Falling (on) Floors

‘Egghead… has a glowing bruise to show to the Paediatrician tomorrow… [who] will doubtless tell us that Harry will talk any day now, and not to worry about the fact that his walking, 5 months in, is not very good.’

I tell you what: I can read the future, me! As Harry is now registering on Speech & Language’s radar, the Paed was all keen to discharge Harry from his list – but has agreed to see him again in 4 months “despite the fact I can’t see a damn thing wrong with him because of your concerns about his mobility.” Sigh.

I didn’t bother to mention to him the fact that IUGR Harry, for his corrected age of 17 months, is on the 0.4th centile on the height chart. I live with two chaps, so I already know a waste of my time and breath when I see it. 

The Health Visitor (community-based nurses that specialise in paediatrics) came today. After 30 minutes of  “But he’s still so young! It’s normal! He’ll improve! He’s not falling over very much! Surely a few falls can’t present a problem!” I sent Harry after her for an outside toddle. Our drive isn’t the smoothest of surfaces, which detracted from my intended demonstration a little, but Harry was obviously treading as carefully as he could. Yet he obligingly fell face-down in the mud 4 times in the first 12 ft. I ignored the maternal pangs, and left him to laboriously untangle his own feet and stoicly pick himself up – before watching him sail splattingly into the next muddy puddle. By the time we had rounded the corner towards the hen run, he was plastered head to toe in mud, and the HV was hovering behind him and asking if I didn’t have a baby-walker he could use?

It felt like a rotten way to make a point, but it was a fair reflection of how we have to get about, 5 months into this walking business. We live on a steep, wet, muddy hill, yet Harry vastly prefers outdoors exploring to indoor tedium. Baby reins are a royal pain in the arse to put on his unco-operative little frame, (ever wrapped a mildy injured cat?) and you swiftly end up dangling a retracted-legged marionette in any case. Walking behind him with hovering outstretched arms makes him so cross that he stops, turns right around and pushes you indignantly out of his space – plus, you’re bent over like some sort of crowd-attracting hunch-groin because he’s really not that far off the floor. Holding his hand is also unpopular (he snatches them behind his back and accelerates away when he sees us reach down), makes little difference to his tumble ratio, and means his held arm gets yanked hard as he falls. (For holding both hands: see baby reins, above). I do bung him on his trike and push him about if I need to keep him even faintly presentable, but after a little while he clamours wildly to get off.  

The only thing HV said with which I whole-heartedly agreed was, after observing 30 minutes of him bustling busily about and climbing everywhere with eye-popping determination: “My word. He’s a proper little goer, isn’t he?”

As I’m having a good whinge, I may as well mention a theory of mine regarding Health Visitors as a species in general. Whenever they are confronted by a mother whom they feel is worrying unnecessarily about growth, they are absolutely not to be trusted with a biro and a centile chart, coz they just massage the bloody data a bit. It was continually happening with Harry’s weight chart during his first twelve months, no matter which one wielded the pen, and the last two occasions I have had his height measured have been mildly comical


because the little pink crosses are what he actually measured.  The 72cm that mysteriously became 73cm I crossed out and re-drew, but when I saw today’s effort – 73.5cm extended hopefully towards 75cm (and therefore reaching out of the below-2nd-centile blue ‘it’s ok to start worrying now’ zone) I simply had to chortle.

In other news… I turned 34 yesterday. The day started out reasonably mediocre, but got generally better as it went on. High points included getting a lovely birthday card from the wholly delightful May and H, and consuming two illicit chip butties. Low points included Harry’s morning nap screamathon, afternoon public rageathon, finally finding the mobile phone I had already had to buy a replacement for, and coming to the belated conclusion that I may need to see a gynaecologist again, coz I think my pelvic floor is… well, broken. Harry The Destroyer, previous gynae surgery and yet another period from hell have patently done it no favours. Hubby has not noticed and is not complaining – except about me not doing post-partum pelvic floor exercises whenever I complain about the perils of laughing with a full bladder – but I do know something hasn’t gone back right. I’m not looking forward to a round of extended speculum prodding, but neither do I want to end up with my cervixes at knee-level.

I did, however, ovulate this month. Go me! I used some less sensitive pee-sticks, and surprisingly, they showed a clear LH surge. I only caught the back end of it, and it was a bit late to prod John away with a sharp stick by that point (I am at least 2 stone too heavy to even consider conception currently) but we thankfully managed to evade conceiving by dint of sheer sub-fertility instead. In the 2 week wait, which I meant to tell you about but never did, I peed repeatedly in my special Bertolli Pasta Sauce mug, dipped numerous pregnancy tests, squinted closely at the lily-white results, and essentially had enormous fun self-scientificating before the arrival of the tsunami rendered the peestick action unnecessary. I was insanely pleased when I managed to correctly predict the imminent arrival of my period, after 3 unrelated and trivial-topic sobbing outbursts during the space of 5 hours.

Hubby thinks I have, and I quote, “neurotic obsessive-compulsive pee-sticking disorder”, and I’m not sure he’s wrong, because (coughs, looks furtively both ways, leans inwards, whispers) I do so like peeing on chemical tests of all descriptions. I told a piss-taking Hubby (Umm. Look, he assiduously avoids the Bertolli Mug like the plague these days. Shall we say jibing Hubby instead?) last week that ‘using peesticks is so interesting! They tell you something about yourself!”

