The Pediatrician is a Bullshit Free Zone
It’s almost time for your toddler’s two-year-old well baby checkup, also known as “the time when you become concerned that your toddler is somehow not reaching milestones properly, or that his head is too big.” But you can rest easy, because even though it’s a pediatrician’s job to point out problems, they all know that milestones vary widely, and are more of a loose guideline than a hard-and-fast rule.
Still, sometimes it’s tempting to fudge a little and say that, yes, your toddler loooooves her veggies and gets plenty of servings (even though you know full well she’s been on a strict diet of chicken nuggets and yogurt lately), or that she barely gets any screen time (if “barely any” means a couple hours a day). But it’s important to give the doctor an accurate overall picture of your toddler’s lifestyle so that if there is anything worrisome, it’ll be easy to trace a possible cause.
Doctors are a common fear among toddlers. Your little one might not remember the kind face and soothing voice of his pediatrician, but he damn well recalls that the last time he was up on this exam table, he got a painful poke. (Luckily, there aren’t many shots at the two-year appointment — only the hepatitis A vaccine is necessary at this point.)
To prep your toddler for a doctor visit, read books or watch episodes of favorite TV shows about it (there are plenty of them, featuring familiar characters like Dora and Elmo). Play with a doctor kit, letting him know what each instrument does. If he’s worried about shots, don’t lie to him and tell him it won’t hurt; instead, tell him that it will be over very quickly and reassure him that you’ll be right there next to him. And never use the doctor as a threat, like, “If you don’t eat your veggies, I’ll have to take you to” – dramatic pause – “the doctor.” Finally, lots of praise after undergoing a checkup can go a long way. And ice cream. There’s always ice cream.
Scary Mommy Tip: If you do something fun together as a post-checkup reward, make sure it doesn’t just depend on whether your toddler was good. Sometimes the anxiety can overcome a little one and it’s hard to control. Instead, focus on the fact that you both made it through — now that’s something to celebrate.