Today was Otto’s 18 month check up, complete with two shots that Jenny McCarthy would frown upon and then discuss on “The View” while Elizabeth Hasselback tried to change the subject to right wing politics and the flag. Whoopi would then get up and shake her fists and her fat lady jewelry would swing back and forth across her enormous sacks of flour while Barbara would squirm in her Chanel jacket and try to act “with it”. Joy would make a penis joke and Sherri Shepard would do what she does best, stare blankly ahead and quote the bible out of context.
Otto was great all through his exam, laughing while the doctor felt his tummy and stuck a cold, metal probe in his ear. He actually enjoys having things in his ear, as do I. The Q-Tip is one of the three top sensations I can’t live without, the first two being none of your business. Let’s just say, I love donuts… Otto is 94% in height, 80% in head size and 15% in weight. We have a skinny, pasty, white basketball player who will always look awkward in a fedora.
The doctor asked us all the questions we expected regarding his skills and abilities at this age. We proudly boasted that he knows at least 40 words, he shares, he now reads right side up, he knows his colors and a few numbers, he obeys commands like “get me a beer”, he poops twice a day and molests the cat only when his hands are extra clean. All was going well until the doctor asked how many words Otto can say.
“Well, he talks all the time in gibberish, save for a ma, a da and a daaa. Once in a while he’ll say ball, nana (banana) and dog and duck. But not a lot”, Dave said.
“You know why I’m asking you this?”, the doctor asked.
Cue vomit, diarrhea and inappropriate perspiration.
“Yes”, Dave and I answered in horrified unison.
“I have all the confidence he is not Autistic and all the signs say no, but I want him to be talking more in three months.”
“Like you want him to say a few real words by January?” I meekly asked.
“No”, the doctor said. “I want him to have two dozen words.”
My mind started racing like it was running for its life from a pack of rabid badgers. Okay, shit, fuck, eat me, crap! What does this mean? Who are we? I think I see a pink elephant. My toe hurts. Everything is spinning. I need to buy toilet paper. Breakfast sucked today. The toys in here are skanky. Why are red heads, red heads? Dave needs a hair cut. Otto’s bangs resemble Gene Wilder’s in “Silver Streak”. I look like an old suitcase in this light. I hate our cleaning lady. Otto said duck a few times 6 months ago, isn’t that something?
“Now don’t panic”, the doctor said. “I am sure he is fine. I just want those words in a few months or we’ll have him come back for some tests.”
Tests? What kind of fucking tests? I hate tests. Dave hates tests. My SAT scores went DOWN after I took Stanley Kaplan my junior year. I went to all my proms and Dave had three girlfriends at a time. Who knew about each other! Tests mean nothing in this family. Dave and I didn’t apply ourselves in high school and both went to PAC ten schools in warm weather states to continue our education in socializing and public intoxication. We now read The New Yorker Magazine and play word games for fun. Otto’s name is a palindrome, for Christ’s sake. Otto loves people. He’s a people person. Doesn’t that count for something? What if he forgets his # 2 pencil in three months? What then? Will he automatically fail or will he get some sympathy points because he can’t write yet?
“Everything will be fine, I know. Happy New Year.”
And with that the doctor left the room, leaving behind two shell shocked adults and one perfect little boy, recovered from his shots and happily playing with the grime covered toys provided by the office. It only took us five minutes to get cranky with each other, arguing over Otto’s shoe laces while walking to the car. I knew we were both tense but this was a real kick in the balls, a feeling I can’t imagine but can equate with a titty twister I once received in 5th grade. By the time we reached the first stop light, the conversation, as well as our voices seemed a bit more shaky. Finally, when we pulled in front of the house, we had already “misunderstood” each other twice and were quietly seething and confused.
Dave drove off to the bank while I went inside and fixed Otto his lunch. Immediately, our obnoxious, know-it-all cleaning lady, who we only see twice a month, began telling me that Otto was tired and hungry and what he needed, a trait that I once admired and now detested. This was the wrong day to fuck with Momma Bear so I just cut her off as soon as she started, making it clear that I actually knew what the hell I was doing in a polite, sugar coated way. I must have appeared like a robot to her with my canned answers and lifeless eyes. I was so freaked out and overwhelmed that I couldn’t bear to have her lecture me again. Just because she’d given birth to three children and her vagina could teach on a PH.D level and most likely resembled a highway underpass was no reason for her constantly berate my first go at motherhood.
Dave returned and within minutes we just looked at each other and smiled, knowing that we were blowing this way out of proportion. The misunderstanding, though, had been mostly my fault and we both knew it and never said another word. This is my apology Dave and I am truly sorry for being a douche!
The cleaning lady left after telling us both that Otto should only be given one piece of food at a time and a cold bath before his nap. I wanted to tell her that she should learn how to put the trash bags on the trash can correctly so it doesn’t look like a turtleneck on a tree stump and all the food spills out. That and maybe once, she could empty out the dishwasher and not put the sauce pans in the laundry room and the measuring cups in the silverware drawer.
Otto is now napping, Dave is off at work and I have calmed down and am reassured that everything will be fine. Little does Otto know, though, that home school is in now session and he needs to start using his words if he wants to get anything from his parents and possible get laid later in life. I will do whatever it takes to help my little monkey get his two dozen words by Christmas. I think I’ll start him off with “skinny”, “beautiful”, “young” and “Obama”.