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Biscuit's checkup and full days.

2009-12-08 - 10:12 a.m.

Okay, there has to be something wrong with my family doctorís scale. According to her scale, Biscuit is actually a pound lighter (20 lbs) than what two scales at CHEO said on November 19th (21 lbs, 2 oz). That put him officially at lower than the 3rd percentile for weight again. He also failed a couple of markers on the checklist for social and language development, so weíve been instructed to take him to the First Words clinic for evaluation for a speech delay, and to the paediatrician to determine if he needs referrals to check for things like autism.

Iím not particularly worried about that last, to be honest; Iíve rarely seen a more cuddly baby. Like his sister, he would Velcro himself to me 24/7 if he could. I suspect that the fact that he doesnít pretend to make tea has more to do with the fact that we rarely drink tea in our household, and he doesnít tuck dolls into bed because his own bedtime does not exactly follow the model of ďput the baby down, cover him with a blanket, let him drift off to dreamlandĒ.

But, like any dutiful parent, I will make and bring him to these appointments. I may be the expert on the topic of ďmy kidĒ, but there are certainly things I havenít seen and wouldnít know what to look for, and this screening process is in place for a reason. At the very least it couldnít hurt. Itís not like weíre talking exploratory surgery here; itís a few questions and perhaps some observation of Biscuit. And of course, with our health care system, all it will cost me is time, and frankly, time with Biscuit feels in short supply these days. J has had him for the last couple of nights to try to break the wake-and-wonít-go-back-to-sleep-without-breastfeeding cycle heís been on, so I didnít see him at all this morning. Tonight I teach at the gym until 7pm and Iíll be lucky to get home by 8pm, at which point heíll likely be in bed asleep.

You know, my mother has remarked that, when she looks back at my childhood, she thinks of my dad as not a bad father, just a mostly-absent one. I remember that during the week he was gone in the mornings so I only saw him in the evenings on those days, but at least he was always home for dinner and we ate together. Now I look at my life and realize Iím not even home before my kidsí bedtimes twice a week and even when Iím home at 6 pm itís not unusual for J to have already fed them.

I know Iím not finding the best balance right now, but the largest chunk of time away from my family is spent at my office and we need my salary since Iím the main breadwinner in the household. The two classes I teach at the gym give me much-needed exercise and free gym memberships for myself and my husband: if I didnít teach twice a week Iím sure thereís no way Iíd go work out twice a week and I cannot conceive of giving up exercise. It would be detrimental to my physical and, I believe, mental health. The photography business takes time, yes, but itís almost all during the hours after the kids are asleep. It would be the easiest thing to eliminate, but would also be the least helpful thing in terms of taking pressure off my schedule.

The only solution I see right now is waiting. In a year weíll sell our current house and move back to the one weíre renting out. When that happens itíll facilitate a big change: itís half a block from the school Grommet will be going to and it has an on-site daycare facility that Iíve heard great things about, plus itís across the street from a stop for an express bus that will take me almost right to work. Instead of Ĺ an hour to drop off the kids, then parking at a park Ďn ride and taking the milk run, Iíll be able to drop them off on foot in 10 minutes, then zoom downtown. It should cut at least 40 minutes from both the start and end of my day.

I cannot wait to not be quite so much of an ďabsent motherĒ, but wait I shall. Hopefully by this time next year things will get sorted out for the better.

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