Friday, August 19, 2005

attack of the macrocephalites

I took the girls to the pediatrician on Tuesday. Evangeline needed a chicken pox vaccination before school starts, and Rachel needed a couple vaccinations herself before she can start preschool. That went fairly easily, despite their trepidation over getting shots -- Evangeline had just had four shots the previous week, one of them quite painful, and my attempts to get her in a positive state of mind by having her sing "I want to get a shot / Right in the butt" to the tune of "You Can't Get to Heaven" were ultimately unsuccessful.

I don't remember our last pediatrician doing this, but the nurse on Tuesday took a tape measure and measured the circumference of Rachel's head. When the doctor came in a few minutes later, she had a worried look on her face, and measured Rachel's head again herself.

"Let me guess," I said, "her head is bigger than normal."
"Well, yes," she said.
"In fact, it's off the chart."
"Yes," she said.
"And you're worried that she might have hydroencephalitis," I said.

The doctor started to laugh a little, since this was obviously familiar territory for me. Maybe she had noticed the size of my own head, which has been mistaken in the past for a three-story building.

"Well, hydroencephalitis or other related problems," she said. "Has her head always been large?"

"My wife thinks so," I said. "And she would know best. She calls it the Learn family head, and it is big enough for an entire family. She gets that from her father."

It turns out that Rachel, while she is only in the 25th percentile or so for height, is off the charts for head size. The doctor showed me the standard distribution for head size on children her age, and Rachel was well outside the norm, meaning she looks something like MODOK in the old Captain America comics. Still, as the doctor noted in the exam, Rachel was engaging in healthy imaginative play, responded to complex requests, had tremendous fine and gross motor skills, and was in no way impaired in her language ability.

In other words, she's a macrocephalite -- a fancy way of saying she has a big head, just like her father. Let's just hope she doesn't get the figurative big head that goes with it.

Also, as of Wednesday afternoon, I am one tooth lighter than I used to be. Now I'll agree I need to lose weight, but my mouth is not where I would like to lose it. Still, I had a broken molar and the dentists decided either they couldn't repair it or (I think more likely) my insurance company or their DMO policy said they couldn't repair it because they could just remove it instead, more cheaply. Worst of all, the smegheads wouldn't let me keep the tooth to put under the pillow and get a lousy 25 cents from the tooth fairy.

So now my mouth is lopsided because I have no lower right rear molar, but on the upside, my head is as big as ever.

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