Thursday, October 2, 2008

Green-eyed monsters?

I just love, love, love my son’s pediatrician. He genuinely loves children and the practice of medicine. He is knowledgeable, patient, and never hurries you and constantly asks if you have any other questions. He has the ability to make you feel as though your child is the only child he has to see that day! He truly understands the angst of new parents and if you call with a minor problem such as a child throwing up, he will advise you what you need to do to keep the child hydrated. However, if he still hears any inkling of worry on the parents’ part, he will promptly make time to see your child and reassure the parents before sending them home with the same instructions as he had given them on the phone—usually pedialyte! He never makes you feel like a dork for worrying unnecessarily—his maxim is that a worried parent does not make a very good caregiver, so he believes in treating the child and making sure the parents are reassured! He totally believes in patient-centered medicine, and sees the practice of medicine as a partnership between the patient and the physician. He gives you all the different options about resolving a medical issue, and then his recommendation based on his experiences, but then totally lets the parents choose the option that works for them. Knowing that he has your child’s best interest at heart, it is so easy to follow his recommendations! We have never chosen an option that was not his recommendation!

Our son had his well-baby check up today and we discussed the adoption. He took time to ask us about our adoption and also gave us input from a pediatrician's point of view. He advised that most times when a new child comes into the home, parents tend to attribute the older child's acting out to jealousy of the new sibling. However, he told us that jealousy requires abstract thinking and a child has not yet mastered this skill. A child acts out to get attention because he or she understands that mom and dad are not spending the same amount of time with them as before. It would require abstract thinking to connect the arrival of the new child to the less attention and then going the next step to squarely place the blame on the new state of affairs on the new child. He said it would be the same as a parent spending a lot of time planning a family reunion. When the child acts out to get mom or dad's attention, the parent instinctively knows that the child is acting out because mom and dad are spending more time on the phone and less time with them. The parents never say the child is jealous of family reunions! He advised that the parents spend time trying to solve a problem that does not exist—“jealousy of the new child” instead of trying to solve the actual problem--carving out time to spend with the older child and reassuring the child of mom and dad’s love for them.

We talked about my son’s eating patterns, and while my son was playing with my husband and reading a book on trains, I told the pediatrician we are still trying to get new ways for my son to eat his vegetables. I did not even think that my son heard our conversation, but later when the pediatrician was examining him, he asked him what his favorite food was. My son promptly replied, “Vegetables”! Of course, I will be reminding him of this!

No comments: