So, here is the part of parenting that I most dreaded all along, even before I had kids of my own: the part where I have to take my child into the pediatrician for a well-baby visit, and I try to study up to determine if hypochondria is a learned behavior, or an instinctual one, or just annoying.
As you know, I am a lunatic crazy person who suffers from hypochondria and, therefore, every dread disease known to man except AIDS at this point. I have migraines, PCOS, "severe recurring depression without psychotic episodes," a fatty liver, and recent possible brain damage from being whapped about the head and shoulders over the last month by heavy, noisy, possibly-lead-filled infant toys.
And when it was just me, I knew I had this weirdness, and I just dealt with it, you know? Like, when I had sinus congestion, it always swirled around the back of my mind that there could be any number of things wrong with me -- brain tumor, ricin poisoning, whooping cough, nasal polyps. But usually, I just took some Sudafed, Claritin, and some combination of Tylenol and/or Advil and/or Aleve and/or vodka and called it a day.
But now, there is this wee little creature* involved, and everything changes. When something happens to her, I can't panic, because if I get upset then she'll get upset, and then we'll get stuck in a vortex of wailing and sobbing that is going to end with both of us on the floor in the fetal position, blubbering and runny-nosed and begging for a bottle. And we already have enough of that when we don't get our naps.
So I had to take her in for her 12-month well-baby visit today, and I did what is maybe the smartest parenting-related thing I could have done: I stayed the bloody hell away from the internet. I know how dangerous the internet can be for a hypochondriac, and I knew what road I might have been heading down, especially because I knew in advance that this particular visit was going to involve ... dun-dun-DUUUUN ... vaccinations.
DISCLAIMER: I am not fucking going there, OK? Kids need shots, and the state requires that my kid gets these shots, and there was not going to be an argument from me. I don't know shit about shit, but I do know that even though I've only met this doctor one time, I trust him implicitly, because his primary concern is for my daughter. So I did what he said.
What I didn't know about? Was the blood work. Pennsylvania now requires screening for lead exposure for all children under age 5. (Wonder why they didn't do this when I was a kid, and gnawed on lead paint chips for a hobby? Would have been useful, I think.) Poor kid had to be poked in the arm four times today** -- so needless to say, I am not her best friend right now. But a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.
The upsides -- and yes, there are some: The pediatrician said she is doing is really well. Her weight and height gains are right on target, as are all her other developmental indicators. She was cheerful and verbal and appropriately curious. We talked about her feeding, and he said we are doing the right things so far, and can start switching her from formula and baby foods to whole milk and table foods.
He also said that we, G and I, seem to be doing a good job, because she was all lovey-dovey with me, blowing kisses and saying some words and just generally being a great little well adjusted toddler. Which was maybe the most wonderful thing I've ever heard. Because maybe it's OK to be a little crazy, if you are doing it for the right reasons.
* Not so little, any more. 26 pounds and 31 inches. Half my height already!
** Snoopy Band-Aids!! How freaking cute is that?