There was a long pause, and a contemplative stare before he replied.

“Yes. In your case, I think they certainly do…”

16 Responses

  1. Oh, poor Harry, in the mud (although I suspect he minded much less than you did)! I am getting really very irritated with your health care providers and would really like to give them a good shake and throttle while exclaiming, “Will you just *listen* to the lady already!” Since I am just an onlooker half a world away, I can only begin to imagine how you, his actual mother, feel about their dismissiveness. Grrr!

    I didn’t experience any noticeable problems with my “floor” except immediately postpartum, but when I got pregnant again (about 15 months later), long before the weight of any internal contents could really justify it, things went all to hell. Nothing quite like peeing yourself when throwing up from morning sickness. So, yes, do get it checked out in case those pee stick lines show up (I hope they do!).

  2. Also sending kisses to Harry in the mud. I am outraged at the fudged up charts, what a bloody nerve! Good luck with the other floor work too…

  3. Ah, they try to do that with Naan. Except that she’s still in negative percentiles for weight.

    She’s as healthy as can be, it’s just like a sig percentage of ex IUGR’ers, she’s going to be titchy.


  4. Am I being particularly dim but could someone please explain to me the point of a Health Visitor or Mothercraft Nurse that collects data on baby/toddler development and then writes something completely different on the chart? Am I missing something that is obviously taught at Fudge the Data School? And of what possible use could it be…that crap number? Renders the whole “here to help’scenario meaningless. Please explain.

  5. They’re trying to make it look like he’s doing better than he is so that that state/province/county/city doesn’t have to spend money on that child for special services that they probably have to outsource to a big city in another district. The big city in another district already gets more fundage from the government and it probably affects the health worker’s salary in some way. I am a healthcare worker, but in the US, so I work for a private firm, not the government. I wouldn’t work for the U.S. government for all the money in China. They don’t provide epidurals for their customers/employees. Or a lot of other things considered to be standard care.

  6. You know how I talk to my insurance company? All the incoherent raging and spluttering? That’s going on in my head right now on your behalf. I mean, WTF? Altering data? Is that even LEGAL? My mind boggles.

    Happy Belated Birthday! I was going to get you a new pelvic floor but they were all out. Sorry.

  7. Yes Happy Birthday! And your other posters have it exactly right. I have worked in this field here in the US and certain measurements and data will trigger certain other things to happen, more visits, more interventions. It sounds as if your worker is fudging the data because in her judgment Harry is fine. But that is the point of objective data, isn’t it? To trigger more investigation, when all other subjective data seems to indicate everything is well? I would use this chart and take it to her superiors and see if remeasuring Harry by his doctor does not trigger some bells, and qualify him for some testing, etc.
    Good luck.

  8. What’s the point of measuring a child if they are going to massage the results? I would do what Melissia said and take the chart to her superiors.

    Belated Happy Birthday. Oh to be 34 again…!

    John almost confiscated my HPTs last month, such is my pee stick addiction. I will have to find a good hiding place for them this month.

  9. I’m soooo late with the birthday-ness. Sorry, babe and happy one. Also, you’re younger than I am which will indeed taint our friendship. Just so you know.

    HVs can be good or bad – I had a great one at home, a crap one at the hospital. If it’s any help at all – after having been around Harry he’s a little doll. And yes, he does fall down a lot. This isn’t me about to massage the problem away, here. I’m just validating what you have seen. He’s a real tumbler, your little guy, and luckily he’s easy-going about it. We had people dismissing our problems when the twins fell off the growth charts, which drove me mad. Tell them the charts prove nothing besides what they’re letting you down on.

  10. Happy Belated Birthday! [Mine is tomorrow, although I officially quit celebrating ’em, oh about 5 yrs ago ;-)!]
    I don’t have any great assvice for ya re: poor Harry’s mobility problems; I guess ya gotta work the system you got?!?

  11. I have no advice on navigating the whole health visitor thing. I was tortured by them myself early on when pob wasn’t gaining weight. I know they mean well but oy.

    This is very very frustrating and very hard work but you are 100% doing the right thing.

    And Happy Birthday. So sorry we weren’t clued up enough to send you a card.

  12. Happy Birthday – birthdays near Valentines are great for cards, but not so great for booking tables to eat, no?

  13. Belated happy birthday! I keep meaning to write a whole post about the disastrous state of my pelvic floor since Botany but then, for some reason, lalalalala, I don’t. Every other woman I know immediately snapped back into perfect form after the birth, leaving me feeling like the only freak in the village (again.) We need to move closer to each other and consolidate the freakery.

  14. Hi HFF – happy beatd birthday – just wanted to mention your comment over at Julie’s has your name come up not as HFF but poss your real name – given latest events thought you might have not intended that. Sorry if in fact thats another pseudonym and I will mind my own business.

  15. […] 12, 2009 OCPD Posted by Hairy Farmer Family under Parenting No Comments  According to my husband, I suffer from a formally unrecognised illness: Obsessive-Compulsive Peestick Disorder. I really […]

  16. […] He’s always been a 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 […]

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