Annual Angst

Because I am first in line for the Mother of the Year Award once again, Reed just had his 10yr annual physical in September a full four months after his actual 10th birthday. In recent history, a four month delay is actually not so bad for me.

I am sure that the doctor’s office judges me but I really don’t care. Well in reality I do care, but I don’t care enough to motivate me to get on the ball and make the appointment in advance.  The kids’ birthdays come at the same time every year, so the annual trek to the pediatrician should not come out of the blue. Yet somehow it does.

Because my kids are relatively healthy, these visits are pretty mundane. That is until the doctor starts going over her check list of questions. In this particular practice, kids over the age of 5 answer all questions that they are able to, themselves.

This Q&A session causes me to squirm with each child, each time. It is not that I have anything to hide, but our track record with this ritual has not been good.

Like the time when Mac was about 8 and he filled out the survey with questions regarding safety in the home. When the doctor came in the room, the first question she asked was, “How do you take safety precautions with the guns you have in the house?” I had a total Three Stooges moment as my head swiveled from Mac to the doctor and back again all while emitting a strange squeaking noise through my nostrils as I took huge gulps of air.

Since we had no guns, this should have been a relaxed, no-brainer moment for me. But whenever a medical professional asks you a leading question, it makes you ridiculously nervous.  We cleared up the issue once Mac explained that he had answered yes because we had visited a friend’s farm that had an antique gun case; which by the way was fully locked and secure. Because the question did not limit gun exposure to just your home, he took the literal route as he is prone to do whenever it simultaneously throws me under the bus. Yet, somehow the literal interpretation of everyday requests, like “Go to bed, now” are completely lost on him.

What really stings is that this same question tripped me up again on Reed’s most recent visit as he included Nerf guns and air-soft in his thought process. I really need to start snatching that questionnaire and getting a peak before the kids hand it over.

Another shining moment for the Stiles was Drew’s interview with the doctor when he was approximately 5 years old.  The doctor asked about his eating habits, naps and the like to which Drew replied briefly and shyly. I was so proud of my big boy, finally answering his own questions.

Pride turned to humiliation as Drew was asked about sleeping through the night.  Suddenly, he was downright chatty and effusive, supplying more information than was actually necessary. He detailed how he could always go in and sleep with his dad because mom and dad don’t sleep together in the same room.  If one was not paying close attention in that moment, one might have missed the imperceptible side-ways glance that the doctor gave me, but I saw it alright.

So, like a 4th grader in math class, I raised my hand in order to interject.  The pediatrician, clearly amused by this revelation, turned to me with a look of anticipation. I carefully, and with more information than was actually necessary, explained that I had been sleeping with Reed every night in order to let daddy slumber while I dealt with Reed’s digestive and breathing issues that always flared up in the middle of the night. I tossed in the occasional nervous titter to punctuate the absurdity of Drew’s story but she looked non-committal as we moved on. To this day, I manage to work into every appointment the fact that we do indeed sleep in the same room just in case she jumped to conclusions despite my deliberate—and truthful—explanation.

Reed, also took a ride on the literal train recently when asked about sitting in the front passenger seat.  Riding shotgun has not lost its appeal since I was a kid but we do follow the safety guidelines for height and weight. So, when the doctor turned to me and said that the air bag could do serious damage to Reed, I nodded in agreement. Oh, yes, dangerous indeed. Yesiree, want to avoid that air bag.

And when she went on to point out that Reed did not meet the recommended height and weight for a front seat passenger, I nodded and looked straight at Reed to emphasize that this was not my rule but instead a burden for me to enforce. 

Then, something clicked mid-nod and I realized that she was teaching, not reviewing these rules. Man, not again!  After a little more interrogation, Reed revealed that he had answered “yes” to the question about riding in the front seat even though the maximum distance he had ever gone while seated there was around the block to the garage.

Those little examination rooms get hot when you think that Social Services is waiting in the lobby for you to intercept a hasty retreat.

My kids are oblivious to the havoc they wreak with these answers but I swear the doctor is thoroughly entertained. I am sure they would disagree and say that asking the pint-sized patient is merely a way to get the truth. Doctors know we parents lie to make ourselves look good; most of them are parents themselves.

In the end, I may not be Mother of the Year but as long as my kids are telling the truth, however literal or unflattering it may be for me, I guess I must have the right prescription.



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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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