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Missing Handbook

Joined: 1/10/2015
Posts: 2

I took Portia in for her three-year check up. I was relieved that this would be one of the easy ones-- no vaccines required! I figured we'd bounce those curls in the through the door, check out her ears and walk right out again.

I was wrong.

The questions started out easy enough.

"Is she saying 600 words?" Asked the nurse.

Portia is very talkative, and has been so from an early age, so at first I nodded. Then I began to try to calculate what 600 words she knew. Brother. Baby. Bike. Car. Hungry. Please. Thank you. How many is that? Eight. Oh that reminds me she knows her numbers 1-20. Plate. Bowl. Doll. Truck. Dog. Am I at 600 yet?

After staring off into space for a few minutes I forcefully decided, "Yes."

"Can she count to ten?" Having just covered this in my head, I smiled and nodded. Got this test in the bag!

"Can she stand on one foot?"

Well, I know she can jump from the couch to the chair. She can twirl super fast. She's really quite talented at skipping. I've seen her leap off of benches, tables, rocks, stumps...but I couldn't be sure if ever on one foot.

"I don't think I've very seen her do that." I admitted.

The nurse quizzically looked at Portia, who was currently wearing a patients gown featuring tigers and bears, which was comically hanging open in the back, displaying her naked buttox. She had insisted on keeping her cowboy boots on.

"Can you make her stand on one foot for me now?"

I did a mental eye roll. You can't really make a three-year-old do anything on command, can you? But this was a test, and I don't like to fail. I tried making it a game but she wasn't going for it. I tried bribing her with a candy cane but she pointed out that I had already promised her that for just going to the doctors (I think it should be noted in the file that she has EXCELLENT reasoning skills). Finally I assured the nurse she was perfectly capable, so just check that off of the list.

"Can she draw an 'X'?"

Seriously? Is there a parent handbook out that there and I did not receive a copy? Was there a practice test that I hadn't gotten? A memo or email or text or page or a letter that every parent got before their checkup that instructed them on what to quiz their child on?

"She draws all of the time," I said. "She draws rainbows, fairies, her family, the moon and the stars. She draws her stuffed animals, trees and flowers. She tries to write 'P' for Portia, and 'H' for Huxley. But I'm not sure I've ever seen her draw an 'X'."

The nurse sighed, clearly displaying her dissatisfaction with my being so unprepared for her questions. She started to suggest that we ask her to draw one then, but Portia had climbed under paper which lined the patient seat and was poking holes in it with her tongue.

"I'm gonna mark that one down as a 'yes'." She muttered.

I understand the point of checking on a child's developmental milestones. I get what the questions were designed to establish. But if you're going to give that specific of a pop-quiz, and also be upset when we don't know the answers, then just go ahead and mark me in advance in the "unwilling participant" category.

Maybe next year at her checkup I will bring in some of Portia's "Necklace Soup" to show off her excellent culinary skills. Or perhaps I'll have her do her one-woman rendition of the "Frozen" soundtrack to show her memory, tune and dancing abilities.

But if someone out there, by chance, has a copy of the aforementioned parenting manual, I'd really appreciate a copy.
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Comment by warren

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
So here I am, a few years older than Portia, having a tough time responding to the questionnaire at the doctor's office and later kicking myself for responding at all to what I consider inappropriate questions. I guess it's not really that important. Let's forget the manual.
Posted: Monday, January 26, 2015 8:12:20 PM
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