Plunket Visit

Petra had her three year old checkup on Wednesday. She’s 94cm and 13.45kg. Her height and weight match and she’s within the normal range, but she’s just a petite wee thing, sitting below the 50th percentile. With me as her mum and Travis as her dad, she was never going to be a young giant, and so it has proved.

We had to hang out in the waiting room for a while, and Petra made good use of the time pretending to be a bus driver and driving us, and all the toys she could find, to school. When we went into the consultation room, the Plunket Nurse peeped out the door behind us to see who else was out there. “I heard lots of talking,” she said. “That was just us,” I said. She laughed. And when it came time to ask the questions about Petra’s language skills, the nurse answered them herself. It was apparently clear from a couple of minutes in Petra’s company that she’s a big and fluent talker. Which is great – I’m glad Petra’s articulate and confident with her speech. Even if it does it make for a rowdy house.

Other questions – does Petra sing and tell stories? Does she use ‘I’ and ‘me’? Can she jump? Can she hop on one foot? Is her skin clear? Are her teeth clean and healthy-looking? Are her nipples even (an odd question but it’s a way of judging if her hips are balanced)? Yes, was the answer to all of them.

And now we have no visits until the pre-school assessment that happens just before Petra turns 5.

Plunket is a great organisation. Every kid in New Zealand is entitled to free check ups until they’re five. The nurses will come to your home if you need extra help – a nurse visited us twice to weigh Petra because I was worried that she was underweight (it was just a small blip caused by the switch from breast milk to solids). And they have lots of information to offer if you need it.

I’m glad though, that Petra had her very own pediatrician in Costa Rica. He attended the birth, visited us before we went home from the hospital, and was available in the middle of the night for panicked consultation about blood in Petra’s spit up (it was from my nipples he told me wearily). We saw him every week for the first month, then every two weeks, then every month, then every two months. I found it wonderfully reassuring to have someone so involved in those first few, nervous weeks and months.

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