I’ve got a great pediatrician. She knows her stuff, gets down on my son’s level, and lets me ask as many questions as I want without rolling her eyes.
For the most part, I follow her advice. I’m fairly new to this parenting job and my 21-month old son didn’t come with a manual. Kids really should come with manuals, right? With a troubleshooting section and 24-hour tech support.
But sometimes I know my son better than his pediatrician and I know what’s going to work in my house and what is going to be met with frustration and tears from both of us.
1. Ditching the nightly bottle
My son’s pediatrician has been trying for months to get me to ditch the bottle. We acquiesced on the morning bottle around 15 months and it worked out just fine. But my son still needs the bottle at night, both psychologically and nutritionally. He doesn’t drink as much as I’d like during the day and he refuses to drink milk except in his bottle. Not only is the bottle before bed a soothing way for us to relax and bond, he’s getting liquids and nutrients he may have missed.
Plus, most pediatricians won’t give a nursing mother flak about breastfeeding so leave me and my bottle alone.
2. Brushing teeth twice a day
I know, I know — I have to be better about this one. My son gets his teeth brushed diligently every night. But to anyone who pushes me to brush his teeth more than that, I challenge you to come over in the morning and get those baby pearly whites shiny while avoiding flying fists, feet (and anything he can find to throw) all while having your ear drums rupture from the shrieking.
Baby teeth fall out anyway.
3. Letting my kid and the dog share a spoon
The dog is a permanent fixture under my son’s chair during meal time, which means he catches anything that gets launched from his tray — pieces of quesadilla, a handful of mushed strawberries, a sticky Cheerio. And utensils. My son is learning to feed himself with a fork and spoon, and it’s a work in progress.
Which means that when that spoon hits the floor, the 13-year-old dog forgets his arthritis and has that spoon in his mouth faster than you can yell “Nothat’sgrossdon’tpickthatupSTOOOOPPPPP.” By that time, I’m already exhausted and way too tired to get up and get a clean spoon. And it’s just going to fall back to the floor in 15 seconds anyway. So back to the toddler it goes.
Now to be fair, my pediatrician hasn’t actually told me not to let him share a spoon with the dog, but I figure it’s one of those things she would frown on.
4. Not following advice on diaper rash
Several days in to what would become a monthlong scourge of fevers, rashes, and bronchitis, with a side of explosive diarrhea, my son’s pediatrician recommended a concoction of creams and medications to heal his ugly-looking diaper rash. It involved two types of diaper rash cream, yeast infection cream and Maalox.
I tried, I really did. But when you get all that cream on there and then have to dab Maalox on with a cotton ball, it turns into this runny, paste-like substance. And with a squirmy toddler who is pretty darn interested in his nether regions, that concoction winds up everywhere except the diaper area. In the end, I ditched the Maalox and his skin eventually healed up perfectly.
5. Calling in the specialists
I am your classic Type A, Defcon 5, high-strung New Yorker … living in the Deep South. My son was born 11 weeks prematurely, leaving him with a bunch of question marks as to whether or not he’d have physical or developmental delays. I am beyond grateful that we seem to have dodged all the major bullets and that my son is expected to completely catch up, but if I see something that might be not quite right, I get it checked out immediately.
I was the one who requested a neurological work-up when his legs seemed unusually stiff. I was the one who requested a speech therapist when my son’s communication skills seemed to be further behind than normal. My pediatrician didn’t advise against the specialists, but she does take more of a wait-and-see approach and has kindly advised me to take my worry level down a few notches. The latter is probably good advice.
6. Picking a preschool
My son will be attending a preschool program for 2-year-olds in the fall. Coming from New York City, where picking a preschool is like entering your child in the toddler version of the Hunger Games, I was all ready to have a plethora of choices.
Until I realized that there was not a plethora of choices in my new town. My pediatrician recommended a school that had a very loose 2-year-old program, meaning the kids would have circle time and story time, but really it was more of a daycare for moms who needed to drop their kids off for a couple of hours while they ran errands. When I took my son to visit, all the kids were sitting on the rug watching TV. Ummm … no.
I ended up picking a Montessori school. My son and I loved it, and I think it’s going to be a great choice for him.
The moral of the story? My communications degree is no match for my pediatrician’s medical degree. Nine times out of ten — okay, more like 9.9 times out of 10 — she’s right. But sometimes you have to pull the mommy card and hope for the best.