It’s birthday week chez Johnson. Before the week ends I, upon being asked how old my boys are, will simply say: 1, 3 and 6.
I have ten days before the added complication of saying 6-and-a-half sets in.
So I scheduled a well-check at the pediatrician’s for each of the boys. Since I never took the Gort when he actually turned 6. Because I was already seeing too much of the pediatrician in the Spring, I didn’t dare schedule an ‘optional’ visit, too.
The professor thought it might be too much for me to take all three by myself, so he joined us for the fun. There we stood, five people…and a nurse, in a very cramped hallway. Trying to get the blondies weighed and measured. Are digital scales that much more expensive or inaccurate? Because honestly, doctors of the world, think of how nice it would be for a kid to stand on a scale and have a digital assessment of his weight 2.3 seconds later.
For everyone involved.
And then there’s the whole metric system to contend with, too. To think I began my life with all things metric and now I draw a blank when told my kid weighs 22 kilograms. Forty-nine pounds – that, I understand.
The nurse measured him next. ‘Seventy seven centimeters,’ I heard her say. I didn’t think much of it, though I remembered the Gort measured fifty seven centimeters at birth. Had he really only grown twenty centimeters in six years?
How long is a centimeter?
‘How long did you say he was,’ I asked again, suddenly sure I’d written it down wrong. ‘One hundred seventy seven centimeters,’ she replied. Well, that was certainly better than the equivalent of a thirteen month old’s height. I stood there trying to figure out how tall 177 cm was. The professor looked confused too. ‘I think I did that wrong,’ the nurse finally decided.
Probably. Since 177cm would make the kid taller than me.
We were in the middle of all this measuring and math when the pediatrician arrived on the scene. ‘Wow. Three. Boys,’ he surveyed the scene. Which was only slightly better than the previous day’s ‘whoa, you have a whole mess in here!’ Courtesy of the twentysomething construction guy working on our fence. Apparently he thought our family was limited to the two blonde boys who’d sat on the deck vigilantly watching him work. So when he came to the door and saw a baby, TOO, he concluded he was at one of those houses. The kind filled with forty cats, featured on the evening news.
Except, in our case, it’s boys instead of cats.
‘So, is everyone healthy now, after the Spring?’ the doctor asked when we were all ensconced in the not-large exam room. ‘Yeah, I think so’, I hedged.
He took a look at the youngest, who’d started crying the second he was weighed. Maybe he wishes he could bulk up a bit more? Either way, he was decidedly ‘fragile’. ‘So, is he up to date on his shots?’ the doctor asked. As he’d asked a time or ten in the last year. ‘Um, yes?’ I ventured, ‘I just took him in a couple of weeks ago.’ ‘So, is that the 2 month, 4 month, or 6 month shots?’ he verified.
‘Two-month?’ I flinched a little.
‘I’m not trying to hassle you,’ he countered in his nice Canadian way, ‘if that’s what you want to do.’ So we tried to explain we weren’t principled non-vaccinators. We were just…procrastinating non-vaccinators.
The Hen was next. ‘I not feeling good. I need to go to the doctor’ he’ll say on a weekly basis. But, of course, he says nothing at all when we’re actually at the doctor. ‘How’s his speech,’ the doctor asked. I asked the Hen a question so that he could demonstrate his speech.
The doctor checked his eyes and ears. ‘What happened to you? You’re all scratched up!’ he asked the little blondie. Clearly the alarmist doctor, father of one boy-child, and sibling to none, was unfamiliar with brotherly ‘tousling’.
‘So, he’s lost weight,’ the doctor reported. As with the metric measurements, I had trouble comprehending that statement. ‘Is it possible he’s just thinning out?’ I wondered aloud. Maybe the kid was moving from the chubby toddler stage to the leaner post-toddler phase. Because, frankly, I had no idea what 15.8 kg meant. Pound-wise.
Perturbed, he took the Hen back to the scale and weighed him, personally. Still 15.8 kg.
‘Mmh, maybe the previous weight was wrong’, the doctor mused. I was inclined to agree, since the nurse had just pronounced the Gort nearly six feet tall. And especially when I got home and determined 15.8 kg equals about 35 pounds.
A few hours later, Percy got a low-grade fever. ‘You’re taking him in,’ I told the professor.