A Little Man

William R. Winters, Jr. was in for his 18 month Well Child Visit today. He brought his mother with him. I had done a weight check halfway between his one-year visit and today, just to make sure his weight didn’t slip. At a year old, I even checked his basic labs, lead and thyroid studies – all normal.

He is a tiny thing, not quite on the growth chart, but his mother is only 4’10”. Will also isn’t a voracious eater. Last time I saw him, he wouldn’t eat anything with texture to it – he would spit out jar baby food if it had lumps in it, and wouldn’t eat Cheerios or crackers. 

Today, as I walked in the room, Will was reading one of my car magazines while stacking blocks on the exam table. His little face was serious and determined-looking as he greeted me with a block in the air while repeating the word “block”.

I brought a peace offering – an age-appropriate book about a duck. He glanced at it, tossed it on the floor and went back to his/my car magazine. I turned to his mother for more history.

Will still nurses at night, but he has started to explore foods with lumps. He drinks from a cup, although he doesn’t show any interest in using a spoon. His weight is up a little. He knows twenty words, although he doesn’t combine them yet. Sometimes in public places like the supermarket he starts screaming just to get attention, and he’s enjoying the power of saying “no”. He is clearly working on soon being a healthy two-year-old.

After the physical exam, and after hearing me announce that no shots or blood tests were needed today, his mother said:

“You’ve got to help me with his dad.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“He’s threatening to buy Will a dirt bike as soon as his legs are long enough to reach the pedals”.

“But he doesn’t even know how to ride a tricycle!” I was at least as bewildered as she expected me to be.

We talked about how dirt bikes and ATV’s aren’t safe at any age, and how fathers, no matter how loving, sometimes don’t know how to handle babies.

The physical exam was straightforward. Will let me check his ears, throat and all the other required body parts. He is clearly just a very normal boy with a diminutive mother and a macho dad. I gave his mother some pointers on how to deal with an over-compensating father. I left the room to let them get his clothes and their stuff back in order. A few moments later they emerged into the hallway.

“Can I borrow this car magazine, he won’t let go of it?” she asked.

“Keep it!” I said.

I’m not sure what happened to the age appropriate duck book. I thought to myself:

“What a little man…”

1 Response to “A Little Man”

  1. 1 cathy September 5, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I love this story. That little guy sounds like a sweetie. We have one of our own about the same age. Grandson will be 2 in Nov. He was a 32 weeker so he was a bit behind, and very small, but he is all caught up now. I think the best part of your professional work would be the well child visits.

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