Adventures in Parenting #37: Nine Months In

This weekend the King Baby took another step toward becoming the King Toddler with the celebration of his ninth month on earth. I say "celebration" but really we sent him to visit his grandparents because Lindsey had work to do and I really, really needed to see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Lack of celebration aside, we crossed the vaunted nine month mark and with it came the all-important nine month check up.


For the uninitiated, new children have to go in for a series of doctor's appointments over the first two years of their lives in order to make sure that they get all the vaccines they need and aren't, like, growing a tail or anything. I wrote about the first visit and it was AWFUL for literally all parties involved, especially the nurse who I had to punch after she inflicted so much pain on my best buddy. Babies go in after months two, four, six, nine, and 12 and then I'm not sure where it goes from there. Probably they'll surprise us and make us bring him in for shots once a week just for kicks. Anyway, I had been told the good thing about the nine month checkup is that the baby doesn't have to get any shots and therefore does not hate his life for three days. Yay! The downside to this appointment, however, is the evaluation beforehand.


We received this stack of papers in the mail last week with a letter asking us to complete the information before coming to our appointment. It started off with the basics: name, date of birth, social security number, etc. Then things got serious.

"Do you have any concerns about your child's development?" Well no, we don't really, he seems pretty solid.

"Does your child crawl?" Well, no, not exactly. I mean, he does the army crawl thing but he hasn't quite mastered the art of getting his knees underneath him yet.

(At this point you start to feel like the packet of paper is judging you and cutting off your answers mid-sentence.)

"Does your child try to pull himself up to stand on his own?" Well, once or twice he sta---

"Does your child pick up finger foods and put them into his mouth?" I don't guess we've even tri---

"Can your child say at least three distinct words?" Oh now you're just messing with us!

Up to this point in Cooper's life, Lindsey and I have done a very good job of not comparing him to other babies or getting too caught up on the developmental milestones. He's been a little behind here and there but I usually chalk these issues up to his abnormally large head which made it difficult for him to sit up on his own without tumbling over like an upside down Weeble and thus, a slight delay. But now we're getting down to the nitty gritty. Kids Cooper's age are crawling all over the place, they're working on standing up on their own, they're learning how to play chess, they're smoking clove cigarettes...I mean, it's a brave new world for these kids and Cooper's pretty much content to army crawl and wrestle with his giant stuffed monkey (which is, by the way, the cutest thing in the entire world). All of these things I can handle without insecurity or freaking out but now he's supposed to be saying three distinct words??? No, I refuse to accept this. I draw the developmentally delayed line at actual human speech at nine months. You take it back, judgmental packet of paper, or I shall throw you into the fireplace and leave you there forever because I can't figure out how to turn on the fireplace in this new house that we've owned for 18 months so maybe we should filling out a packet of information on my development.

Begrudgingly, we acquiesced to the demands of the judgmental packet of paper and filled out the requested information with as little insecurity as we could manage, and headed into this one glorious check up in which the King Baby would not have to be stuck with needles. Our doctor, who I should mention once again is terrific, thumbed through the paperwork, assured us our kid was just fine in spite of what that blasted paper might have indicated, and sent us on our way. Except for one last thing, of course, and that would be the blood sample. Nooooo!!! We thought we were going to get out of this easy but instead we just traded a shot for a finger prick and that awful collecting method wherein the nurse literally wrings out his finger like she's Seymour trying to feed Audrey II until she had enough blood to reanimate a corpse. I am both proud and embarrassed to report that Cooper handled this event SIGNIFICANTLY better than I did. He fussed but didn't cry, I curled up in a ball in the corner. I can't handle that kind of blood, you guys. Actually it's not so much the blood as it is the method of acquiring that blood. I'm getting lightheaded just thinking about it. Gross. So gross.

After it was all over, the sadist nurse strapped a band-aid around the GAPING HOLE SHE HAD JUST PUNCTURED INTO MY SON'S FINGER, then had to come back with another band-aid to hold the first one in place. This mass of fabric was, of course, incredibly interesting to Coop who immediately put his finger directly into his mouth and had the bandage pulled off entirely within five minutes. So now if the next packet of paper asks me, "Can your child pull a bloody band-aid off his finger using only his mouth?" I will be able to answer confidently.


Weebles wobble but they don't fall down, Brian