Yesterday we took Leta to her two month check-up and torture session where she was weighed, measured, and injected with three potentially deadly diseases. As it turns out, my daughter doesn’t seem to have inherited her mother’s aversion to needles, and she cried for all of four seconds after the final shot. I, however, saw the nurse make a movement toward my baby’s leg and then vomited twice in the corner of the room.
Leta is now 12 whole pounds — almost a baker’s dozen! — and stretches out to 24 inches. I like to say that she is two feet tall. The circumference of her head is off the charts apparently, because they didn’t give us a percentile next to the measurement. Last time her head was measured she was in the 95th percentile, meaning her head was bigger than the heads of 95% of all other babies her age. As of yesterday her head was in the non-existent percentile which I guess means that her head is bigger than all of the other heads. Oddly, this makes me very proud. It’s as if her brain is so big that it requires extra storage space.
Her doctor gave us some upsetting news, however, when he diagnosed her with what is called Torticollis Plagiocephaly, a deformity in the shape of the head caused by favoring one side over the other. When Leta is awake her head is usually positioned so that she is looking toward her right shoulder, and this has caused the back of her head to grow into a diagonal slope. Her doctor was worried that the deformity had become so pronounced in just two months, so we have an appointment with a physical therapist next week to make sure that her neck muscles are developing correctly on both sides.
If you want to know how to scare the living shit out of a new mother, just utter the phrase TORTICOLLIS PLAGIOCEPHALY, and then hand her a prescription pad with the number of a SPECIALIST written on it, someone who is better trained with “these things.” This condition is in no way life threatening, but I am a new mother and there is little difference to me between moderately uncomfortable and will totally kill your baby.
Yesterday was the culmination of a really bad string of days, and last night we slept with Leta nestled between us. She was whimpering and aching from a 101 degree fever (a side effect of her immunizations), and I rested my hand on her belly all night long to feel the rise and fall of her breathing. I have never been so sad and worried and hopelessly wrapped up in another creature. I wanted to apologize to her all night, through her sobs and wails and half attempts at eating, for bringing her into this insane world where there are dangerous illnesses that she has to be protected against.
I’m sorry, Leta. I’m sorry about the shots. I’m sorry that the shape of your head is distorted. I’m sorry that American Idol totally sucks this season and that we force you, week after week, to listen to perpetually off-key amateurs sabotage otherwise great music. I’m sorry that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had the other day gave you bad gas. I’m sorry that the dog loves to sniff your face and that his nose is really cold. I’m sorry that I dressed you in that onesie that was too small but was still so cute that I wanted you to wear it at least one more time. I’m sorry that we live in a culture that thinks Janet Jackson’s breast is corrupting our youth. I’m sorry that Condoleezza Rice is such a whore. I’m sorry that we have to pull your nightgown over your head, night after night after night. I’m sorry that one day you will have to figure out how to pay your own taxes and that we won’t pay them for you.
I’m sorry that one day you will be old enough that when you are sick and have a fever I won’t be able to hold you and whisper you to sleep. I am sorry that I don’t ever want that day to come.