Katie turned six weeks old on Sunday just gone. She briefly seemed to be marking this with the traditional growth spurt, waking more often that night and feeding non-stop on Monday morning, but by Monday afternoon she had calmed down again and slept a long stretch, letting me catch up on some sleep as well.
She has now had both her six-week checks (with the health visitor and with the GP). I was rather surprised to get a call from the health visitor on Thursday asking me when I’d like her to visit to do the six-week check, as I had assumed home visits were a luxury reserved for the immediate post-partum days – five and a half weeks after a normal delivery, I was quite happy to trek around to wherever I needed to get to. In fact, as it happened, I’d been within a few minutes of setting off to the baby clinic for her weekly weigh-in, so I suggested that if the six-week check could be done there then that would be the most convenient solution for all concerned. The HV agreed to this, and I set off to the clinic with both children in tow (Jamie had no specific need to be there, but it gave him a walk and Barry a break). My one previous visit to this particular clinic had been the week before, the Thursday between Christmas and New Year, at which time the place had been quiet – when I arrived, there was only one other woman there with her baby and in fact I simply went ahead and weighed Katie myself on the spare scales without waiting for the health visitor. What I hadn’t realised, of course, was that it was not going to be this quiet in non-holiday weeks. In fact, I suspect it may well have been even busier than usual the week after the holidays as a result of so few people turning up in the holiday week. The place was packed when we arrived. Fortunately, the playhouse kept Jamie occupied for a fair proportion of the time and I did not have to make too many dives out the door to retrieve an escaping child from the corridor. Katie, meanwhile, nursed quite happily in my arms and then pooed massively but fortunately was quite willing to await cleanup until it was our turn, as I didn’t particularly want to put her in a clean nappy that was only going to be whisked off again within minutes. All in all, it could have been a lot worse – I was not too frazzled by the time we were seen.
The health visitor ran down the list of questions for the six-week check, which I answered rather distractedly while wiping Katie’s bottom, delving through the nappy bag in search of clean clothes for her, and trying to keep an eye on Jamie. I confirmed that Katie was indeed reacting to sound, turning to look at lights, following objects, and smiling, and the HV weighed her – just over 10 lb 5 oz, a gain of eight ounces over the previous week – and then ran through some standard questions about child safety; did I ever carry hot drinks while holding her? Leave her unattended on a bed? Was the car seat properly fitted? Once I had assured her of my full understanding of the dangers of getting any of these things wrong, she finished up by offering me a chance to fill in the Edinburgh Post-Natal Depression Score, which I’d probably have found interesting under other circumstances – however, since I felt both children were reaching their limits of tolerance for staying here and I knew I wasn’t depressed, I decided I probably couldn’t hang around to fill in a score saying I wasn’t, and declined the offer. I collected up the children and various associated items and we headed back home by way of an extremely brief visit to the park.
Her check with the GP was yesterday, and was even briefer and more satisfactory. The GP pronounced her heart, eyes, and hips in good order and her ability to lift her head from a prone position the best the GP had ever seen in a baby this age (I glowed with pride) and that now completes the check-ups for, well, ever as far as I can tell – traditional niceties such as the nine-month and three-year check-ups have gone the way of other similarly underfunded projects, in this area. Oh, well – in future I shall just have to enjoy her progress without the added satisfaction of having an independent health professional confirm that it has taken place.
Meanwhile, my older child also continues to make progress through life, having moved up to the three-years-to-school-age Tumbletots class this Tuesday. At this exalted age, children are deemed old enough to negotiate the class with the help of the teachers only, while parents move back to sit on the sidelines and watch with fond pride. Obviously there is some leeway on this and if a child is clearly becoming distressed without his parents there they are encouraged to move in and provide the minimal level of attention needed to keep him going, but Jamie didn’t need this – he took part like the little trouper he is, staying with the group for the initial song and making his way from one station to another as directed. On occasion he got distracted and needed the teachers to take him back to whatever he was supposed to be doing, but, overall, they assured us he’d done extremely well for his first time in that class.
(Quick update from 11 p.m. – Ah. It seems the growth spurt had been merely temporarily put on hold. Theoretically I’m sure she will have to stop feeding some time this evening, but as yet I am having to take this on trust. Ah, well – at least I can feel confident all this milk is being put to good use.)