Monday, April 06, 2009

900 Mile Kid Maintenance

Last weekend in San Francisco, Pebbles was so sick by Sunday night that we were thinking about taking her to the local ER. She was lying on the couch, visibly "abominally breathing," and I worried that she needed a breathing treatment from a nebulizer machine and maybe some antibiotics.
I called our home practice's doctor on call to get his opinion. Luckily, when he asked me to listen to Pebbles' chest to see if I could hear wheezing, she started yelling at me, "No! No! No! No!" Once the doctor heard all those loud No!s, he assured me that she was getting plenty of air.
He happened to ask how much she weighed, and when I said that she was 2 years old and weighed about 20 pounds, he sounded dubious.
"I hope she weighs more than 20 pounds," he said. "Two years old? I'd hope she weighs at least 22 or 24."
So I was a little more anxious than usual today as I watched her weigh in at her (delayed) 2-year-old checkup. We'd put her on my parents' scale last week and gotten 22 pounds.
But no, on the doctor's superior scale, even fully dressed she was only 21 pounds. Her height actually came out to LESS than the last time she'd been in, but it's notoriously difficult to get babies' heights and I KNOW she has grown taller because all her 12-month size pants got too short and even some of the 18-month ones.
When the doctor and I looked at her chart, we could see that she is still on her own curve, well below the 1st percentile, but not veering off course. The doctor asked if there was an event at around 9 months old, when she dropped a pound in weight, and I explained that, yes, that's when she had pneumonia last winter.
As always, the doctor said she seems fine and healthy. She had already been screened for all the big metabolic disorders at birth, of course. But since I had requested a blood draw for another lead screen anyway (old house, woodwork paint starting to chip away), she decided to order another blood screen just to see if there are any problems contributing to her "constitutional small stature."
Both the girls checked out just fine, despite the lingering red, crusty eyes from their recent colds. By the way, the doctor said something about pink eye that I will always remember. You know how the school doesn't want your kid there if they have pink eye? It's bunk.
"Conjunctivitis isn't a big public health issue," the doctor told me. "It's a big public relations issue."
That is, kids with red, crusty eyes LOOK like Typhoid Mary. But considering that any number of viruses could be causing it (not to mention allergies), it's really no worse than sending in a kid with a lingering cough or runny nose.
I was very glad to be able to drop Nutmeg off to the first day of school after two weeks away and reassure the teacher that the doctor had just looked at her eyes and she's fine.
Actually, the doctor could barely get a look at her eyes, since Nutmeg spent most of the appointment hiding behind the examining table, in fear of the shots she had to get in order to enter kindergarten.
She got FOUR, including the dreaded MMR. When they were babies, I spaced out their shots more, but with all the drama Nutmeg put me through today, there is no way I'd be up for four or even two separate visits to get those shots. She huddled in the corner, she cried, she begged me loudly the whole time I was trying to speak with the doctor, she tried to reason with the team of two nurses who came to give the shots ("Why can't you use a more gentle way to give the medicine?" and "Why does being healthy have to HURT so much?).
I thought it would be all over with in a moment, but she cried loudly the whole time we were in the office after the shot, and naturally I had to use the bathroom by then, prolonging the agony of all the other patients and employees there.
Sorry, people.
I got her a cup of ice and a corn dog at Tasty Dog, though, and then seeing her friends at school seemed to take her mind off it. I hope that's the last I hear about it, because Pebbles is on about Day NINE of being Miss Crankypants, and I can't really deal with two basket cases at the same time without becoming one myself.
Oh, and Nutmeg, by the way, has hit 40 pounds and is 44 inches tall. Which I THINK puts her in the 75th percentile for height and the 50th percentile for weight. Which is pretty good, for my little one that was in the 10th to 15th percentile for her whole first year. I'm not expecting Pebbles to catch up to her own age-group percentiles, though. On several visits now, the doctor has made comments like, "She's not on track to be tall."
Now I can picture these sisters, full grown, walking around town, looking like a leggy Swedish blonde and a dark little French gamine. Maybe that's what you get when you cross Norwegian, Danish, Scotch Irish, Slovak, Italian, Latvian and German.
Can't wait to see what the last one looks like.


Sara said...

ay, poor nutmeg. grace had FIVE shots at her four-year checkup, and the poor kid is ruined on going to the doctor for life.

the physical differences in your kids is similar to the differences (so far, anyway) in mine...grace is long and leggy and has darkish hair, while harry is short and stocky and as fair as can be. but hey, they're all darn cute.

Kori said...

Points for using gamine. :)

I wouldn't be completely sure on the size difference long-term---as legend goes, my mom was the shortest, tiniest girl in her class until sometime in junior high, at which point she rocketed past all of her contemporaries to 5'8", much to everyone's surprise. I was told this would happen to me, too, but I think I got too many Italian genes for the Swedish ones to fully activate. :)