Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Checkups, blood tests and crying - oh my

Ava had her 9 month check up this week and she's doing great for the most part, but there was one thing to keep an eye on for later. First the good news though. Developmentally she is right on track: pincer grasping like a pro, following objects with her eyes, pushing and pulling and rolling rather than crawling. She's a motor skills dervish! We'll be breaking out the baby gate from the baby shower in no time.

She didn't have to get any immunizations this time around, but she did need a blood test just to check some things out. Not the relatively painless heel or finger prick she had as an infant, but a full on vein draw! This is probably one of the worst parts of being a parent: watching your baby deal with pain that can't be avoided and that they're too young to understand the need for.

As the burly male lab technician and female lab tech worked to draw Ava's blood, the pain, betrayal, confusion and anxiety on her face killed me. They had to draw from both arms because she was fighting so hard they couldn't get the vein to stop rolling in the first arm.I distracted her the first time but it wasn't working by the end. Finally, the guy held her arm with both hands while I laid across her body and the woman drew a sample. All while Ava screamed at the top of her lungs! He marvelled: "She is STRONG!" Uh, yeah. A tiny force to be reckoned with who is already testing her strength, as also shown in the video below, which ends with a special "gift" for Dad.

I worry what the teen years will bring if we don't get a handle on how best to manage her in the coming months. And tiny is the operative word: only 5th percentile for weight, which was the other thing that was a concern. But the doc says she's just long and skinny, like her mom.

Still, we had been getting her to try more jar baby food, and she's been really taking to them. Apples and blueberries, squash, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, banana and peach blend: she hasn't said no to anything, although the first bite still elicits a scrunched face, followed by bleating for more. And she wants some of whatever we're eating. Sugar snap peas, rice, grapes: she tried it all this weekend. Instead though, the doc said to help her continue to get most of her calories from breastmilk and formula rather than solids until she's a year, to help with the weight.

We'll have to let the relatives know: some of them keep pushing to give her solids, as in "She'd put on weight if you gave her some chicken and potatoes." Hmm. Maybe, but I'm going to trust my doc and baby and gut on this one. We'll keep working our way through the fruits and veggies for now, along with the milk.

Each week is something new with this little girl and it is amazing to watch her learning and making connections. She's pulling up on things and taking steps that way. I think she may skip crawling altogether and just get to walking. Even in this she's all about efficiency. Again, like her mom. I'll await her first temper tantrum and attribute that to her dad. ;-) More later!

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