Do you have a toddler, let’s say between the ages of 14-22 months? Have you been to the pediatrician lately? If so you will know what I am talking about.....this is not this easiest age to visit the pediatrician. Parents always wonder why I “warn” them about their visits during this period....it is because I know what to expect and it is not “hi Dr. Sue, so happy to see you!”
By the time your child reaches this age they have been to see their pediatrician at least 7-8 times for their routine check ups and immunizations. Many toddlers have had a few extra visits due to illness as well. So, while the doctors and nurses have smiled, and oohed and gooed over your baby, your baby has also been processing what happens at those visits.....not all of it may have been pleasant, right? (Necessary for sure but not always painless).
So suddenly their brains are working over time. Just the very thought of entering the exam room often sets off tears and crying (often very loudly) Your child is put on the exam table where they are weighed and measured (and where they have had shots, or their ears cleaned out). Your child is thinking, NO WAY!
But, don’t be alarmed, you should be proud...as your child is brilliant! They are remembering experiences and their brains also processing what is going to happen....and for a toddler that usually means that this is not the HAPPY place. Rather their brain says, “I want to ESCAPE”.
I always try to prepare parents for these visits as it is disconcerting for a new parent to see their child so upset and distressed. Many times the doctor visit may actually be “easy”; no shots, no being held down on the exam table, but try telling your toddler that! It sometimes help to play doctor at home with their own doctor “stuff”, but many times a toddler is just “not buying it”.
So...don’t be alarmed if your happy toddler “freaks out” when their name is called to head to their pediatrician’s exam room. This is just a stage, like so many others and this too shall pass, hopefully quickly for all involved (parent, child and pediatrician).
The visits from 2 on get easier and happier, at least until those teen years.