The first pediatric visit we ever went to was for my sons first check up after he was born. We got the lecture about germs, keeping your dogs away from the baby because they might mistake it for food and eat it, breastfeeding is the only way to feed your baby on earth so don’t fail, you know – regular stuff.
After having our second baby, I went to the pediatrician and got the same lecture. Half way through, I tried to cut the doctor off to explain that I had been a mom for 14 months now so I totally got this – “don’t let the dog eat the baby, use the 5 sec rule for all things that touch the ground (germs build immune systems), and I was a failure because I didn’t breastfeed”.
He continued anyway and I realized – I loathe going to the pediatrician and I am not even the one getting examined or poked with needles.
This is because every time they run down the list of questions, instead of being honest and proud of myself as a mother – I lie.
They are small things. Things that really aren’t going to make or break my children. I still lie because I cannot sit through a lengthy lecture about the risks I am taking as a parent.
I will not really be listening because I will be running through the list of things on our to do list in my head. We have groceries to pick up, dry cleaning to drop off, endless amounts of laundry to wash, fold, and put away, pets to feed, coffee to drink, snacks to throw all over the backseat after crying that we want snacks, dinner to think about making before calling to order a pizza, and a couch to sit on and sulk after we realize that we did not end up accomplishing HALF of our list.
The pediatricians mean well, I get that. I just do not feel as though I need to be talked down to about the decisions I make for us to survive some days.
Screen time. Every visit the pediatrician says “and no more than two hours a day of screen time? oh my, I mean even two hours is kind of a lot” and I say, “oh no, of course not – he hardly watches screens” and in my head I’m thinking “only when he eats breakfast, while we’re waiting in a long line, during rainy days after we’ve done every activity we can..” BUT I will not say that out loud. I will absolutely tell that to my MOMS Club moms and all my friends with kids, because they get it. Sometimes the television, iPad, tablet, cellphone, etc. is the only way you get anything done in a day. Power on screen time moms. I got your back.
Sugar. I am always asked if I limit sugar intake to basically none – no juice, no sweets, no gummy snacks, basically nothing but oats and grains. I say “oh, no we don’t really eat sweets” when in reality I eat dessert after almost every meal – including breakfast. My daughter drinks apple juice daily (and not the watered down kind) because it is the only way to keep her belly regular outside of giving her the Miralax THIS pediatrician recommended. I also do not mention that I more than likely had to bribe them with Dum Dum’s to get them to stop screaming in the car on the way here.
Outside time. My kids LOVE to be outside. They would play outside all day some days if I would let them. With that being said, there are days when my son out right says – I want to stay inside. I know that he gets enough time outside so when he requests that we remain indoors, he genuinely wants to stay inside and we do. The pediatrician makes it a point to ask me, every time, if we’re getting two hours a day outdoors. I do not bother to tell her, no not everyday. This is a silly one I think, but I find it unnecessary to justify that we sometimes do not go outside at all then go outside the next day for four hours.
Sleep situation. The nurse ahead of the pediatrician AND the pediatrician ask if my children sleep in their own space. I lie. Yes, they do go to sleep in their own space every night and 9 times out of 10 they wake up there too. Like any other child, sometimes there are difficult nights and sometimes, my son ends up in our bed. I do not take him back to his room when he comes tip toeing into our room, walks to my side of the bed, and taps on my shoulder so I can lift him up onto the bed. Instead I let him snuggle in and go back to sleep. She would probably have a lot to say about this. I don’t want to hear it.
Eating habits. “Do they get enough fruits? veggies? starches? proteins?” she asks. I’m thinking “uhhhh.. what is enough and HOW do you get a toddler to eat enough? They eat enough French fries, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and mac + cheese – you know in case that is also on your questionnaire.” But seriously, if you know how to get your toddler to eat enough of the food pyramid – send some tips my way.
Carseat. Every. freaking. time. the pediatrician says “and he/she is still in a carseat?”.. well no doc, they’re riding shotgun with me like Bonnie + Clyde. What? Yes. Of course they’re still in a carseat. How else do you think I get ANYWHERE by motor vehicle without them throwing themselves out of the sunroof? I don’t lie but I do withhold information by not telling her how ridiculous of a question I think this is.
Sibling dynamic. Since having a second child, I am always asked about their relationship. “Are they getting along well?” she will say. “Yes, they’re like little best friends” but what I leave out is that the one that can talk, tells the one that cannot to stop touching his toys and when she does it anyway, he yells and she pushes/hits. I mean, that seems like a normal sibling dynamic to me. No need to discuss further.
I know our pediatricians really do mean well, I swear I know this. I just cannot listen to another lecture about how to care for a child. I have successfully kept the oldest alive and well for two years and eight months, I cannot imagine that I will struggle with the second. Like riding a bicycle.
Are you totally honest with your pediatrician? I would love to hear about it!