The nervous parents waited with their infant son. He was wrapped in a blanket, dressed only in a dry diaper, per the nurse’s order. His chubby feet stuck out from the bottom of the blanket with ten perfect, little piggies ready to go to market.
He laughed and blew spit bubbles, unaware of the purpose of their visit, vaccinations. He was content with the attention of his parents and the ability to grab his toes. It was a gift of inexperience and limited short term memory. Otherwise, he might have been screaming and fighting to make his way out of the office and away from his next round of shots.
After a few minutes, the doctor breezed into the room wearing a pair of shiny, black boots. He stopped to shake everyone’s hand, including the smallest, drool covered one.
“Welcome to town. I understand y’ all just moved here.”
Thoroughly baby-slimed, he washed his hands in the sink without missing a beat. Bodily fluids came with the territory of pediatric care.
“That’s right, we’ve been here about four weeks.”
“Well, I hope you like it so far. Let’s back up and go over your boy’s medical history.”
After a few questions, they were caught up. It didn’t take long to cover four months.
“Now where is he sleeping?”
Sensing a moment of hesitation, the doctor turned away from the screen of his laptop and faced the parents. He caught a quickly exchanged grimace between the two. Their sleeping arrangements had been a point of contention over the past month.
Just the night before, they restarted the same ongoing conversation.
“I don’t like him in our room, I’m afraid you will fall asleep with him in our bed.”
“And then what?” his wife asked with flashing eyes.
“I don’t want to say, but I would feel better if he was in his own room and in his crib, not in the pack-n-play in our room.”
A conclusion was not reached that night.
“Well, he’s in our room, next to the bed,” the baby’s mother started.
Before she could finish, the good doctor cut her off.
“He’s outta there,” he said motioning his thumb backwards over his shoulder, like an umpire making a call.
“We don’t want him to think that he needs his mommy to go to sleep, right?”
Obviously, this was a leading question, but the boy’s mother wasn’t quite ready to answer.