check ups

Checkups

We sauntered into the “well side” of the pediatrician’s office– the toy basket in the corner immediately pulling my son over to it like a magnet. I signed us in at the check-in desk and took a seat in the waiting room while I filled out the questionnaire for my son’s 2-year old well-child checkup. It wasn’t long before the nurse called us back and asked G to stand up on the scale so she could record his weight. Just six months ago they still recorded his weight on the baby scale where he had to lay down on the uncomfortable metal — but today, because he was now a big two-year-old, he stood proudly on the “big boy” scale. Seeing him smiling and standing tall on the scale felt like his right of passage from baby to toddler.

As we waited in the exam room for our pediatrician, I felt calm and collected– no urgent list of questions to ask the doctor at this visit, no issues that needed a follow-up appointment or additional tests. I took a deep breath as I counted my blessings for two healthy children and said a quick, silent prayer that we continue down our “well-side” track.

Dr. B greeted us warmly as she entered the small exam room, “G, look how big you are! I can’t believe you’re already two — I remember when your big sister was just a newborn!”

I locked eyes with her for a moment and thought how wonderful it was that she had seen both of my babies from birth to newborns to now toddlers and kids. She had studied their charts and helped them through bouts of colic, reflux, pesky rashes, bad colds, bronchitis, stitches, and ear infections. She had seen them grow over time, in small increments, between visits.

It dawned on me in that moment, that she had also seen me.

She welcomed me with enthusiasm and warmth when I was just three days new at this motherhood gig with my daughter. She must have noticed the way the baby car seat felt foreign and awkward to me as I plopped it on the exam table and carefully unstrapped my firstborn. She must have picked up on the worry in my tone as I recited question after question from my lengthy list written in chaotic cursive.

She’d also seen me on the inquiring-side of countless emails complete with photos of rashes and discolored poop and questions like, “is this normal?” and “should we be worried?”

She saw me just six weeks into my new role as a mom to an energetic toddler and a newborn with reflux – when the weight of two under two was heavy. She must have noticed my mental fog and deep, dark bags under my eyes as I asked a little too desperately: “when will his sleeping patterns become more regular?”

And now here we sat in the present – my two-year-old son on my lap, my three-year-old at pre-school. No lists, no questions, no photos of poop, no desperate tones.

It turns out I had grown, too, over the past four years — more seasoned, not as easy to scare…I wore motherhood more comfortably now.

Dr. B finished the exam and asked if I had any questions or concerns. I had none.

“Well, everything looks great. We’ll see you guys at his three-year-old check-up unless anything comes up in the meantime,” she said as she swung her stethoscope around the back of her neck.

For a moment I imagined Baby G as a three-year-old and my daughter as a five-year-old, and me with another year of motherhood under my belt and wondered what that season would look like for us.

I smiled and replied, “Great, we’ll see you then.”