Every 3 months (as long as there's no illness in between) Sweet Pea has to go to the Pediatrician for a "well-check." Following is a list of things I love about these visits and things I loathe about them.
Things I love:
1) Our Pediatrician. We LOVE her! I will invite this woman to S.P.'s wedding and I bet she'd come too. I really feel like Dr. Love loves our child almost as much as we do. She is very knowledgeable and was the first Dr. in the hospital who legitimately addressed Sweet Pea's deafness. She also has a very thick South American accent so that whenever she walks into the room and calls S.P. Piece of Heaven (which she does every time :) it comes out as "Peeth of Hayven." She will sneak in the room just to check S.P.'s ears when we're just in for shots, even though she's not supposed to see us without charging for a visit. Did I mention that I love her? Because of her, I am willing to put up with all of the things I loathe about the visits and will not see any of the other Doctors in the practice unless there is an emergency.
Now for the Things I loathe:
1) The waiting: Being the Type-A Mommy that I am, I used to schedule her appointments with a precision that would be praised by NASA. "Let's see, she naps at this time and eats at this time and needs to nurse at precisely _ o' clock, so let's say 10:45." Well, apparently they take a note from car rental agencies (Seinfeld reference) and know how to make the appointment, but not necessarily how to keep the appointment. It always seems that we have a short, sweet wait in the germiquarium (waiting room) and I breathe a sigh of relief when we are called back. Such a tease! All that happens here is that S.P. gets weighed and measured and forced to strip down to her diaper and wait for the Dr. to see her "in just a minute." Now we wait. A naked baby, a Dr.'s exam room, a diaper bag, and me. More on this fun time in the next section. Finally we get the blessed knock-knock (what am I going to do, say "Umm, we're not ready yet, come back later") and Dr. Love comes in to work her magic. No matter what we have to discuss, this part of the visit takes maybe 10 minutes. Then we wait some more for the nurse to come "in just a minute" to stab S.P. with needles. Of course I'll stick around for that! By this point Sweet Pea and I are both bored, tired, hungry and cranky which is exactly the frame of mind you want to be in for getting shots/seeing your baby get shots. When we finally get them and get calmed down and dressed -finally - we get to schedule our next visit. Joy! I have learned to plan for at least 2 hours and bring as much food, milk, and entertainment as my diaper bag will hold.
2) The nakedness: OK, I understand that they don't want to weigh baby's clothes. I will happily strip her down to her diaper to pop her on the scale. But why, exactly, must she stay that way until the Doctor comes in? Again, I understand that Dr. Love will want to see her in all of her chubby glory and check for bumps, bruises, tails and spare change that may have lodged in a fat roll. Honestly though, it takes all of 10 seconds to remove a onesie. Can I not pull it off as soon as soon as I hear the knock-knock? I don't want to be shunned (or forced to wait even longer) but I'm tempted to re-dress her next time just to see what kind of demerits I get.
3) The inability to put baby anywhere whilst waiting: So here we are naked (just baby, not me) and trapped in a windowless exam room with a chair, an exam table and some cabinets that most certainly do not contain fun things to play with. I can set her on the exam table which is covered with delightfully rustle-y paper that becomes crumpled into a wad within 5 seconds. Add to this the fact that baby loves to roll/crawl/walk/generally move around and this thing is at least 3 feet off the ground. So the table is a no. That leaves the floor? Yeah, I'm going to let my "well-check" child crawl and walk around on the floor where a limitless number of germs, fluids and shoe gunk from total strangers lurk. The only two realistic options are the stroller and my lap. The stroller is OK for a few minutes until S.P. wants to get the wiggles out and explore this new room. Ditto for my lap. After a couple of board books and some diaper bag toys, she is bored with Mommy and wants to get down. We usually end up rotating between the two and walking/dancing laps around the room naming things we see with our sign language.
4) The germophobia: I am usually of the "a little dirt never hurt anyone" school of thought now that baby is past the newborn stage of no immunity. Dirt is one thing, germs that you know are there from all manor of sickness is an entirely different matter. As soon as we walk in the door, I am launched into a state of germophobia which does not lift until we get home and take a bath. I don't want Sweet Pea to touch anything - especially the communal toys and books which have been pawed over by all of the sick children in the waiting room. Naturally then, we bring books and toys from home. But now her favorite game is the "Mommy Pick It Up and Give It Back Game" and all of her toys and books get dropped or thrown to the floor. So now the game has new rules which include Mommy picking up the toy, wiping it with the nuclear wipes in the Dr.'s office and then blowing them dry so that S.P. doesn't ingest weapons of chemical destruction and THEN Giving It Back.
Thank goodness Sweet Pea is a healthy baby and we only have to go through this once every 3 months. And thank goodness I am a stay at home mom and don't have to add wasting a 1/2 day off work at the Doctor's office to the list!