By Sarah R. Moore
It was my child’s four-month checkup. She was thriving; ahead on all her milestones. Smiling, rolling, babbling, and snuggling were her favourite pastimes. We were happily growing and learning together; her as a little human, and me as a new mama.
My husband and I had chosen her first pediatrician wisely enough. He was the senior owner of his medical practice and had many years of experience. His wall was covered in accolades and advanced degrees; his resume far above the norm. A friend of ours used him for all three of her kids and loved him. And, as fate would have it, he happened to be the doctor who’d been assigned to check on all the newborns at the hospital the day our daughter was born, so we felt it was a “sign” that he was right for us.
In his office for that four-month checkup, however, I wasn’t so sure. He’d seemed a bit grumpy during our prior visits, but with his qualifications being what they were, I’d given him the benefit of the doubt.
We’re all entitled to bad days. It surely wasn’t personal.
We waited for him in the patient room to which we’d been assigned.
He thundered in shortly thereafter and began with “What questions do you have?”
Well, okay. I offered a “Hi.” I asked him something about child development and he retorted with a quick, “If you’d read the handout the nurse gave you before I came in [he picked it up and shook it for emphasis], you wouldn’t be asking things like this.” A bit taken aback, I responded, “Actually, what the nurse handed me is paperwork about two-month milestones, and this is my child’s four-month visit. Do you have the paper for her age, please? I’d be happy to read it to see if it answers my question before we continue.”
He grabbed the two-month paper and tossed it in the trash, not handing me the alternative; not answering my question.
Instead, he continued, “How’s sleep?”
Responding honestly, I offered, “She had a seven-hour stretch last week for the first time. So, I got a little overconfident. We’re up every couple of hours again, but I’m okay with it. She’s getting her first tooth a little early and working on lots of new skills. This too shall pass. We’re happy.”
To that, he replied, “You’re ridiculous. Don’t go to her when she cries. Let me know when you’re ready to get serious about parenting.”