I accompanied my daughter to her last annual well-child visit to the pediatrician with a sense of nostalgia. As I sat there in the waiting room, I reminisced about all the other times I had accompanied my children on these visits through the years.
I was always such a stickler for getting my children to their yearly appointments, much to their chagrin. At these routine exams, they would get a physical and developmental assessment. In addition, they would get vaccines, and guidance about safety, nutrition, sleep, and the like.
. . .
Baby and Toddler Exams
When my children were babies, their pediatrician appointments were somewhat nightmarish. My strong-willed infant son would howl at the top of his lungs until all hell broke loose.
He even had to be restrained by two nurses for his routine immunizations. But, on the other hand, my baby daughter was much easier to handle as she was a more subdued child. She would merely whimper when her annual vaccinations were administered.
. . .
School-Age and Adolescent Exams
When my son and daughter were very young, I would schedule both their well-child visits back to back. The pediatrician at the time would conduct the checkups with both of them in the same room.
Our favorite pediatrician — Dr. D — was a jolly, older gentleman. With his grey beard and silvery hair, he resembled Santa Claus more than a physician. My children adored him, and he had the remarkable ability to make them relax and feel comfortable during an appointment. But, of course, their favorite part of the visit was getting a lollipop at the end.
As they grew older, Dr. D would ask one of them to leave the room while he completed the physical exam on the other one. I would remain in the room to chaperone the exams and procedures until they were around 12 to 14 years old.
Our visits began with the kids and myself talking to the pediatrician together, followed by the children meeting with the pediatrician alone. Teenagers need to learn to speak directly with their physicians and develop a rapport with them. It is a critical skill when they leave for college.
Fortunately, the children did not mind if I remained in the room for at least part of the visit, and I felt better being privy to at least a portion of the doctor-patient discussion until they were 18. All the same, I must admit I felt a pang when the children returned to the exam room without me.
. . .
Now that they are both over 18, they can go to their appointments alone and no longer require my support and guidance. But, dare I say I miss accompanying them to routine doctor visits.
It is undeniably bittersweet for me. Still, I feel secure in the knowledge that they are mature, independent young adults. And in the long run, it is all I can hope for them.
This post was previously published on A Parent Is Born.
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