We took Claire to the pediatrician for her 9 month checkup this morning…and it was awful.
Don’t get me wrong — she was declared perfectly healthy and we were told not to worry about a thing.
The awful part was that I had never seen my baby girl cry so much at the doctor’s office before and it just broke my heart. (You know how I mentioned earlier that I have physical reactions to her cries? Yeah. My heart is still pounding up in my throat and the tightness in my chest hasn’t gone away.)
J and I had expected this visit to go along the lines of all her other “wellness” visits (which is what our pediatrician office calls these regular checkups): weighing and measurements, brief physical examination, questions, shots, and done.
What we hadn’t expected was that this visit also included — in addition to the above — hearing and vision tests, as well as a blood draw.
The hearing and vision tests were actually pretty cool. The hearing test involved a nurse sticking an electric probe into her ears, which measured…something. All I know is that she printed out a reading and told us that her hearing was within normal range.
The vision test was a lot more complex. The nurse took us into a separate room where she attached three wires to different parts of Claire’s head. She then put an eye patch over one eye and had Claire look into a screen which emitted various images, colors, and motions. After a few minutes of this, the nurse switched the eye patch to the other eye and repeated the test. The wires apparently measured Claire’s brain waves as she processed what happened on the screen, and as a geek I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the entire procedure. I really wanted to take pictures, but the room was dark and I didn’t want to be known as the weirdo mom who takes pictures of her crying baby hooked up to wires.
(Later the doctor told us that this test can only approximate her vision. At this age, it is better used to see if both her eyes are within the same range, and luckily they are.)
While I was absolutely intrigued by these tests, Claire hated them. At 9 months old, she is now more aware of her surroundings than ever before, and as I have stated before, she is a very cautious (and sometimes fearful) baby. She is also full into her stranger anxiety phase, so she hates being handled by anyone who is not familiar.
So yes, she cried almost the entire time. (Except when the vision test was actually happening. She loved staring into that screen.)
She also predictably cried when they drew her blood and gave her her last vaccination of the first year of her life.
She continued to cry during the doctor’s physical examination.
The good news, as stated at the beginning of this post, is that Claire is perfectly healthy. We were asked to fill out a short questionnaire regarding her milestones (again, this was something new for this 9 month visit) and the doctor told us that Claire is right on track for most of her stuff, and even advanced for her fine motor skills.
When we asked about crawling, the doc told us that he doesn’t consider that a milestone anymore since many babies skip it altogether.
And when the question of whether she can support herself standing while holding onto a stationary object came up (because we had never seen her do this before)…
The doctor stood her up and supported her with just one finger hooked to the front of her shirt.
I immediately lunged forward and placed my hands in a protective halo around her, but the doctor laughed and said, “See? She’s standing up just fine! Her muscle tone and control is excellent! She will start walking when she is ready.”
Thank you. But can you give this poor mama a warning before you do anything like that again?
The doc also added, “Claire also has a larger head in proportion to the rest of her body. This means that it requires more work for her to hold it up, so it’s only natural that she might fall behind on some of her gross motor functions. But she’s on track for now!”
Oh, that. The big head. Let’s see how she measures up now…
Height: 26.5 inches, 15th percentile
Weight: 18.8 lbs, 47th percentile
Head Circumference: 46.5 cm, 96th percentile (!!!)
I’m still not that worried about Claire’s giant head. I figure she still has lots of growing to do, and that she has plenty of time for the rest of her body to catch up to her head. As for the height-to-weight ratio? Once again, we figure that her large head is a big contributing factor to her weight.
Here’s a picture of my Claire Bear on our way home from the pediatrician’s office. She was so exhausted that she almost fell asleep with a Mum-Mum in her mouth.
Claire was running a slight fever by the time we got home, so I was naturally a bit concerned. However, she went down for a nap without a fuss and slept an hour and fifteen minutes straight, which is THE most she’s napped with me in months.
By the time she woke up, the fever had disappeared and she was in considerably better spirits.