What’s Up, Doc?

Charlotte had her 18 month well baby checkup on Tuesday.


She’s behind in fine motor skills, which we were aware of going in so it wasn’t a huge surprise. She’s excelling in other areas, and we know the fine motor things will come in time. Frankly, it doesn’t bother me in the least that she can’t take her own shoes off yet (one of the “milestones” the pediatrician expected from her) because if she could, there would be no keeping them on her damn feet. Not that I want to suppress my child’s development for the sake of my own convenience, but we all know that’s pretty much impossible, anyway—they grow whether we want them to or not! Still, no rush on the shoe thing, kiddo.

We were admonished for not yet taking her to see a dentist, but the pediatrician we saw at her 1 year visit (ours was on maternity leave) told us her teeth looked great and not to worry about the dentist yet. Whatever. We’ll get her to a freaking dentist.

I was scolded for night nursing because it’s bad for her teeth. This from the hospital who has breast is best literature plastered EVERYWHERE throughout OB, Labor & Delivery and Maternity. She actually had the nerve to say, “You can nurse her all you want during the day.” Don’t even get me started.

“Does she know who Minnie Mouse is?” the doctor asked as she prodded Charlotte’s tummy. When we replied no, she said, “Good. She’s not watching television, then.” I’ll just leave that one there and let you have your own thoughts on the matter. (For the record, I will totally deny the existence of an Instagram video of my daughter standing in her crib post-nap singing “Let it Go.”)

We were given “the look” because we haven’t weaned her from the bottle yet. We knew that was coming, too, but two 5 ounce bottles of milk a day is not going to destroy our 18 month old. We’re choosing our battles these days. I’m sure she’d have had some choice words about the pacifier too, but she didn’t see it so we were spared. It’s not that I don’t care about her teeth, it’s just that while I am still quite sleep deprived, I care more about my waning patience and mental stability.

At 34.75 inches long, she is in the 99th percentile for height. Also not a surprise. Weight was 27 pounds, which explains why I was really missing our Tula when she wanted to be carried at the zoo this weekend. (I just haven’t been able to bring myself to spend the money on a toddler one because it’s so rare that she wants to be carried.)

Three vaccinations later, we were out the door with a very, very upset little girl who absolutely did not appreciate being jabbed with needles.

Let’s skip to now. Our nanny texted us yesterday afternoon because Charlotte had a low-ish fever and a rash. She sent a few pictures of the rash. I decided I should go ahead and contact the doctor’s office just in case. It was getting late in the afternoon, and I was worried that if I didn’t reach out to them, I’d get home and things would get worse and the office would be closed. So I was trying to be proactive, which was good because by dinner time, she was rashy all over and totally lethargic.



The response I got was this:

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Now, I have absolutely zero medical training, but I actually knew that much. Shocking, right. Who knew I was so smart?

What I feel is lacking from this response is, “Let us know if it spreads.” Or “Call us if the fever reaches X.” Or “Is she uncomfortable?” Or “If it’s itchy, you can try X.” Or “No need to worry unless you start to see XYZ.”

This is not the first time I’ve been disappointed in an email response from a nurse at our doctor’s office. The last time I was in touch with them, they gave me the wrong dosage instructions for ibuprofen. Double the amount she should be getting. Fortunately, I knew it was wrong, but what if I hadn’t?

As I told Catch over dinner last night, I know these people are busy. Especially the nurses. They are overworked, underpaid, and expected to work miracles. I have a crazy amount of respect for nurses. I don’t think I would have survived Charlotte’s delivery (mentally, anyway) if it hadn’t been for one rock star nurse.

So I get it. Nurse is busy. I get a response that takes her two seconds so she can move on to the five thousand other things she has to do before she can go home.

What I have an issue with is that if the medical professionals cannot take the time to adequately (and safely!) address patient concerns via email, email should not be an option for contacting our providers.

End rant.

Spoiler alert: Kid is totally fine this morning. No sign of rash anywhere. Still, I feel I was justified in reaching out to her doctor, and I feel the response I was given was less than helpful.

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28 thoughts on “What’s Up, Doc?

  1. Dude, it has never even occurred to me to even offer or encourage my kid to take off his own shoes. I just do it for him out of habit. I had no idea that was a tracked milestone.

    Pretty much every doctor and dentist is going to say that night nursing is bad for teeth… but if you read up on it from other sources, you find that a lot of teeth issues are genetic and there’s not much you can do about them anyways. As long as you are brushing, you are fine. Thousands of women who night-nurse have kids with no teeth problems, and thousands of kids with teeth problems do not night-nurse. You just have to smile and nod while you silently tell them to piss off. This was what I did every time my doctor told me about my kid needing their own sleep space.

