Friday, September 25, 2009

Being a Laid Back Mother Makes Well Child Checkups Rather Uncomfortable

My lack of clean clothes did not bode well for Matthew's doctor appointment. (I ended up wearing a shirt so faded it's nearing its initiation into the "only wear why cleaning" pile and Matthew's underwear had an unraveling waistband.)

So sporting a slightly frumpy & frazzled look, we started the interview with the doctor. It went something like this:

Doctor, "So this is Matthew's first time to visit us?"

"Is it?" I madly try to remember which of the kids I have or have not yet to bring to the doctors' office. It is difficult. When I had our last pediatrician release our records to this office, they didn't have charts on my two oldest- I hadn't brought them in the entire time I lived there. I figure, as quickly as I can, that 3 of my kids have been to this office, 3 have not. "Yes, I guess you're right."

Doctor, slightly confused about why I am confused then asks, "So you just moved to the area?"

"Well, it's been almost 2 years now."

Doctor, slightly flustered that this statement of my lack of medical care for my healthy child didn't fluster me, "I see that he has had a couple of ear infections."

"He has?" I knew I had brought him in for some sort of meet the doctor thing 6 months ago! That is the only way that could have been written in the file, because by now I have forgotten that I ever wrote ear infection down on his history. Then I realize that most mothers would remember this because they would have come in for the infection, whereas Peter took care of it for me so I'd forgotten. Besides, I am already failing this interview so I try to cover with, "Oh, yeah. Ear infections. Yep."

Doctor, in the hopes of frustrating me as much as I've frustrated her, "So he is behind on his immunizations, he needs shots today."

"Yeah, I know. These are the last set before his kindergarten shots, right?"

Doctor, thinking I should be breaking down in tears from my lack of proper child care, "No. He has to get a set of shots today and then more for kindergarten. You are BEHIND on shots."

"I know I'm behind, this will catch him up. This is the LAST set BEFORE his kindergarten shots, right?"

Doctor, begrudgingly admitting that I'm right and that I knew where Matthew stood with his immunizations, "Yes."

Then came some exciting questions about his development:

Can he say his full name? "I have no idea, every time I ask he thinks it is a game of coming up with silly names." I ask him his name right there and it turns out he does know his full name. I politely not notice that the doctor seems disappointed.

Can he copy a circle and line? "I don't know."

You mean he doesn't color at home?!? "Oh yeah, he colors. I've just never asked him to draw a circle. Oh, wait. He draws people with circles and two lines for the legs, so change my answer to yes he can."

You didn't answer if he can ride a bike. "Our tricycle broke 2 kids ago, so I'm not sure. He can scooter and ride this tractor thing (which unfortunately hasn't broken through all 6 kids), but it doesn't have pedals. "

Is he in a day school program? "Nope."

At this the doctor's eyebrows raised and I thought I heard a suppressed tongue click. I felt bad, not about how I am raising Matthew, but that I wasn't going to explain to this lovely lady that I had 6 kids and I had learned to not sweat the small stuff. I'm pretty sure it would have hurt my case even more.

The worst part of the whole visit was when I found out Matthew thought getting the shots meant he was old enough to ride the bus to school with Joseph. Anyway, turns out he is a healthy, normal 3 year old, but I already knew that. Luckily these things only happen once a year (or at least are supposed to happen once a year). So that means I won't be going back for ... about a month, when I have the makeup appointment for the appointment I accidentally missed for Ryan. I am expecting it to be a lot of fun. As long as they don't ask me any questions expecting an actual, knowledgeable answer.
Maybe they'll just give up if we come in regular attire:

PS- Is the slogan "immunize by 2, it's up to you" or "immunize by 3, it's up to me"? Because I'm hoping its the latter.


  1. I love the new slogan!

    I rarely take my kids into the doctor. In fact the last well-child visit either of them had was right before kindergarten. But typically if/when they get ill it only lasts for a day or two. And what milestones are an 8 year supposed to hit?

    Clean clothes are totally overrated.

  2. I am just laughing because I can totally see you sitting in with a doctor who is flustered and you are calm as a cucumber...did you tell her that you LIVE with a doctor? That would have probably ruined the fun of her getting frustrated...or maybe not. In any case, Matthew is darling and cute and sweet, frayed underwear or not.

  3. Yeah, that reminds me of my last trip to the dentist, when they ask if I brushed my 4 year olds teeth or if I let him do it himself....not wanting to look like an idiot I said we went back and forth, then she said he had tartar build up....ugh. At least they were really nice about it!

  4. I only have three kids, and my appointments always sounds just like this. My sister (who has 3) keeps a notebook of times that symptoms appear and medicines are administered, so when she goes in for an ear infection or whatnot, she makes us all look bad!

    I usually try to diagnose online before going in, and I get points for being right. Dr's don't get points for that, just negative points for being supercilious.

  5. Too funny. Next time let Peter bring him and see how the appointment turns out!

  6. you definitely have an excuse since his father IS a doctor... man, i think we might just be the total opposite of you when it comes to kids and doctors... i'm the one that calls about a runny nose or sunburn and wants step by step instructions on everything!! ha ha ha

  7. You are a mom after my own heart! :) This is so me. Thankfully, I have a laid-back doctor too. That helps.

  8. So funny. Glad I'm not the only one slacking off when it comes to the doctor. Luckily I can say that the kids have an appointment for next week!

