It's only 9 months... but it feels like Maternity...

Now Known As Postnatal Oppression

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

So Spawn had his 7 - 9 Month Check the other week. The Health Visitor arrived half an hour late (I think... I'm fairly sure it was supposed to be at 10am but seeing as I didn't listen when she told me what time she was coming, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt) and didn't take her coat off, making me think straight away that she wasn't intending to be here very long.

"So, how do you think he's doing?" she said. Hang on a minute, that's her job. How am I supposed to know? He's still alive isn't he? In my book, that's pretty good going.

"Erm.. fine?" I replied. She looked at me, obviously expecting more. "Well... he's very alert," I said. Spawn looked at me, then looked the HV up and down. "And he eats well," I continued rather lamely. "He's very easy going, not much fazes him," I added. She nodded. "So, much better than when he was first born then," she said with a snidey laugh. I bristled. What did she mean by THAT? Fucksakes - I'd obviously made a mistake in asking for advice on anything when he was first born. Had I been on some sort of list of mothers who weren't Coping, or was Spawn down in their paperwork as a Problem child? Remind me never to ask anyone 'professional' for help on anything child-related in the future, in case Social Services are alerted. How dare I not know what I'm doing with my first child and admit any kind of weakness to them. "Actually I think it was more I wasn't very confident in what I was doing, to be honest," I told her.

So we were off to a good start then. She got out a clipboard and began marking things off on it. "Is he crawling yet?" "Erm no - but he's rolling." "Rolling?" she said, like I'd also said "- in dog shit". "Well, is he holding himself up when he's on his front?" Sort of, I thought. "Yes," I replied confidently.
"Is he saying Mama and Dada?" Eh? He's seven months old for chrissakes. He doesn't even know he's English, let alone how to speak it yet. "Well, he's making the noises, but not at anyone," I said. She nodded happily and ticked something.
"Is he waving hello and goodbye?" Well let's see. He's still pretty impressed by his own hands, so you're asking me if he's mastered the intricacies of social greetings yet? "No."
"Is he socially aware?" What? Am I socially aware? Are you? What does that mean? I try not to fart in public, is that socially aware? I can't say the same for Spawn, if that's the case. "How do you mean?" I asked, feeling the hairline cracks starting to creep across my temper. "Does he understand different tones of voice?" "Well, he doesn't like it if anyone shouts or gets angry." Another happy nod and a tick. What the fuck?
"Is he eating family foods?" Whose family? Family-sized, like bags of crisps? "Well, we give him some of what we're having, just mushed up a bit." "Oh - are you pureeing it? You need to think about mashing things so he can have lumps." "He's well used to lumps - I get too bored to make things smooth." She nodded and ticked again.
By now I was feeling a bit paranoid. "So is he meant to be doing all those things then?" I asked. "Oh, there's a big range of what's normal at this age," she said. "He's eight months isn't he? By now some babies are cruising round the furniture and communicating well, but some just take a bit longer than others." "He's just over seven months actually," I said. She glanced down at her notes.

"Let's weigh him," she said, changing the subject. I stripped Spawn off while she got her scales out. He immediately rolled over and began pressing the buttons on them for her. After weighing (he sat up on them, laying down is for wimps) she had a feel of his bits, during which he scowled suspiciously at her, looking indignant throughout, then after I dressed him she showed him a finger puppet, which he pulled off her finger and tried to eat. "He's a very serious baby... I'm having a job getting a smile out of him," she remarked. You just insulted and assaulted him and now you want him to smile at you? "He doesn't smile at people he doesn't know very well," I said smugly. Spawn tried to pull the buttons off her coat.

There wasn't much more to it than that really. She said, in not so many words, that as far as they were concerned, I was now on my own with him. They apparently do a 2 year check, but all it consists of is a questionnaire that's mailed out to you. How reassuring. Of course, I could always ring her if I had any questions (yeah, I fell for that one before) or see her at the clinic (which she changed the day of so it doesn't coincide with my day off in the week any more), but really they wouldn't do any more visits unless there were Problems. Well to hell with you then, be-atch. Get out of my house. I'm glad you didn't have a drink, and I'm glad I never bought any biscuits for you.

To soften the blow she did give me a book bag though, and patronisingly suggested I joined the library for Spawn, to which I equally patronisingly told her I had already done so. Spawn liked the books and proceeded to chew one of them vigorously.

Oh, and he waved hello at me on Monday.


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