I took E to his pediatrician appointment today. His last one was a few days post-apocalypse, and C took care of that one. Nothing drastic, nothing urgent today, but I cant help feeling judged every time I go in there.
And no, I don't think it's the doctor--I think it's the crazy in my head interpreting everything the worst possible way. For example, when the nurse told me to take off E's clothes, she said, "Get him down to his . . . Pull Up?" Uh, no. That would be his diaper. I HAVEN'T GOT HIM TOILET TRAINED YET!!! (Ed: I HATE the word "potty." Makes me gag.)
And, from the doctor: "How much milk does he drink?" Me: "Um, none. He won't drink it, and never has since I weaned him at a year. But! I give him yogurt and cheese everyday!" Doctor: "Well, he needs at least 2 containers of yogurt a day, and calcium-fortified OJ, and and and . . ." And yes, I suck. I get it. OH MY GOD OUR PASTA IS WHITE HE'S GOING TO BE OBESE AND IT'S ALL MY FAULT!!!
See? Lunacy. I was also handed two helpful sheets of paper: one listing how to care for and what to expect from a 2 year old, the other on how to NOT RAISE A SPOILED CHILD. But! I was assured she did NOT think my child is spoiled, she was just sayin', I guess.
I take these things too personally. E is a happy, active, energetic, inquisitive, hungry, tall, funny, (dare I say) smart little dude. I think he's quite awesome in every way possible. He does not exist solely on bologna and cookies and chicken nuggets (although, given a choice, he might). The doctor was really nice to him, and to me, and he DID NOT CRY ONCE, not even after a shot. Hah.
I just have this wackadoo filter in my brain that makes even the most innocuous suggestion sound like a criticism. It's the pediatrician's JOB to tell me what foods are best for a growing little boy. It's her SWORN DUTY to help with developmental milestones like toilet training. I hear everything as, "You're doing it wrong. You are wrong. Too bad you're not good enough at this."
My brain can be a tricky trap to navigate.
Last night C and I were invited out on a boat cruise of the Niagara River. I knew the couple who invited us, had met another couple there before, and was introduced to the fourth couple as they arrived. It was a gorgeous night to be out on a boat. I was only a little envious of those Coronas everyone was enjoying.
Anyway it turned out the final couple were the parents of one of my brother's closest friends. This is the nature of Buffalo: everyone here either knows, knows of, or is related/somehow connected to everyone else. It gets a tad claustrophobic at times. But anyway, this woman came over to me and asked if this was my 2nd pregnancy. No, I replied, my third. Now, the other woman I'd met a month or two after E was born, and she immediately looked puzzled. I could imagine her calculating the math on an invisible chalkboard over her head. And so I told them about Calla.
"How awful. I'm so sorry," they said. And this was my reply: "Thanks. It was the most awful thing that's happened to me, to us. But, it's our life, it's part of our life and here we are. When I found out I was pregnant again only 2 months later, I was shocked and, well, shocked, but here we are." And that's my truth. Calla is part of our lives, and will always be. She was our second, our only daughter, and this one's number three, our second son. No matter what, come what may, que sera sera.
So I started thinking about how this conversation's going to go for the rest of my life. Calla is my treasure, my secret, my heart's precious jewel. I can share her if I choose. Someday I'll meet someone who only knows me as the mother of two boys (universe willing fingers crossed hold my breath counting chickens?). Years from now new acquaintances won't know I was pregnant three times in three years. And I will tell them, or I won't. Will they be worthy of knowing my story, of hearing about my treasure? Maybe. If they're lucky.