The 12-month doctor visit

It’s occurred to me since having a child that it’s a good thing the child does not know his monthly birthdays and even his first birthday are really any different from any other day. Most of them are marred by a doctor visit and shots. Today, Max and I endured the 12-month checkup and I was startled by the exponential increase in difficulty of the doctor’s visit since his nine-month visit. (We were there a few weeks ago when he had strep, but I guess the illness kept him in check.)

A timeline of the day (or how not to handle the 12-month visit)

10:50 a.m. Put son down half an hour early for nap.

12:00 p.m. Get son out of crib after roughly an hour of not napping.

12:15 p.m. Start bottle early (It was due at 12:55, but appointment is at 1:45.)

12:25 p.m. Son wants break from bottle.

1 p.m. One more break and half an hour later, bottle mostly done. Settling in high chair for lunch.

1:02 p.m. Pinch son’s delicate tummy skin in high chair. Spend frantic minute finding source of crying. Remove from chair, comfort, return to chair CAREFULLY.

1:25 p.m. Finish fairly uneventful lunch. Rush upstairs, change diaper, and dress child.

1:30 p.m. Rain starts pouring, rush upstairs for umbrella.

1:35 p.m. Place child in carseat, say f-word three times, volume increasing with each repetition, as you futilely attempt to close umbrella. Head to doctor’s office, which is more than ten minutes away, especially in the rain.

1:50 Arrive at doctor’s office, park in newborn and mother-to-be parking with one-year-old. (Hey, I never got to use it when I was pregnant and then actually had a newborn.) Curse your luck when notice mother with apparent newborn parked next to you.

1:51 Sigh with relief when you find out hers is nine-months-old.

2:00 p.m. Start waiting in exam room with restless toddler who can’t actually toddle very well yet and only wants to play with the wipes container and germy exam room toys, despite the ones you brought from home.

2:20 Finally get your exam. Try to contain toddler who cries while his ears are being checked.

2:35-ish Start waiting for the nurse to come back with the shots. Pace back and forth holding child, making sad puppy noises from your son’s favorite song from music class, hoping no one in the hall or next room can hear you.

2:45 Start going crazy waiting for the shots. Decide to let son down on floor, thinking that will make the nurse show up.

2:46 Son smacks face on floor. Starts screaming. Nurse walks in.

2:55 Comfort screaming son after shots. Head home, stopping at Starbucks on the way.

Isn’t there a culture that considers them good luck?

My husband told me the funniest story on Monday night. It was about our second date in March 2006. We went to a Persian restaurant named Ararat. (It has since closed.) For whatever reason, things didn’t really catch fire between my future husband and me until the following summer and this date was going a bit awkwardly.

However, my husband had heretofore unknown (to me) reasons for feeling awkward. Apparently, a cockroach ran up his pants leg. He gallantly squished it and sat there for the rest of the dinner without telling me. I don’t know how he stood it. I also don’t know how I would have reacted at the time if he’d told me. (Although I now think that it would be difficult for any restaurant in Texas or really anywhere to never encounter the odd cockroach.) I hope I would have thought how funny, sweet, and gallant it was of him to endure squished cockroach on his leg in order to salvage our date. Regardless of how I would have reacted then, now it makes me love him even more.

Accepting the “me” in Mommy

It’s a little disconcerting that I’m still so selfish at times, even though I’m a parent. I hesitate to use the word “selfish”, since it has such a negative connotation, but since I’m feeling negative about this right now, I guess it’s the right word.

Everyone talks about mothers as being so self-sacrificing. My own mother really was. She somehow managed to take care of three (Later four after she remarried.) kids, sending the two younger ones to Catholic school, and never left us wanting for food or clothes or books or really anything we wanted. She never seemed to get anything for herself. If that bothered her, she hid it well.

Sure, she occasionally told us we couldn’t afford something or told us we needed to save up our money or wait for Christmas or a birthday. But that just seemed to teach us patience, making good choices about whether we REALLY wanted something, and that you can’t have everything you want in life.

I’ve read so many blogs and articles about mothers not making time for themselves. And it’s really true. Sometimes I will go through phases where I just get exhausted because I am never taking the time to rest or participate in treasured activities like reading a book.

However, sometimes Max will get a bottle or a nap a bit late because I spent a little extra time looking around a store on an errand or wanted to finish the last little bit of a TV show I was watching or a blog entry I was writing. And I feel so guilty, even though Max doesn’t seem to care most of the time. I expect myself to be perfect and be able to shut off every single bit of self-interest or self-centeredness, despite the fact that I constantly remind myself that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of everyone else.

And I still want things. I can say no (Like I did yesterday to the fancy designer glasses frames, even though I might go back and get them in a few days.), but I buy myself new clothes and still spend quite a bit getting my hair cut and highlighted every few months. We’re not hurting for money, thank goodness. We can afford these things. But we do want to cut back a bit because of all the extra moving expenses. And Max is still too young to really want or ask for things, so I don’t feel as if he’s being deprived. And yet, I feel guilty that it wasn’t easier to say no to those frames. That I almost didn’t.

Why do I feel guilty when my son is getting everything he needs when he needs it? When he’s happy and healthy? When I’m actually balancing my needs and my family’s quite well? Why can’t I give myself a break??

%d bloggers like this: