There is no person on earth whom Kina idolizes more than her pediatrician, Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes. Whenever we play “checkup” (which is all the time) Kina immediately identifies herself as “Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes”. If you mistakenly address her as “Doctor Desgrottes”, she will promptly correct you; it is “Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes”. Kina’s hands on the side of your face. Eyes front. Doctor. Stephanie. Desgrottes.
One of our longstanding (and most frequently-requested) bedtime stories is “Baby Rainbow Unicorn Meets Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes”, in which our protagonist visits the pediatrician. There is a scene in the waiting room, a summoning by the receptionist, some niceties with the nurse, and an extended slapstick bout of confusion over where to sit with the good Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes. This story is inspired by Kina’s actual behavior when she was a baby, in which she would sit literally anywhere but on the examination table. Guess who sits right on the exam table now? Hint: She is a big girl.
Yesterday, Kina painted a picture for Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes in honor of her annual well visit—a portrait of her pediatrician in blue, standing in front a giant mountain. At the top of the page, with guidance, she wrote DR STEEPHANIIE, before giving up for lack of space. She is allowed to do this, because she and Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes are on a professional title and first name basis.
We went through a lot of pediatricians before meeting Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes, who happens to be the only attending pediatrician at the pediatric clinic closest to our home but is also the best pediatrician in the world. Laurea says she is the most stylish doctor she’s ever met, and Kina agrees. She can give two shots at the same time—with the same hand—and Kina doesn’t even flinch. Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes says that this is because girls don’t cry when they get shots, but I think she is being modest.
Sometimes, after an appointment with Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes, Kina will walk around the corner and buy a croissant to eat on the bench outside the bakery while it is still warm from the oven. Once, she saw Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes at the bakery getting a cup of coffee. This was the most amazing thing ever, because Kina didn’t realize that Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes existed outside the confines of the clinic. Kina told me that she said “hi”. Laurea told me that she was wearing great shoes.
Kina wishes she could see Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes more frequently, but because she (Kina) is a big girl now, we only see her twice a year: once for a checkup and once for a flu shot. I remember when Kina was small and had to go to the doctor every week. She was small, in an academic sense—Laurea and I thought she looked like a pretty normal baby, and she ate and acted like a pretty normal baby. Our doctor at the time, who was emphatically not Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes, met us a few times, carefully tracking Kina’s height and weight and remarking that she seemed to be “on the smaller side”. At our last visit with her, she took us aside gently, pointed at a dot on the bottom left of a chart and said, “your daughter… may not be tall.” Laurea and I burst out laughing. Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes says Kina is doing great and not to pay attention to charts. I also wish we could see Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes more frequently, because she is super chill.
Yesterday, for the first tine, Kina took an eye test. This examination, which Kina calls “the eyes game”, was not performed by Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes, but by Kina’s nurse friend (whose name I unfortunately cannot remember right now). The nurse is also super chill and was instrumental in getting Kina to be more copacetic with the exam table. “The eyes game” involves holding your hand over one eye and looking across the room at a tablet held by your favorite nurse. As different pictures are shown on the tablet, you yell out what you see: STAR! FISH! HOUSE! Kina treated this as she does all games: with an intense competitive drive. The nurse certainly has not met a big girl who could identify a fish at seven paces as quickly or as clearly as Kina. Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes, concurring, was very proud of her.
The night before last, Kina lay in bed and looked me straight in the eye. “When do I get to go to Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes?” she asked. “Tomorrow morning,” I replied. “After breakfast?” she asked. “Yes, after breakfast,” I said. “Will we get a croissant after?” she asked. “Yes, of course,” I replied. She didn’t ask me whether she’d see Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes at the bakery, getting her coffee on her way in to the office—as she had throughout the pandemic, no less—but I could see that she was wishing for it. I have never seen this child so excited for the morning, not even on Christmas Eve.
She is the picture of health, as it turns out, and is so sweet. Doctor Stephanie Desgrottes wishes she could give her a big hug.