeling.