The Force is Strong in This One

So, we went to the hospital last week to see Harry’s Paediatrician. Either our much-HFF-respected Dr was having an off-day… or I need to extract my head from where it has got stuck up my bum. I’m still not sure which.

I told him that Harry had dropped off the height centile chart, and he cast an appraising glance at how high Hubby and I came up the wall. Hubby is a squarely-built 5ft 7. I am an even squarer 5ft 4. Paediatrician is 6ft 3 minimum, so I knew already that diminutive stature wasn’t a problem he was going to immediately empathise with. He told me that Harry looks absolutely fine, and that I should get him measured properly at clinic where they will stretch him out properly (that sounds bad, however I think it), rather than measure him at home. I told him that a Health Visitor had firstly wanted to measure him standing (which loses several cm somehow… but where?!) and then managed to measure his wriggling form at 2cm shorter than our most pessimistic home attempt – but it didn’t slow him down. Harry is officially fine apparently, teeny-tiny 4ft-11-aspirational cousin or not. He did nod when I told him I was aware that some IUGR children experience permanent growth restriction, but nevertheless his overall take was “I’m surprised you’ve brought it up”.

Oh. OK. Lets talk about his feeding issues then. Cue waffle from me about feeding strikes and tongue ulcers. Brisk enquiries regarding Harry’s recent average intake. Gentle prodding of the slightly-bulging Harry-tum. (Squeee! I love chub on little people!) Yep. He’s fine. Next question.

Ok. Umm. Fluster fluster. What the hell else is wrong with the child? Think. Oh yes! Toe-walking! Up until a month ago (since when, admittedly, the problem has diminished hugely) Harry was persistently turned-inward-tippy-toe-walking, and he’s never been left in a bouncer. I told him this, and said that taken in conjunction with the fits/brain damage scare when Harry was born, I had been quite concerned about… and I gulped… perhaps… a mild touch of cerebral palsy?

Now, Harry’s paediatrician is a enormous towering black dude (not too many of those in Warwickshire) with an engaging smile (sadly, ditto) and a cool accent that took John and I a little while last year to tune into properly. His body language is quite unlike that of any western Europeans I have seen, but distinctly African and hence fairly unfamiliar to me. (I used to sell things to people. I’m afraid I look for stuff like that automatically now.) But whaddaya know! Eyebrows climbing into your hairline, and shaking your head whilst exclaiming NoNoNoNoNO! as your chair wheelspins backwards is a reaction that knows no borderlines.

Seems he doesn’t think Harry has cerebral palsy. I am apparently worrying too much. Fair enough. Then, just as I was attempting to re-adjust my ideas and draw the threadbare tatters of my maternal credibility around me, my dear, darling spouse felt the need to make his first verbal contribution. It came bursting out, Tourette’s-fashion.

“She looks on the internet!”

Great. Just… great.

Comprehension visibly dawned in Towering Paediatrican Dude’s eyes. (Delivered mildly didactic one-wayer on having too much information and letting it worry you.) I sank into my chair, a mixture of complete mortification and inarticulate fury at Hubby’s blatant betrayal.

TPD never even saw Harry walk, but impressed upon me gravely that Harry is really only 14 months old. He is doing, apparently, Very Well. Thou Shalt Not Compare Thy Child To Other Children! Wobbliness is Allowed. I nodded meekly, and whilst TPD scribbled in his notes (‘Paranoid mother with internet connection. Disregard her every word in future’) murmured with ever-decreasing-vocal-volume something about it being difficult to forget about someone telling you your child might have suffered brain damage, mutter mutter, and taken all in all with the wobbliness and the fact that he’s not talking yet, I thought I’d just mention

Incisively through my sussuration of embarrassed self-justification: “He hasn’t spoken yet? No clear words?”

“Um, not really. Friends have told us twice they’ve discerned words, but we’ve not picked up a thing.’

He enquired about possible hearing difficulties, but Harry can hear a packet of Wotsits being opened (don’t hate me) three counties away: no messing. I explained that if I hear John’s car and ask “Where’s Daddy?”, then Harry will toddle off to look expectantly at the back door – and I heard him muttering ‘follows instructions…’ to himself whilst his pen went zooming across the page. And when the zooming ceased, Harry had scored himself a big fat referral to Speech and Language.

I only really mentioned the speech thing inadvertently, as Harry is a conversational baby who is highly fluent in gibberish – and both Hubby and I were late talkers. I did ask John in mild frustration yesterday: when the hell will Harry think the time is right to actually, you know, bloody well say something – and he replied that Harry appears to think that he is talking just fine, thanks very much, and if we can’t understand him, that’s our problem. A rigid pointy arm and slow-motion graspy-fist sign, coupled with an intent stare (with optional insistent/indignant shriek) tends to work wonders for all the things he can’t reach – although, when the object in question is verboten, it does leave him looking rather like a very tiny Jedi master who is having problems using the Force. 


(Yeah. right, so there should be a comparison photo here of Harry in order to illustrate, you know, the Funny. But it’s gone 1 in the morning, the main PC with the photos on is turned off, the camera memory cards are in the car outside, and I can’t be arsed. Trust me, they look hauntingly similar.)

So, after all that, the only problem I didn’t highlight is the only one TPD thinks is worth focussing on.  Go me!

Apparently TPD didn’t hear Harry’s VSD– but he didn’t seem to remember about its existence, either, until I asked him about it at the end. It’s a quiet VSD and he only had a quickish listen, compared with previous episodes of lengthy minutes of listening (before summoning the ubiquitous medical student to have a go, without mentioning any heart issues first. After an initial blunder, we have learnt not to give that particular game away.) so I can’t really reassure myself yet that it’s really gone. That would be too good a thing for me to believe in without some harder proof.

Anyhoo, I am looking forward to our copy of the clinic report letter to our GP. It should be an absolute doozy this time around.

My fingers are beginning to drop off: I’ll make it quick for any loyal soul still with me. Hubby had Harry for the entire day. First time ever. He coped. Hurrah!

Today I spent £258 on gym membership, despite being broke. I have registered Harry at the creche – rather a dismal, lightless room, but it has fun stuff in and the staff seem nice enough. It will be his first time alone, ever, with someone who is not a parent, grandparent, or medical professional. I suspect he’ll be fine – and I will only be 50 yards away – but I am still a little fluttery about leaving him for those virgin 90 minutes.

 I have a week to work myself up nicely about it.

19 Responses

  1. I have a very good chum who’s daughter speaks fluent gibberish as well.

    She and Harry would get on like a house on fire, although she is a bit of a giant.



  2. I’m with you on the husband giving away marital secrets regarding internet consulting. Just.Not.Done.

    Good luck with the gym.

  3. 1 – I wish medical staff would treat us like intelligent human beings and not hysterical eejits, even IF we are on the wrong track. After all, you have been living with Harry, day in, day out, and even if the diagnosis is ‘just fine, merely wobbly and daintily built, will grow out of it’ (and I devoutly hope it is) they should spend time explaining WHY they think so and WHY your perfectly valid worries, while still valid, needn’t be worried about, as such, but clever you for noticing and good parent award for caring. Which is what I think.

    2 – Your husband has just earnt quite a hard slap across the back of the head. UNITED front, husbands! Before medics, family, and the tax inspector, UNITED FRONT.

    3 – Have seen Harry do Yoda with Force Issues. It is hilarious, and seriously cute.

    4 – Good luck with the gym.

    5 – As Harry has no trouble hearing or communicating or understanding, I assume the gibberish amuses him rather more than boring old English and all its silly little rules does. Will keep fingers crossed.

    6 – Fingers crossed the VSD has gone/ is going. They DO go away spontaneously in most cases. Go on, Harry, be a most cases.

    7 – Hugs, because the paediatrician visit sounded seriously STRESSFUL.

  4. See, now, I’m worried. My almost 14 month olds are more like ESOL children. You look to them to speak and they’re more likely to cock their head in a “Habla Espanol?” kind of way. Speaking? Ha ha. Hardy ha ha.

    Babies should be talking at 14 months?


  5. My son was only saying “momma” “dadda” and “cat” by the time he was 18 months and we got a referral to a speech therapist. I was upset and angry all at the same time.

    He’s three (well, he’ll be three in January), and he still doesn’t talk like he should be, but it gets better little by little. Sure, it’s hard when my friend’s two-year-old comes over and can talk like a 22-year-old, but I know we’ll get there.

    They’ll all be talking by kindergarten, right?

  6. Bad husband! I hope he didn’t look too smug when he said it!

    But otherwise although it sounds stressful I hope you’ve taken his thoughts to heart and can worry a bit less.

    I have a friend who worked with kids with “speech issues” while she was doing her masters and she said they saw a lot of kids who just chose to speak later. She also said if they had been quiet for a bit and the parents got incredibly anxious and upset about their not speaking “properly” the child tended to take even longer to pick up speaking skills. But she also said that most of the kids you couldn’t tell within a couple of years that they were slow to talk! So hang in there.

  7. Friend, I would keep pushing on the height thing, gently but firmly, apropos the long email I sent you a while back. It’s not urgent, but I don’t think Harry will thank you if he ends up 4’11”. But not urgent, you have plenty of time.

    Glad you’ve got a referral, but I bet the language thing turns out to be nothing, seem to be plenty of late talkers. But no reason not to intervene.

    Oh and I so relate to the yoda picture. Pob does have some words but the point and grunt thing seems to work well for her, too.

  8. It sounds like the doctor appointment was as positive as it could be. So hopefully it is all going to right itself in time.

    And as for the talking gibberish, like mother like son … (in the nicest possible way of course)

  9. After all you’ve been through with him, I think it’s only natural to worry.

  10. Husbands should never be invited to doctor’s appointments-even when it is their doctor appt. Damn men.

  11. I was going to tell you about my oldest nephew but I see that SIL Beth has already gotten here before me and done so herself. FWIW, Zeke’s speech has come slow but even the speech therapist said he was on his own timeline, nothing was organically wrong. And she said she’s seeing more and more children who are talking later.

    It’s hard being scared for your child all the time. That sort of thing should end after they’re delivered but somehow it doesn’t, especially in Harry’s case when there is so much to be vigilant about.

    I like Thalia’s advice to keep gently bothering TPD about Harry’s height. (Gently. You don’t want him to get all frowny and loomy and stuff.) He really shouldn’t brush you off.

    And HF? Should have Harry for a few more days for that blurted comment. Was he nervous? Pull it together, man! Never do that to your wife!

  12. Oh, how that segment about the blurted internet statement made me laugh…My dumbass husband is inclined to do similar things. He either outs me as a paranoid googler, or spends his 5 words asking the dumbest question imagineable.

    P had a VSD too. I can’t remember if I mentioned that before.

  13. It sounds… cautiously optimistic to me.
    But I can advise you that getting into the gym habit will do wonders for your peace-of-mind; it’s my antidepressant of choice.

  14. […] up on his knee, as he is better the last few days.) So last week I decided there was no harm in being laughed at again, and returned to the GP, a different one as it happened. I told him about the suspected brain […]

  15. […] had heard nothing since November regarding Harry’s speech and language referral, so I rang up last week to chase it. After a lengthy duration on hold, the receptionist came back […]

  16. Hey, Einstein didn’t talk till he was 4 it is reported, and he created the theory of relativity. Don’t lose heart! I, too, am a 1st child and Mom said I had the point and grunt thing down to a science until she started making me say the word before she gave it to me. She says now you can’t shut me up! Just chatter at him and eventually he’ll chatter back, I say. Oh, and all 3 of us went to college on scholarship and were in the gifted classes. (sticks out tongue and says nah nah!) He’ll be great. I have confidence.

  17. […] honestly not expecting much. The plan for tomorrow is for Hubby to talk a bit more – and he will be toeing the party line this time – and see if Paed takes his concerns any more seriously than he does mine. But I’m beginning […]

  18. […] a Medusa, and I hope he knew that if he had even shaped his lips into anything that looked like the first syllable of ‘Internet’ or ‘Google’ then he wouldn’t have lived to see tomorrow’s dawn. I fell in girly love with her a […]

  19. […] damn good listener, even when he wasn’t concerned because he just couldn’t see in Harry what I saw. (Neither could many people, to begin with, so I don’t hold it against the chap.) In a […]

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