Continuing last week’s theme, Maddie had one more doctor visit this week. This appointment was with the NICU Clinic for a follow-up. She was last seen in April, where the doctors and nurses deemed her awesome. I felt pretty confident that, despite her size, they were going to feel the same way about her this time around.

I sent Mike off to the appointment with Maddie (damn work) with a very detailed list of her medications, nutrition, and medical history. I knew at this visit there would be child development specialists to determine if Maddie was on track for her adjusted age. We weren’t worried. Maddie amazes us every day.

The development specialists spent about an hour and fifteen minutes with Maddie and Mike. They had her reach for toys, watched her to see if she passed toys back and forth between her two hands, tried to get her to roll over, stuff like that. Maddie got a bit of stage fright and refused to roll over, but the specialists said they were pleased with how she held her body when she was on her tummy.

They also checked Maddie to see how well she followed things with her eyes and head. No problems there, Maddie has excellent vision and practically turns her heard 360 degrees to follow people around the room. Then things started to get dicey. They wanted to see if Maddie knew her name. “Madeline!” they called. Nothing. Mike suggested they say her nickname, so they sang out, “Maddie!” She turned. Yay! Then one of the specialists said, “Sally!” and Maddie turned. Damn it, Maddie! Mike started to sweat at this point.

The specialists then went back and had Maddie reach for things again. As she would reach for the toys hanging in front of her, the specialists would jot things down on their pads of paper. At this point, Mike was wiping the sweat off his forehead. They tried to get Maddie “talk” to them. That baffles me. Can anyone get their baby to blab away on command? Weird. When the specialists were done, they left the exam room as Mike shouted, “She rolls over at home! All the time! And talks! All the time! And she tries to crawl! And she can write her name! IN CURSIVE!!!”

A nurse practitioner came back in the room to give Mike the results. Maddie was given the score of “average” for cognitive and language skills. Her motor skills? BORDERLINE. WTF? Mike asked what that was about, and was told that Maddie uses her thumb “incorrectly.” Um, wha? Apparently, when she was getting evaluated, Maddie would close her thumb into her hand – sort of like when you make a fist with your thumb on the inside instead of on the outside. According to the development specialists, this is a Very. Big. Deal. So big a deal that Maddie now qualifies for therapies provided by Regional Center. And that’s all well and good – I am glad that she will have some outside help because Regional Center does great work. But then the nurse dropped this bomb:

“She will have to wear thumb loops.”

A what now? Well, a thumb loop is a wrist brace that puts her hand and thumb in the correct position to grab, manipulate, and release objects. Greeeaaaaat. So, Maddie has to wear braces on her hands now. That will go over with her really well. I hope they are saliva-proof, because those braces will spend more time in her mouth than facilitating functional use of her hands.

I am trying to figure out why this is bothering me so much. I mean, really, of all the things that could be borderline, I am glad it’s her thumbs, you know? I guess I just don’t get it. As I said in an email to my friend Stefanie, unless Maddie is going to start punching bitches, I don’t really care if she doesn’t form a fist properly. But if she IS going to start punching bitches, then we have to work on this thumb thing. I can’t allow her to break her thumb when she pops a bitch in the nose, you know? And I clearly already have competition issues because I can’t stand that Maddie didn’t score “awesome” again. I don’t blame Maddie, though – obviously the evaluators are at fault. OMG – am I going to be that parent who yells at the umpire or hires a contract killer to murder Maddie’s cheerleading competition?

Do they have Regional Center for hyper-competitive moms?