You know that feeling of being spread too thin?
Yes. That one.
Like rice paper. I have no depth today.
I love writing this blog, but I need quiet and time to think. To reflect. To collect my thoughts.
That has not been afforded me lately.
I am like one of those contestants at a lame-ass county fair who has won the right to step into the glass-paned money booth. Counting down from 3, 2, 1 . . . and they turn on the jet-engined fan and dump a bucket of dollar bills into the booth. The bills float and whirl and spin before my eyes, and I leap and grab and miss and grab and leap and miss and grab and miss.
I look the total fucking fool.
And when the fan cuts off, and I count my riches? In my clenched fists I find only three single dollar bills and twelve discount coupons for pizza and oil changes.
At this moment? I feel I am in a money booth of thoughts . . . and try as I might? I keep leaping and grabbing and missing, and as the clock ticks down?
I am holding only a few random disconnected bits of nothing that add up to not very fucking much.
Anybody need an oil-change coupon?
I had a conversation with Maj’s doctor today in which he explained that they are having some trouble getting Maj’s medical records transferred from Kaiser in Northern California. Why this transfer is troublesome, I cannot understand, as we were with Kaiser in California and we are with Kaiser here in Oregon. It’s the same fucking system, right?
It is as though we have had all of Maj’s previous medical needs tended to by foreign mystics who have since taken a vow of silence and uncooperation.
What the fuck, different branches of the same fucking Kaiser tree?
We were at Kaiser today to discuss Maj’s height. Or rather, her lack of it. Maj’s endocrinologist needed some background, and he (sensibly) figured that I (as Maj’s mother) might be able to help. I am her mother, and I felt more than up to the challenge of telling the story of Maj. It would have been helpful if someone had mentioned this record-transfer problem before I showed up empty-handed at this appointment, but I figured I could tell him what he needed to know.
And here is where it started going badly.
The doctor held his notepad and pen expectantly, “OK, so how much did Maj weigh when she was born?”
Hmmmmm . . . guess what? No fucking clue. I race backwards through my mind and my memory, but all I could find was an image of full-term Maj in the ICU immediately after her birth. She was GIANT compared to her neighbor preemies. A monster of a child.
This memory is not helpful.
I know that her head was enormous . . . 99th percentile. But he’s not asking me about her freakishly large baby head. She’s grown into it since . . . in case you were wondering.
Ooooooh . . . wait! Her birth weight had a 7 in it!
Think, think, think . . . and I hazard a guess, “7 pounds, 2 ounces?”
The doctor’s eyebrows shoot way up as he realizes I am guessing.
He scribbles and then asks me, “And how long was she when she was born?”
Seriously? She was the length of a baby.
I know that’s not the right answer, so I admit, “I don’t really have any idea.”
He laughs, “OK, but nobody at the time remarked on the fact that she was much taller or much shorter than average?”
“No, I think she was about average.”
Maj is looking at me with wide incredulous silent eyes.
“Alright, about how old would you say Maj was when it first came to your attention that she was significantly shorter than her peers?”
And then the doctor and Maj both stare at me with wide incredulous silent eyes.
I think. I know there must have been a point when I first noticed that she was short, but I do not remember that moment of realization. Hmmmmm . . . it was never that big a deal, and I am short, and I guess I just expected Maj to be short. I just do not remember a single defining moment of, “Oh my goodness! Do you see that? Maj is short!”
OK, so let’s see. I know she was short in kindergarten. And preschool. And before that . . . hmmmm . . . she had lots of friends and was in all sorts of playgroups. Was she the shortest? At age two, was she short?
They are still staring at me.
A good mother would know this information, apparently.
“Ummm, I know I have these records at home. I can pull those out for you and email you the numbers I have, but honestly? I think of my daughter more in terms of her personality, and that has always been huge. I do not know when she started being shorter than her peers.”
The doctor clicks his pen shut and turns to Maj, “What’s your memory, Maj?”
Maj is all annoyed with my stupidity.
She turns away from me to talk to the doctor, “OK, so when I was really little? Like two? I was just regular and my friends were sometimes taller and sometimes shorter. Well, actually, now that I think about it, I was maybe the shortest, but only by a little. But then when I was in preschool, I was definitely the shortest. And when I was in kindergarten, I was the shortest. But it wasn’t a huge deal. I mean, I was shorter, but not like a crazy amount shorter, you know? And it stayed like that for a while. I was shorter and everybody else was taller, but it wasn’t a huge difference.”
She continues, “But then, like over the last two years or so? I am not growing very much and everybody I know, all of my friends? They are growing a LOT. And I am not. And the difference between my friends and me now? It’s HUGE. I am not just the shortest kid. I am the tiny kid. I hate that.”
She crosses her arms and stares at him in challenge, “Being short is not so bad. Being tiny is annoying.”
The diagnosis? Maj is a late-bloomer.
Doctors today? They are like magicians! Sigh.
And remember what I said about having a great memory?
And I looked it up!
At birth? Maj weighed 7 pounds, 7.8 ounces and she was 20.5 inches long.
And her head? It was enormous.
My head? Just wind and random blowing bits of paper which I cannot seem to quite grasp.