Last night I went to the dentist. Because I want you to continue to respect me as a person and a writer, I won’t tell you how long it’s been. I didn’t even realize how long it had been until they told (lectured me). I was repentant and won back some points by assuring them we hardly ever have soda in the house. I did not, however, tell her about my Rockstars. To be fair, she didn’t ask. Anyway. As I was waiting for the receptionist to finish checking me out, I glanced at my phone and saw this picture from Dustin: I couldn’t help it – I started laughing and said, “Oh, someone had bath time tonight!”
The receptionist asked if I had a little one at home. “I do.” Then she asked that pesky question: How old is he? “Well, he was born premature, so he’s 11 weeks chronological but 5 weeks adjusted.” A brief conversation ensued about why he came early. “Did your water break?” I explained that that was about the only thing that didn’t go wrong in my pregnancy. “Because he’s a preemie I have only been able to take him out to go to the doctor’s office and never get to show him off, so I’m going to force you to let me a proud mom and show off his picture.” The second receptionist bounded from her chair. “We love baby pictures!” Two hygienists heard us from their rooms and came over to see. I got to have a really satisfying moment of four strangers ooooing and ahhing over the sheer adorableness of Ben. I know this might sound silly, but being able to bring your baby places and have people peek at them is one of the things I’ve done a million times to others because, well, babies are awesome. I have missed not being able to show Ben off. My maternity leave ended today and I regret not being able to bring him in to my office for a visit while I was out. It’s a little thing, but sometimes, those little things make you feel like a normal person. For five minutes in an empty dentist office, I got to have one of those momma moments. It felt better than I had expected. I’m used to having really cute pictures of the kids I babysit for on my desk, or gawking at other people’s’ kids, but this is so different. This time, I get to go home and be a mom. And, shockingly, I am okay with this.
Ben and I have been watching Breaking Bad while we do bottles. I am having a love-hate relationship with this show. I hate it because it every time I see that Jesse kid with his parents I’m reminded of the fact that kids from perfectly good homes with perfectly good parents can still throw it all away on drugs and violence. It makes me look at Ben and just add another prayer to the ever growing list – keep him safe, keep him strong, keep him away from all the worthless wastes of life that exist in this messed up world.
I am loving the show because Walter White is sort of my hero right now. He is cooking meth to provide for his family and pay for his medical treatment. Now, clearly his expenses far exceed ours, especially with what must be the shittiest HMO on the planet, but the concept is still the same. Every time I see him with a wad of cash I think, “hell yeah, Walter, screw the system!”. At least I’m just living out my irresponsible and apparently law-breaking side through television dramas. In between bottles and episodes I connected with the hospital about our newest payment plan. $153/month is the lowest they can go, and I almost laughed in her face when she asked if that worked for me. “I guess it will have to, won’t it?” was my reply. She hesitated to tell me that once Ben’s bills finish processing through insurance that they *may* be able to extend our payments to 36 months instead of 24, assuming we hit a certain threshold of money owed. She also said that (and this is where it got really funny) there’s no penalty for paying early or making additional payments, so “if next month you have, say, an extra $500 to throw at this bill to help get it taken care of, you won’t be penalized.” HA! Yes, if I have an extra $500 the first thing I’ll do with it is put it towards the payment plan that isn’t accruing any interest. Sorry lady, diapers, formula and food come before the hospital. Deal with it.
In addition to bringing me some vicarious SCREW YOU satisfaction, Breaking Bad is providing me with something new to watch as over the last 3 months I have watched and re-watched SO MUCH TV. I am so sick of TV, so sick of movies…and I love movies! I predict this summer and spring we will have a dusty TV and a worn out back yard. Over the guns and meth lab sounds on TV today I could hear more birds chirping. They’re calling for 43* on Sunday, and if that doesn’t happen, I may actually drive to the news stations and kick all meteorologists in the nads. Don’t toy with the housebound!
I have one of those week-by-week baby books so I can get a brief overview of what Ben “should” be doing at each corrected week with the caveat of knowing he may or may not be on target. I’m not worried necessarily, but there are a few things we aren’t seeing that are starting to catch my attention. For example, when we put Ben on his tummy he just lays there, head to whichever side it was facing when he went down. He’ll turn just enough to suck on the sheet in the bassinet but no mater how much I talk or shake a rattle at his opposite side, he makes no attempt to turn his head. I’ve also never seen him lift his head up, even for a second, when he’s on his tummy. At nearly 6 weeks these are things he should be at least starting to do. He also has yet to bring his hands to his center or to his mouth. He’ll lift his arms and twitch his hands, but there’s no control over the movement. The books say he should be discovering his fingers (and even toes!) to be great for sucking on…unless we bring his fist to his mouth, he can’t figure it out, nor does it even seem like he’s trying. I’ve placed a rattle over his chest, and his eyes get big, I know he likes it, but his hands stay at his side.
I’ll never pressure or stress over what Ben can and can’t do. I suppose if you know me, you might be laughing heartily. Me, not stress? What can I say, I’m complicated. I have complete faith that Ben will cross these milestones, it just may take longer than “normal” and may require the extra mile from momma, dad and the docs. Our pediatrician said we may need to head to PT if at his 8 week appointment these things aren’t improving. The biggest reason I hope to avoid that is, spring or no spring, the more I can keep him out of germy doctor’s offices, the better!
However…I am placing bets that we’ll make a few trips there. Even if he does progress in the aforementioned areas, there’s still the issue of his head always falling to the left. No matter where we lay him down, no matter how many times we turn his head, it always flops back over. He is starting to get a very noticeable flat spot on that side of his head, and I really want to do all I can to avoid having him in a helmet. So for the past few days, ONLY while he is sleeping mere inches away from me and being completely supervised, I’ve been pissing him off royally by forcing his head to stay facing forward:
It’s a very technical system of rolling a scarf or t-shirt up and folding it under the monkey pad in the Rock n Play sleeper. Ben fights it, furrowing his brow and grunting when his cheek meets the fabric instead of just falling over. It’s woken him up a few times and I’m OK with that because the pressure needs to be taken off that side of his head somehow.
The last two nights Ben has been waking up more frequently and eating like a pig – he finishes a bottle and an hour or so later he wants another helping. Oh yes friends, we have entered the 6 week growth spurt. Today Ben woke up from a morning snooze at 9:45 and nearly 12 hours later has only gotten 15 minutes of sleep! He would have had more, but that jackass Harney bumped into a chair which startled him, which led to panicked seizure-like flailing around on the dining room floor, nails scraping, in a desperate attempt to get rid of the 1.5lb terrifying Ikea chair. Ben was startled abruptly awake and never fell back asleep.
Dustin is in the office playing all sorts of violent video games tonight. I had every intention of getting Ben to sleep around his normal 7:30-8:00 time and then working on lots of writing. I’ve been writing and writing in my head – I’m on to something, I think – and I have been dying to get to the keyboard. Alas, the growth spurt has kept Ben awake until about 15 minutes ago. I am doubting that he will stay asleep much longer because Lord knows if he doesn’t have a buffet of bottles every hour he will report us to CPS for gross negligence.
And from the corner, the beast begins to stir…!