Kira has learned to hate everyone in a doctor’s office. They only need to approach her like they are going to touch her and she begins a bloody cry that would make the patient in the other room think she is having a limb removed with a bread knife. That’s my Kira. Drama.We left the house early in the morning braving bitter cold (for us southerners that is…twenties…), abandoning the soothing routine of morning, leaving behind a belly exposed kitchen, and drove into the very center of Houston. Finding Texas Children’s Hospital wasn’t difficult, but considering the medical complex is a city itself, and the one parking garage I needed sent me on a construction detour, it was quite unexpected for me to arrive in a punctual way to our appointment with the international adoption specialist. And they were behind because of the weather. So we sat.
It was interesting for me to compare the three doctor visits I have had with Kira. The first doctor was in Uganda with a Ugandan doctor who thought through his diagnosis of her developmental delays aloud, which lit a flame under my protective mothering nature, because he was wrong. Kira was curious, sweet and compliant for him. The next appointment was here with my pediatrician. She adored the doctor even reached out to sit in her lap, and was determined as delightful and on target with growth and development, but no testing was suggested to be done considering she might have brought home something from her foreign origins. When the nurse came in and poked her in the leg with two sharp stinging needles it was the end of Kira’s romance with doctors and nurses. For her third visit, as soon as the nurses stretched her out on a table to measure her height, the screaming began. Fortunately, we’ve had three months together now, and Kira allows me to comfort her when she is scared. I both love it that I can comfort her, and hate it that I need to.
This appointment was specifically to have all the imaginable tests run on her blood and stool to see what we can learn and determine if she brought home anything we need to eliminate. My darling girl had to be pinned down by three of us so they could extract six vials of blood. She cried so hard she threw up. She was able to calm herself quickly in my arms when the ordeal was through, and I think that is the most important item to note. It at least puts a few building blocks of confidence underneath my assessment of how our bonding is growing.
The doctor wanted to give me parenting advice. That was not why I crossed town on a cold morning to see her. She’s a young woman, no wedding ring, and before she knew I had four big boys (one closer to her age than she is to mine!) she began to tell me how to react to a baby having a tantrum. I actually interrupted her and said, I have raised four children already and baby issues aren’t such a big problem for me, I have formulated my own opinions about behavior development and control. That’s when she stopped talking down to me and we had a mutually intelligent discussion about bonding after adoption. She may have even learned something from me. Being a stay-at-home mom all of my career with a good enough thinking mind, I am sensitive to the career women who approach me immediately by talking down to me as an authority on all matters. Why do people assume I am not learning, comparing, reading, thinking, observing, and applying my own knowledge base from my excellent college education in psychology as I work with my own children? These are the times that I look like a pleasant little red headed mom on the outside bouncing with a pony tail behind her, but I’m a really big giant on the inside who can send anyone scattering for cover. Looks can be deceiving, and no one should ever approach someone with a set of assumptions. That’s what I think. If they are really smart they’ll focus in sharp on my shoulder and see the splinter of a chip sitting there.
The appointment was useful to me because I will not have to wonder if she has “something medical” lurking in her growing body that would be best to discover early rather than later. So, we will make another trip in a month to hear the results. Between then and now I’m going to buy a stethoscope and let Kira play with it. Maybe that will reduce the shrill nature of her screams when we are seated in the office again. If it doesn’t, that’s ok, I can handle an upset baby.