    That Minnie Mouse question is just dumb. My kid watches TV, but he has no idea who Minnie Mouse is. His show is Sesame Street. That also seems unnecessarily sexist to ask about Minnie Mouse and not Mickey or any other character. That’s another subject I just smile and nod at. I know screen time is frowned upon, but seriously, who can avoid screen time in 2017?

    So far I’ve really liked our doctor’s approach of providing guidance without asking questions. It makes it to where I don’t have to lie and don’t have to get scolded, but still know his opinion. Like, there will be questions about development, is he walking, is he pointing, etc. But instead of asking, does he watch tv, where does he sleep, the doctor just provides his advice on the matters and we move on.

    • Yeah, the Minnie Mouse thing was so bizarre. If she’d asked if Charlotte knows who Elmo is, it would have been a TOTALLY different conversation! It is not possible for me to get ready for work in the morning without Sesame Street. (Unless I get up at like 4:30 am, I suppose…) And the shoe thing, yeah–news to us, too. I’m definitely going to start hunting for another doctor now. I’ve always been sort of lukewarm on this one, but like you said, I usually just smile and nod while mentally going, “Nope.”

  2. Oh your doctor would hate us! Summitt and Jace are 22 months and still each take 1 night bottle, scream at the TV Minnie and Mickey, haven’t seen a dentist AND do not take their own shoes off because I always do it for them..HA
    Charlotte is doing just fine I am sure without all of those things and I am glad the rash was nothing and you didn’t need more help from the less than helpful nurse.

    • I think it’s great when they have guidelines, but we’re not bad parents and our children are healthy and happy and well cared for–why lay on the shame/guilt? I think they need to work on how they frame these things. Like, “She’s still taking a bottle, so just be sure to keep an eye on her teeth and brush well. If you can get her to use a cup, it’s better for her teeth.” I wouldn’t have bristled at that nearly the way I bristled when she said, “She’s STILL taking a bottle?” I mean jeeze–it’s not like she’s going off to first grade with a bottle. We’re still measuring her age in months. Give me a break.

      • My wife is about to be a nurse and our kids watch TV, you’re doing a great job!! That doctor sounded judgy – I don’t know if I would have been as patient as you to smile and nod lol! I hope you find a new doc that you all love!

  3. Sounds like that was a tricky appointment to smile and nod through!
    Glad that rash is gone! I’m totally pro vaccines, but they sure can be hard on the little ones.

  4. I was at a NICU followup appointment for my girl, and in reference to her language delay the Dr. started lecturing me “You need to read to her more, Mom!” without even asking about our reading habits first. I was completely offended. And after having an awesome Ped practice that always went above and beyond, we now have the just okay practice that seems to resent any any suggestion that they should do more than the bare minimum. So, all my sympathy!

  5. Ha! I’m on the terrible parent train too, apparently. What a judgy mcjudgerson! I mean, I get letting parents have information, but anyone with kids knows that you pick your battles and that different things work for different families. Television under two isn’t going to ruin their ability to play, the dentist isn’t going to be able to do much at all at 18 months (per our dentist who is seeing Darwin for the first time tomorrow, and just for a ‘fun’ visit), and yeah, night nursing? Shall we talk about the 45 minute screaming distraught wandering around the house two and a half year old from two nights ago when I told her out was too early to nurse at midnight? Guess who got to nurse after 45 minutes?

    You’re doing great. Charlotte is a lucky kid.

    • What I loved about this visit is that I walked out of there with the confidence to roll my eyes at the doctor. No mom guilt here. I know my kid is smart and strong and healthy. There’s things we could do better (cough–FROZEN–cough) and yet… We probably won’t, because we are only human. She’s not going to go to first grade with a bottle in her lunch box, her teeth aren’t going to fall out (um… until they do, lol), and Sesame Street isn’t going to result in a failure to thrive (Frozen, however–well, we’re careful about that!). YOU CAN’T SHAME ME, doctor lady.

