Fatherhood Adventures

We look forward to the regular pediatrician appointments because each visit is memorable for different reasons.

We had our six-month appointment for Beckett last week. It had been about two months since his last visit. Unfortunately, he was in store for some immunizations this time around along with the other routine examinations.

What I most look forward to with these appointments is the weigh-in at the beginning. On the ride over to Salisbury, my wife and I always wager a guess on how much he weighs. The loser typically buys lunch (she won this time). He weighed 18 pounds, 14 ounces (she guessed 20 pounds, while I went with 20 pounds, 9 ounces). It’s exciting for us to track his growth. What can cause a little heartburn for me is the dreaded chart the doctor refers to when deciding what percentage the baby falls in as far as height, weight and head measurement.

Last Friday, his weight was found to be in the 75th percentile while his length was in the 40th percentile range and his head circumference in the 50th percentile. All things considered, he was found to be about middle of the road, which brings up mixed emotions. I did my best to refrain from seeking a recount, suppressing those typical proud parent feelings such as, “how can my exceptional son be average in any way?”

Putting all that silliness aside, there are some conclusions that can be made with this snapshot in time. At the six-month mark, our boy’s head size is about average, his height is slightly below the norm for his age and he is a little heavier than his peers. A bag of mixed results for sure, but we were actually pleased to see he’s in the middle of the pack at this point in his life. We certainly did not want to have the heaviest or tallest baby or the one with the enormous head for his age. He’s about average, when you look at the entire package, and that’s fine by us at this point.

With any pediatrician visit with a little one, immunizations are the big worry. It’s an area my wife has researched extensively. Subsequently, I leave the decision of when and how many shots up to her. She’s educated herself on this topic and I trust her discretion. Her feeling is err on the side of caution and space them out, opting for no more than three shots a visit. The pediatrician’s office prefers to go by the book, although the staff seems to have a mild level of tolerance when it comes to the obsessive nature of parents when it comes to this stuff.

With our pediatrician, the immunizations take place after a little time with the doctor. There’s usually some “Q & A” and some standard physical evaluation stuff. We watch intently as she moves his arms and legs, listens to his heart beat, rubs his head to check out the soft spot and examines his mouth, nose and ears. He basically just gets worked over for a few minutes. The good news is he does not seem to mind during this visit, as evidenced by the raspberries he was blowing incessantly and the pool of drool trailing down his belly.

Everything seemed to be going just fine until the doctor took off his diaper and examined him. At one point, she said, “don’t worry dad, once he loses this little fatty patch, he will look bigger.” What did she just say? Look bigger? As if there was any uncertainty as to what she was referencing, she pointed it out, making me blush. I had never thought about that. It had never occurred to me to concern myself with that. There’s enough stuff to worry about with a 6-month-old in the house, but now she has planted a seed of doubt. That was just what I needed to try and wrap my head around at this point. That was a little mystifying and something I find myself thinking about each night during his bath time.

One of the other more memorable moments of this particular appointment was the discovery of a tooth coming in and the confirmation dear old dad has a lot to learn. The pediatrician told us, “that’s one for the baby book.” To which, I said something along the lines of, “how long will that be in there?” The doctor, tossing a smile my wife’s direction, replied, “seven or eight years, more than likely.” You see, I thought she meant the tooth was one for the baby book when she just meant the first tooth was something to document. I say it was a simple misunderstanding, and I am sticking to it, but I must admit I did not realize until recently the first tooth always comes in on the bottom row. To think for the last few weeks I have been running my finger along the top row. At least my wife knows what’s going on.

All this fun and games leads up to the dreaded immunizations. While we were waiting for the shot nurse to come into the room, Pam snuck away to the restroom, hoping to escape the trauma associated with the whole shots thing. No such luck. Admiring that clever move, I tried the same and even stalled a little bit, again no luck. The wait was grueling as we tried to entertain our oblivious little one.

As if those initial cries and tears are not enough, the worst part of the shots I think is the lingering affects. It took Beckett about two days to return to his normal self. He was just a little bit off, fussy when there was nothing to be agitated about and not sleeping through the night for some strange reason over the weekend. I blame it on the shots, but it could also be the new teeth coming in. Whichever the case, the adventure continues as there’s never a dull day with this parenting thing.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.