Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yearly Shaming of the Parent

Today, I brought Jillian for her yearly check-up at the doctor, which is really code for the yearly parental shaming ritual in which I firmly believe doctors delight.

The visit is pretty much the same every year.  First, the nurse asks the child to get undressed to ensure that parents can't grab their child and bolt from the room in pure embarrassment. 

Once the clothes are off, they begin asking questions.  This is the part that parents dread the most.  You see, the questions are always addressed to the child.  The doctor speaks directly to the child, and in no way shows desire to involve the parent in the discussion.  This is bad, because the parent can only sit back helplessly and pray that the child answers correctly.  God forbid they don't, because a raised eyebrow from the doctor ensues and the non-verbal shaming begins.

Based on my daughter's answers, the doctors
probably think this is my idea of parenting.
I'll write some of the questions below, and let you imagine the possible responses as you read.

Do you eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day?   -   Doctors love to start with this question, because it makes parents squirm.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I have yet to meet a child that actually eats five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  I'm lucky if I can shove one green bean in my daughter's mouth before she fights back and makes a break for it.

Do you get cavities?   -  This was unfair because yes, there was one visit when she had three, but the rest of our visits have been uneventful and cavity free.  But of course, Jillian perks up and can't wait to tell the doctor all about her three cavities, leaving out the fact that it only happened once and that the dentist already shamed me for the incident. 

Do you exercise?   -   Jillian says no.  But that isn't true because going to the park and running around the house after her brother like a crazy person totally counts as exercise.  She doesn't bring that up though, so I look like a shitty parent. 

What do you do when a stranger asks you to come with them?    -  Jillian says, "Say no."  Really?  I've hammered that into their heads from day one and all she can say is "say no?"  Ug.

Do you ride a bike?   -  The answer she gave was no, but this is not for lack of trying on our part.  She is a cautious child who is still too afraid to do it on her own.  Again, however, the questions are not directed towards me and I can't supplement why she can't ride a bike.  I just have to put up with the disapproving glance.

It wouldn't surprise me if doctors start giving parents report cards based on their yearly questioning.  All I know is today, I came across as a big fat failure. 

At least it only happens once a year.

Beth - 0
Jillian - 1


  1. Doctor's always make you feel bad. I disagree. You're a great mom.

    Beth - 1
    Jillian - 1 (heck if she's not losing a point just because you are gaining one)

  2. Oops. Meant to say...

    Beth - 1
    Jillian - 1 (heck if she's losing a point just because you are gaining one)

  3. Beth, although I do not have children, I had to endure the shaming at my annual gyn visit this year. Do you eat five servings/do you exercise five times a week/how many drinks a day sort of questions were standard (albeit ANNOYING--and because they annoy me so I answer with brutal honesty and act unfazed when they lecture me). But this year, a new doctor (one I will never again see) asked me if there were "any new partners" for my husband or me. I was incensed! I made a mental note that next time, no matter whether I have to wait an additional three months to get an appointment with my regular doctor, I will not see that woman!


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