The other night, Namine told us that she couldn’t scoot. “I’m only allowed to crawl,” she said. “My doctor said I shouldn’t scoot.” Jessica and I could not think of a single doctor who said that.

Namine’s old physical therapist, Mr. Mick*, encouraged her once upon a time to favor crawling over scooting. It’s overall better for her back, but it also helped build strength in her arms. But he never told her she couldn’t (or wasn’t allowed to) scoot, just that when possible, she ought to crawl.

But Mick wasn’t a doctor, and Namine knows the difference between a therapist and a doctor. She remember’s Mick’s advice, but he wasn’t who she was thinking of that evening. So we asked, “What doctor told you not to scoot?”

“I don’t remember. He’s my foot doctor.”

“Dr. Black?”

“Yeah, Dr. Black.”

Talk about a good memory. The conversation Namine was remembering was more for our benefit than hers — it was about her scoliosis, and how scooting would likely exacerbate it. When she scoots, it torques her spine. The human body isn’t meant to remain in that twisted position — torso facing straight ahead, while the legs and hips face 1/4 to the side — and it can do things to the spine.

Namine has had scoliosis all her life, as one of the many things resulting from being born with caudal regression, but it hasn’t worsened in at least a couple years. (This alone is surprising; in all honestly, Dr. Black expected the curvature to increase over the past year, but it has barely changed, if it has at all.) Dr. Black has voiced concern about what her scooting might do to her spine, and has encouraged crawling — during which Namine faces straight ahead — especially now that she has improved arm strength. Still, he never told Namine, “Do not scoot!” This just goes to show that not only does she pay attention, even when we think she’s not, but also that she takes her health seriously.

* It seems to be the thing to do among children’s doctors and other experts to prepend their title — “Mr.” in Mick’s case — to their first name. Interestingly enough, while Namine called Mick “Mr. Mick,” she refers to all her female therapists solely by their first name.

Also interesting to note is that the doctors in the pediatrician’s office all insists on being called “Dr.” plus their last name. Anything else is offensive, I guess. Come one, people, she’s five. Lighten up a bit.

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