This morning I took Michael to his six month follow-up appointment with the pediatric eye doc. Preemies are susceptible to all sorts of eye problems and most are watched closely for a period of time after birth. I am happy to report that Michael got a clean bill of eye health today. As we were finishing up the doctor commented that he was the most cooperative baby they'd seen today. And he really was wonderful, didn't fuss at all, even when they put the dilating drops in his eyes. In my heart I know that Michael's level of cooperation was mostly due to fortunate timing and really didn't reflect at all on my abilities as a mother, but it still made me feel proud.
The first time we went to the eye doctor Michael was mere weeks old. Maybe five weeks? And I had no idea what to expect. We had not reached his actual due date yet, most of the time, if he wasn't eating, he was asleep. When they called us back to put the drops in his eyes, and then told me we could go back out and wait for another half hour, I almost lost it. I was not expecting the appointment to be so long, hadn't brought a bottle, nor had I brought anything to do. Half an hour seems a long time to sit in a waiting room without a book or a Sudoku puzzle, especially since Michael was asleep. You see I have never had an eye exam, at least not that I can remember, and I had no idea about the dilating and the waiting.
There is a fish tank in the waiting room and, as Michael slept, I pass half an hour assigning personality traits and back-stories to each of the fish (there are about 1/2 a dozen). It was oddly fun to visit them again today and remember the things I had decided about them. Could I be a bigger dork? This time the waiting wasn't so bad, I knew enough to bring some things (which I didn't end up needing, of course), and Michael could enjoy the fish with me. I would have told him all of their life stories, but we weren't the only people in the waiting room.
Now it will be another year before we go in to get his eyes rechecked. I don't think about it quite as often as I did when he was first home with us, but getting past this eye appointment was another in a long series of little items checked off the list of potential problems. We are so fortunate. I still feel like I'm holding my breath sometimes, waiting for the other shoe to drop, for some hidden complication or difficulty to arise. And then -check- another worry eliminated. And don't think for a moment that I'm not grateful for every single one.