Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's a bird, it's a plane...No, it's SuperMommy!

Today was a very stressful day for me. My son, a.k.a. the Munchkin, was evaluated by the developmental Nazis (again) for delays. The Munchkin, you see, was born prematurely and for the past 19 months, I've had to tolerate numerous visits from these people to make sure that he was doing all the stuff he is supposed to do. They set the bar pretty high these days for babies, you see, and if he's not, say, doing Calculus by the time he hits his second birthday, there may be an issue.

The Munchkin, despite his early entrance into this world, has never actually been that far behind his chronological peers. In fact, he's never been behind at all. He rolled over and started grabbing things around two months, causing one of the experts to mutter that perhaps it was too early. When he wasn't walking at 9 months (9 months!), they wanted him to be further evaluated for gross motor delays. He never did really walk, opting instead to start running and jumping at 13 months, which is pretty much on target.

I suppose I should have expected it. Once again, our 18 month well baby visit ended with a suggestion that he see a developmental specialist. I don't really understand why our pediatrician finds him such an interesting specimen. Now, at 19 months, he's all over the place. When he's not running, he's climbing and when he's not doing that he's finding other ways to imitate the man who is sure to be his future hero, Evil Knieval, and effortlessly shaving years off of my life with each death defying feat. And when he does sit still (rarely), it's only because he's managed to turn on the DVD player, call someone on the phone or send a few emails on my laptop. He's a technological wunderkind.

But he isn't really speaking yet. He babbles, he lectures, he sings. But none of the sounds are what I can discern into distinct articles of speech. And this is, apparently, a concern. My plan to just wait until he's ready to talk isn't recommended. And so, the developmental Nazis were assigned to return.

I suppose that these visits should make me feel better. That with this sort of "just in case" thinking I would know of a problem early enough to get in there and intervene. But to be honest, they just stress me the fuck out. For whatever reason, I never see these visits as an evaluation of my son but as one of me, his stupid eedjit of a Mama. I feel even more pressure on these days to be ├╝ber-Mama, channeling Mary Poppins and that crazy Baby Einstein lady in my every thought and deed. It probably doesn't help that each of these visits starts off with an interview about what caused his premature birth, what activities we do each day and what I feed him. And couple that with the incessant notetaking and indiscernible "uh-huh's," and you feel like you somehow woke up in an episode of "The Closer."

And so, last night, I started upon a whirlwind cleaning regimen. Because, let's face it, nothing says good mother like a squeaky clean house. To mop and give the room a pleasant smell, I used a combination of water and a little lemon juice. I put all the developmentally friendly toys out, briefly considered throwing all of the Munchkin's DVDs away, and made sure that my son's blankie was nearby in case the mean-looking specialist with the wandering eye was assigned to us today. I also had a notebook filled with everything that the Munchkin ate in the past week and practiced responding to stupid questions with appropriate answers.

The visit started well enough. The Munchkin was his usual charming self and flirted mercilessly with our expert (the pretty one with the sparkly glasses). But then, just as the DN started asking the boy to make sounds or follow directions, he leaned down and started sniffing the floor. And then, yes, my little pride and joy starting licking it and making "mmmm, mmmm" sounds that were sort of a cross between a grunt and cow impersonation.

I guess I used a little too much lemon juice.

For the rest of the visit, the Munchkin did wow the DN with his mad skills. But in between these dazzling bouts of brilliance, he would catch a whiff of that sweet, lemony scent and once again do his best Rain Man impersonation as he licked the floor. By the end, I was laughing so hard that I broke protocol as SuperMommy. What can I say? I may be the kind of Mom who reads to her child for hours a day and makes sure he gets lots of exercise. But I'm also the kind of Mom who laughs when her son licks the floor, lets him watch Sesame Street when he puts it in the DVD player himself, and wipes his nose with her finger when no tissues are handy. And you know, I don't think that's such a bad thing.

I guess all's well that ends well. The DN just said that we should keep an eye on his speech (duh!) and that he'll most likely talk when he's ready (uh, yeah, I could have told you that). They'll return in a few months and do another evaluation to make sure that he's moving forward. So I have a few months reprieve before I have to mop the floor again.

I just hope I remember to not stress so much over the next visit. These people aren't here to judge me (much). And, of course, I probably ought to halve the lemon juice next time around.

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