I thought the dispensaire was like a pharmacy - turns out it is the clinic! It is the first (basic!) choice for baby care here. You can also see the PMI I think or go directly to the pediatrician. We are keeping it simple!
I headed off today with the girls and Baby JoJo for his appointment at 8.30am, not quite sure what to expect. Perhaps it would have been better to find out where it was to begin with! We stood in a cabinet d'infirmière for a while before discovering it was the wrong place and there was still a long walk ahead of us! We finally got there, and discovered the more familar sight of a rather chaotic clinic full of babies and kids running around - I love the french word turbulent for particularly badly behaved children!
We waited. And waited. And waited. The girls got harrassed by some turbulents, so Bertie kindly came and took them home. And then I waited. And waited. And a bit more. Two hours later (!) I finally saw the nurse, who took Baby JoJo's details and discussed England with me - apparently she believes it to be a very hot place, as it was when she visited Basingstoke and Piccaddilly Circus! They measured his length and head circumference and were horrified to hear we don't do this in the UK after birth. But what if there is a problem with his head? she inquired. I could only offer my very best gallic shrug. Then she weighed him. 67cm, 44 cm and 7.7 kg were the figures I think. Then I got sent back out to wait again!
It is quite interesting seeing all the people around - they are not just Guadeloupeans, but also Haitians and Dominicans for whom life is better here. Bertie can recognise them by looking and certainly by their speech but I only worked out who was Dominican by who was speaking some english! On a slight digression, they are not always well-perceived here unfortunately. I had an interesting discussion with my Dominican SIL who understands but never speaks english as she moved here when 7 and there was such a negative attitude towards people from her background that she did all she could to leave it behind. Her attitude has even passed on to her daughter who also dislikes english so will study spanish at uni.
Back to the clinic. Next was the doctor, who didn't seem to understand me, which was a bit frustrating. We discussed the different vaccins - Baby JoJo is perfectly up to date on the UK system but not according to the French. Apparently I have to buy a vaccin for €80 (refundable) which I am not convinced about, plus consider Hep B. Any thoughts? Then she did a thorough check of chest, ears, eyes, mouth, back. I told her this was never done after the 6 week check in the UK and that we don't even visit the doctor unless ill - more horror! Apparently here, you have to take the baby to the doctor every two months, then a bit less often after a year. And if you don't turn up, you get a convocation and into big trouble! I explained our system was much more laisser-faire, and inwardly shuddered at having to repeat this experience every 2 months! In all it took three hours, which seems slightly ridiculous.
On the positive side, Baby JoJo is very well and she said there would be a tooth coming through soon! How exciting! If only I could photo this exciting event!
We have started feeding him baby rice and he is loving it, as he swings around in his Bumbo grasping at the spoon. I have frozen my first batch of puree (apple) and will get going on avocado and banana soon.