Yeah, so, on Monday I took the Spawn to his two-month checkup at Kaiser. It was completely traumatic for both of us.
Usually when the Spawn has a doctor’s appointment, David and I take him together. Unfortunately, this time David had to work, so it was just me and Spawn.
I managed to make it to the appointment 15 minutes early. No small feat, considering it takes me forever to get out the door these days. I need to feed the Spawn and change his diaper before strapping him in the seat or where I’m driving to is going to feel a lot longer.
When I got into the exam room, I was told to take off all of Spawn’s clothes except his diaper so they can measure him and weigh him. By the way, the Spawn is huge. He’s in the 90th percentile for height and weight, which means that he is bigger than 90 percent of the babies his age. This is not surprising to anyone who has seen him. He is King Baby.
Then I was told that Spawn would be getting some vaccinations during this appointment. I instantly started sweating. “Oh good. He’ll love that. Did you hear that, baby? You’re getting shots today. [nervous laughter]”
Spawn was fine for the weigh in, but shortly after he lost his shit. He started crying for no good reason. Well, he was overdue for a nap. I guess that’s a good reason. I feel like screaming and crying when I’m tired, too. That’s when a young nurse came in to tell me all about some clinical study Kaiser is doing about vaccinations. She went on and on about it, while I bounced a screaming, practically naked baby. All I heard was “blah blah blah more work for you blah blah blah lab work blah blah blah fill out paperwork.” I politely declined. Here’s a tip for you, clinical study recruiter: When a parent is holding a screaming baby, she’s not going to sign up for something that’s more work for her and will make her baby cry more. Try asking when the baby isn’t crying, and you’ll get more positive responses.
The young nurse left, and the doctor came in. Spawn was still crying. She asked a few questions, and then noticed that Spawn has cradle cap. No big deal, a lot of babies get cradle cap. Then she looked behind his ears … He’s got it behind his ears. It’s gross! Then she looked behind his knees. Yep. In his armpits. Yep. Cradle cap: More like entire cradle body.
“Well, you have physical evidence that I’m a bad mother,” I told the doctor.
“No, no. It’s very common,” she said.
I still felt like I failed the little guy. She gave me some tips to help with the cradle body, and the entire time I felt like I shitty parent.
Then the doctor left, but not before giving me a list of a few things to get at the pharmacy and then reminding me that I needed to fill out this form before I left. So, there I am: sweating, feeling like a shitty parent, bouncing a screaming a baby and trying to fill out some form. I wasn’t happy. Then another nurse came in, and jabbed my son with a needle three times. He wasn’t happy, either. His screaming went to a whole other level that I’ve never heard. It was horrible.
It took me a little while to calm Spawn down after that. He was pissed. Finally, he settled down enough that I was able to get him back in his clothes. Completely frazzled, I went downstairs to the pharmacy. There was a line — as usual. Luckily, Spawn had fallen asleep in his stroller. I stood in the line while nervously looking for the items on the list at the same time. I didn’t want him to wake up and start screaming, alerting everyone in the place that I’m a shitty mother. I moved up in the line and left my diaper bag behind. A nice lady brought it to my attention. After I paid for my items I practically ran out of the building.
“I’m a crap mom. I suck at this,” I kept repeating to myself. Keep in mind that cradle cap is totally common. I’m just ridiculously hard on myself. I called David from the car and told him about the appointment. After I hung up, I beat myself up the rest of the way home.
“I’m such a shitty mother. Look at me. I’m a fuckin’ mess. What was I thinking? I shouldn’t be breeding. I can’t even do something as simple as check behind my kid’s ears and behind his knees. I’m such an asshole. The doctor probably thinks I’m an idiot, and this kid probably hates me.”
The Spawn was still sleeping when I got home. I hauled the heavy-ass car seat up the stairs and gently took him out. I placed him in his bouncy seat to sleep, because he loves his bouncy seat. I sat down on the couch and watched him.
“I’m sorry I’m such a crap mother, kid,” I thought.
Then Spawn woke up and he smiled at me. I’m not lying. It was most excellent timing. It’s like the shots never happened. He doesn’t know jack about cradle cap. I’m his mom, and he loves me. I started crying. I got down on my knees next to his bouncy seat and gave him a kiss on his cradle cap-covered head. “Thank you, little guy,” I said.
The truth is I’m doing the best I can. I’ve never been a mom before. I do a million things right every day, but I’m bound to get one or two things wrong. Hell, I’m bound to get a shit load of things wrong. But I feed him, change him, sing to him, talk to him and love him, and I hardly ever drop him on his head anymore.