Bad babies

Look! It’s Friday afternoon! The sun is shining, I have a head cold to go with my bronchitis, a cherished friend is coming in for the weekend, and — yay! — I don’t have to write a new blog entry, because the following story, about how we found out that Rowan was a boy, just appeared in the wonderful magazine Brain, Child’s “Backtalk” section. Have a great weekend.

“Do you want to know the sex?” the ultrasound technician asked at my 18-week prenatal appointment.

“Yes,” I said, “but instead of telling me, can you just show me the anatomy on the screen so I can see for my—”

“It’s a boy,” she said.

O-kay. Moving right along, the technician did the anatomical scan. She kept trying to get good pictures of the baby’s various parts, but he (now that I knew he was a he) wasn’t in the right position. She tsk-tsked a few times over the uncooperative fetus, and then said, “What a bad baby.”

I was stunned. My partner was stunned. Who calls a baby — an unborn baby, no less — “bad”?

“A very bad baby,” she said again, as she tried to get a picture of his femur or something. And then, just in case we missed it, again: “Very, very bad.” I guess she’d skipped the sensitivity training day.

She sent me off to the washroom to pee and drink some water, to try to get my bad baby moving so that she could get the pictures she needed. I sat on the toilet, reeling, awash in my first moment of parental protectiveness. Who the hell was this woman? And how dare she call my baby “bad”?

I emerged from the washroom. “So,” the technician asked, wand in hand, “did you tell this bad baby to cooperate?”

“No,” I said, sweetly as I could. “I told him not to be scared of the mean lady.”