  6. Man, that’s not cool. Just a lot of negativity from them doesn’t help when most parents already feel like they screw things up daily. I wish you could use our pediatrician. They do a good job of not making you feel bad even as they make recommendations. Ours was so happy we are still breastfeeding at two, but he would prefer we cut back on night nursing. But I also choose my battles and she clearly isn’t ready right now.

    taking shoes off is a weird milestone. It isn’t mentioned in our questionnaire. I don’t think melody really does it either, but more out of lack of interest in doing it. It seems like Charlotte is doing just fine. And this is a time of quick growth. Just keep those different types of toys in front of her and she’ll be taking those shoes off in no time. lol

    • We’re always working with her on fine motor things, but you know how toddlers are. If they’re not interested in stacking blocks, you can’t force them to! She’s more interested in verbal and gross motor things right now, so those are just the things we spend the most time on because they make her happy. I think our ped needs to learn how to better balance being informative versus being judgy.

  7. Huh. The combination of things you describe in this post would probably have me researching alternative pediatricians. Just to have them in mind. But well done, you, with your mom confidence!

    Fun fact: As a toddler, Clementine knew who Elmo was without ever having watched an episode of Sesame Street. To this day, we have no clue how it happened.

  8. Whoa, yeah – that all sounds pretty judgey on the part of the paediatrician. Good on you for being confident enough to know that the problem was with her and not with your parenting. I tend to take stuff like that way too personally.

    We took J to the dentist when she was around a year and the dentist looked in her mouth for about 30 seconds and charged us about 50 dollars – I doubt that it was any more useful than having a doctor look at her teeth (which would have been free…)

    And that response to your email would have made me pretty mad – I think it makes a lot of sense to be worried about a rash, especially after a vaccine.

    • I thought that rash was one of the things on the “call the doctor if…” list post-vaccines. Guess I was wrong! Lesson learned! (Actually, not really. I’m just going to find a doctor that doesn’t make me feel like an ass instead.)

  9. Honestly, I would consider looking for a new practice– between the less than stellar doctors and the disappointing nurses. You all deserve to be treated more kindly, and with more respect.

  10. I’m with others. Find a new one. That doctor has weird things to judge you on.

    My 2nd child night nursed and did have major teeth problems. I was told by the pediatric dentist that it’s bad to night nurse. Then at another appointment, one of them said, “I used to tell parents to clean their teeth after nursing but now that I’m a mom, I don’t see how you would go waking your child to clean their teeth.”

    • Yeah, I think I’m going to do some research and see what I come up with in terms of options for a new doc. I do see how night nursing can be problematic for their teeth… and yet NOT night nursing is bad for just about everything else at the moment, and heck if I’m going to brush her teeth in the middle of the night. That’s just nuts. We’ll kick the habit soon enough (I am soooo done).

  11. I made the policy decision right after birth that I would not be tracking any of those developmental milestones. I always just compare myself to a pioneer, who would not have seen a doctor unless extremely necessary, and figure if she’s happy, healthy, and growing, I don’t care when she starts rolling, drinking from a cup, or taking her stinking shoes off.

  12. Your doctor would have lectured us if we saw her at 18 months. Our pediatrician is so laid back. He did encourage us to drop the last bottle habit by 18 months, but didn’t lecture about tooth decay. He also said taking a baby to the dentist before age 2 was not necessary and only to get the child familiar. I do need to book a dental appointment though now that HR sorted his benefits out.

      • I just booked his first dental appointment for next week. See, your pediatrician guilted me by proxy. I got recommendations from my mom group, so hopefully it’s as good as they say. I read an article several years ago that red heads feel more pain going to the dentist. Apparently it’s a thing.

      • Having experienced 3 failed epidurals, I totally believe all of the redhead anesthesia/pain stuff now. I was skeptical before, but now I know to fight like hell to make sure my mini redhead is comfortable!

  13. Milestones kinda annoy me. I know they’re there for a reason- to help identify gross delays and get kids the intervention they need earlier. HOWEVER, it totally stresses parents out. I just know that Anders will be behind for some developmental milestones because he seems to be developing like I did as a kid- and I have a friggin’ doctorate and played sports at a very competitive level. As for the teeth thing- are you brushing her teeth? My sister (who is a dentist), says the night nursing isn’t a big deal if we’re brushing regularly. Plaque takes 36 hours to develop, so if you’re brushing at least that frequently, those milk sugars on her teeth won’t be a big deal. We’re night nursing too, and think it’s one of my favourite moments in the day.

  14. Uh my immediate reaction was – Find a different pediatrician!

    I always figured milestones were guidelines… and everybody develops at different rates with different things. My brother was way behind in the stupid milestones of the times when we were young, and now he is a mechanical engineer at a really prestigious national lab…I mean…its really just to each their own.

    I’ve also heard that as long as you are getting in some teeth brushing they are fine. And the dentist and the pediatrician both told me as long as we take her to the dentist between 2 and 3yrs old there is nothing to worry about…

    Hang in there mama!

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