I think I am a pretty good mother. I try to do all the things that good mothers do. My children are my focus. I live to make sure that they are happy, healthy and well-adjusted. Most days I walk around confident in my motherhood awesomeness. And then.....it's time for a wellness check up at the pediatrician.
We take our well children to the doctor once a year because it is the right thing to do. Everyone needs a yearly physical and children are no exception. You feel relatively smug about actually remembering to make the appointment in the first place. Then the day arrives and off we go. Now the doctor can see what you already know, your child is the picture of health and it must be because YOU are so amazing.
It always begins positively. You show your insurance card to the office staff, then you follow the nurse to the back. She takes his height, weight and blood pressure. You are assured that the numbers are phenomenal. The nurse is all smiles. Then you are placed in a waiting room. This is where every thing begins to unravel.
Please undress your child down to his underwear and put on this gown. Seems simple enough. I got this. The nurse leaves. My son instantly tells me that he is NOT going to let the doctor see his underwear and he is certainly NOT wearing that "lady dress". You are well aware that nurses and doctors are just on the other side of the door listening, so in your sweetest, most reassuring mom voice you tell your child that it is perfectly okay. Mommy is right here and the doctor is only trying to do her job. She has to make sure that you are healthy. Once again he shakes his head no and NOW you have been officially challenged to a wrestling match. You will get that little nincompoop out of those clothes and shove him into that lady dress if it is the last thing you ever do. As you approach the screams begin. Arms and legs are flying, yours and his. You give him that threatening look, with raised eyebrows and clinched jaw. You do NOT want to be heard screaming at your child. Not here. You don't remember him being this stout. You whisper in his ear that if he will wear the gown you will buy him ice cream when this is all over. You negotiate back and forth, and before you know it, you have agreed to ice cream and a skate board. He puts the gown on. You stare at one another, as each believes to be the victor.
In walks the doc, as you sit there smiling, hoping she will not notice the perspiration on your upper lip, from the confrontation that just ended. She sits down with her clip board and begins to ask your child questions. Before you know it you are involved in a situation that feels similar to what an FBI interrogation must be like. How many ounces of water do you drink a day? Milk? Juice? (What does a kid know about ounces?) How many servings of vegetables do you eat a day? My son naturally responds none because they are disgusting. Great there is strike one. She looks at me over her glasses. I feel like I should interject here, make her understand my struggle. She is not interested in my side though. She has the answer she was looking for.
How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Six?? Did he just say six?? Obviously the boy sleeps more than that. Why is she asking HIM these questions? I blurt out that he actually sleeps 10 to 11 hours a night. Why is she not changing the answer on her pad? How many hours of tv/video games do you play a day? Oh crap. She got me on that one. Do you wear a bike helmet every time you ride your bike? My son says he does when he feels like it. What is this kid doing to me?
It is already obvious that I was not handed the rule book when I gave birth. Suddenly I am overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. Of course I prefer my child to drink milk or water with his meals. Of course I beg and plead with him to eat his veggies. It only makes sense that too much tv/video game time a day is not good for his brain. Why is she recording all of these responses? Is there going to be a detailed report printed? Suddenly I feel light headed. I have lost all control here. For goodness sake can't we just get to the physical?
And just like that, she was done. She said "Okay. I have everything that I need. Let's check you out." I exhale for the first time in 10 minutes. She does his physical exam, tells me that he looks great, shakes my hand and walks out. That's it? Where is my score? Did I pass? Should I expect unannounced visits from child services? I quickly remove the lady gown, which he now insists that he wear home. I dress him, grab my handbag and we make our way down the hall. I hold his hand as I glance over my shoulder to see if they are actually going to let me leave with him. Once outside the building, we get into the car and drive away. I finally relax, glad that is over.
As I drive home I reflect on being a mother. We all want our kids to eat healthy foods. Are there times we give them Pop Tarts for supper? You'd better believe it. Are they always well rested, having got 10 hours of sleep? More times than not that is the case. Have you even been so tense from the noise and demands that you find yourself announcing "Spongebob is on tv!" Yes I know that is not the best show for kids but do you know what that sponge represents?? My sanity on some days. Am I a perfect mother? Absolutely not. Am I a good one? You had better believe it. Everything is going to be okay. I made it through another year of doctor's inquiry. I am certain I will be in the hot seat again next year. What is most important is that I love my kids and they know it. I mean look at him right now, how happy does he looks with his ice cream cone and skateboard?
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