  9. Steph- My thoughts exactly! Although in our state they have a mandatory physical for Kindergarten and 7th grade (booster shots and some blood test).

    emma jo- I figured doctor as father would be noted in the chart. In fact, maybe she didn't even realize I had 5 other children (because my answers would be more odd if he were my first).

    Davis Family- I can barely look our dentist in the eyes. Although ever since he recommended a fluoride rinse, we haven't had any more cavities (Did I mention the pediatrician told me to NOT give them any fluoride- and I didn't even contradict her (out loud)).

    Jane- I was that way from the time my first was born. I can't even imagine keeping up with symptoms like your sister. I usually know what they're going to say, too, but I've cheated and gotten a diagnosis at home first.

  10. Kim- He took Kirsti to her last appointment, now I have to get an EKG test. I think I'll stick to them not being overly cautious and go without them (unless there is something specific I want done, then I'm all about pulling rank).

    Vi- We probably are opposites then. I'm saying "the fever went down to 104 after medicine, I think I'm still OK, no need to call the doctor yet."

    Alyson- Woman after my own heart. I think most of the doctors in this practice are more laid back, that is what I look for in pediatricians.

    Andrea- For my youngest, I never took them unless they needed shots and then it was at a clinic. Here, well child checkups are a little more expected and they have a uniform form for physicals that are filled out every year.

  11. Charlotte, I just love you. You put a grin on my face.

  12. I second what Vee says. You are awesome!

    If it makes you feel better we haven't really found a doctor (except one who gave us some medicine for samara's sore bum that said poison on the label) here so our 2-year old wellness check-up consisted of weighing her on the luggage scale at the airport and looking up the growth chart online to make sure she was growing normally.

  13. so funny! Sometimes I feel like I live at the doctors office. sigh. Such a cute picture!

  14. so funny! Sometimes I feel like I live at the doctors office. sigh. Such a cute picture!

  15. Thanks for the good laugh. I feel slightly uptight now for fudging my answer to the pediatrician this week. It seems I never tell them the right answer as to how much milk she's getting each day, so I started telling them what I think they want to hear. I was wrong. The actual amount she drinks would have been the correct answer. "No points will be awarded and we are all dumber for having heard that." I give up. We're going Charlotte-style next time. (Do you know how much milk your child is getting each day? Hmmm?)

  16. Charlotte! I loved this post. First, because it doesn't make me feel like I'm a bad mom (NOT that YOU are a bad mom, whatsoever, of course!) but I'm always behind on this sort of stuff and I've got so much on my mind I always forget these little details. But I, too, think it will work itself out somehow, right? I was WAY late with daughter's shots. She was overdue by like 1 year. I just prayed that it'd all work out and it did but they were all weird about it with me in the docs office! (We're always running late, too, so we're raggy looking when we go. I always say "I promise I DO bathe them. Girl Scouts honor!"

  17. Being a relaxed mommy is so good, but can make it seem like you don't care. I know that you are watching out for all the important things, which is really all that matters right? What a funny post. Makes me feel good to know someone else is just like me!

  18. Holy cow, in New Mexico it's "Done by
    one" with the shots and stuff...crazy. I wish it was thru by 2 or whatever it is where you are.

  19. I like my laid-back pediatrician. I usually try to remember to ask if the next check-up is in one or two years. With my then seven-year-old, he said, "Two years if you like, or whenever you think she needs it." When #5 was an infant, I had a really bad feeling about getting him immunized, which I had never experienced with my other four. I told the doctor this and he said, "Then lets just wait. I think mom's gut feelings are trustworthy." When the baby turned 20 months, I didn't feel weird about his shots, and we caught him up. I love that my doctor trusts my guts!

  20. Do they teach that in medical school? How to make moms feel dumb...because I always walk away wishing I had initials after my name to prove I know what I am talking about! I'm hoping to be a little more laid back with this one!

  21. Well check up are so over rated especially when you live with a doctor. You kids are doing just fine. Matthew is so cute. Wish I could see him in person.

  22. Vee- Glad to see you online again!

    Bikmans- That is more of a well baby check up than I gave my older kids.

    Boyer family- You do practically live there, but you have a good reason!

    Abby- It has never occurred to me to lie. I always feel like they throw trick questions in there to "catch you". "Your child does that? Ha! They shouldn't be able to do that for 5 more years. You failed this portion of the test for cheating."

    Gabby- Welcome to the real mom club!

  23. Ambrosia- that's the thing, I have a pretty good idea of where he is developmentally. Stopped doing all the little tests a long time ago. Plus it seems every state we live in asks different developmental questions, so I never know what to expect.

    East of Eden- that seems really early. I wonder if they require less shots? I know UT has more immunizations required than the East Coast.

    Mary- I wish I could go to your guy. He is probably used to large families. Not so much here.

    Shalise- I think they do have courses in that somewhere...

    Tucker Mom- It helps (hurts?) that I never go in for strep or ear infections or pink eye. More convenient, but harder to keep track of.