Making the Grade

Posted: June 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Misc Neuroses, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | 2 Comments »

Today is Paige’s long awaited why-ain’t-she-walkin’-yet assessment. Which, as it turns out, is taking place at our house.

I guess that’s just how this state-funded clinic rolls. They dispatch a case manager, a physical therapist, and a infant development specialist to come check the kid out, then they decide what kinda treatment’s needed. And they hook you up with it for free.

I don’t think there’s anything about the home setting itself that’s part of the assessment. At least, I hope not.

But as I was dressing Paigey this morning, I pulled her black, long-sleeved SLACKER t-shirt over her head, and a little voice inside me said it probably wasn’t an ideal fashion selection for the day. Seeing as Little Miss Paige would be under the scrutiny of the Baby Expert Trio.

And since my brain had, at that point, created the entry point for a neurotic path that it could run down, I started to look around the house, casually at first, then with mounting panic, dizzied by the countless things that the Baby Trio, peering over their glasses disapprovingly, might take issue with.

For starters, the white socks I put on Paige have a “6-12 months” label stamped on the sole. Clear evidence that, for a child 16 months of age, her mother is keen to hold her back. Intentionally stunt her progress towards ever taking those first few steps.

What else? There isn’t a single children’s music CD in our stereo. The mango poised atop our fruit bowl? Not organic. Nor the whole wheat sliced bread.

The top magazine on the coffee table—burying Parenting, Cookie, all Mark’s New Yorkers, and the latest issue of Wired featuring Mark’s cover story—was of course, People. The horror! I can hear the three buzzing as they get into their car to leave. “They not only READ People magazine, they subscribe to it! And they’re surprised that their daughter can’t walk?!”

There’s a bunch of wine glasses from last night’s book club drying in the dish rack, and several empties wedged in the recycling bin under the sink. Since the house cleaners’ last visit, the girls’ve done comprehensive work spraying food bits on the floor beneath their chairs. And God knows how many toys laying about in plain view are for kids far younger than any who live here.

I can hear it now: “She doesn’t walk?” they’ll say. “Well, hell-o-ooo! In those conditions, they’re just asking for it!”

I’ve tidied. I’ve cleaned. I changed Paige out of the snarky shirt and into a sweet clean white cardigan. Kate, in all her three-year-old sassiness, will be dispatched to the neighbor’s for a play date long before the Baby Dream Team’s arrival. And at some point, I just have to stop and say, “Enough.”

When my childhood friend Sydney visited last summer, I hadn’t seen her in some twenty years. And after we’d happily reconnected, she and her husband planned a get-away weekend in San Fran. About a week before their visit, I mentioned to Mark that I felt like I was going to a reunion, but it was being held at my house. Forget just agonizing over one’s weight and outfit. I’d have to alphabetize the spice rack, hide our bank statements, refinish the floors!

In that same conversation, I informed Mark I was having a landscape architect come see what he could do with the yard in short order. He stopped chopping mire poix, turned to me and said, “Really?”

I’d been KIDDING, of course. But it just goes to show you that Mark’s known me long enough—or rather well enough—to not think such a move is beyond me.

Even though we couldn’t be more different in this area. Mark’s the kind of person who’d leave a perscription fungal cream front and center in the medicine cabinet without ever fearing a guest allegedly “looking for a Band-Aid” would spot it.

Aaaanyway, if I don’t hop into the shower right now, I risk having one of the Baby Assessors look me up and down, and while tsk-tsking, grab her clipboard and in a column entitled “Maternal Hygiene” put a mark indicating “Poor.”

Wish us luck.


2 Comments on “Making the Grade”

  1. 1 linnea said at 2:05 pm on June 9th, 2009:

    You make me laugh myself to tears. Some of it is too close to home!

  2. 2 Mary said at 8:57 pm on June 9th, 2009:

    You are too good, Bruno. I can’t wait until Paige is accepting her MVP award for volleyball and reads this entry as her speech.

    And I can’t believe I was all a-flutter over the book club gathering! Waaayy off.

Leave a Reply