Following Your Kid’s Doctor’s Orders


Let’s not call it an excuse for my child’s behavior or development concerns but rather alternative causes. From the support and words of encouragement from other parents, I am reminded that all children develop so differently. Take for example Humnoy again. He rolled over before he was four weeks old, took his first unassisted steps at seven- and a-half months, walking by eight months, and signed a few words and even understood a bit of Laotian by 12 months. All these amazing achievements were overlooked at this doctor’s visit and we have an evaluation appointment with a speech language pathologist Monday morning.

In addition to the referral for speech delay, there were many other concerns and just as many recommendations from Humnoy’s 2-year well checkup. I’ve had three weeks to analyze, implement, or re-evaluate these concerns in relation to Humnoy’s personal strengths and unique skills.

‘On small side of weight and height but proportionate’ We have a running joke that if Humnoy’s not sleeping or on the boob, he’s constantly on the go. Even while he’s eating, he’s moving his legs and actually now that I think about it, he even does that while breastfeeding. I know there are just people who just are built small, especially breastfed toddlers. I should’ve asked what growth chart the office uses because Humnoy has been and is breastfed. I don’t think it’s fair to pit him against all children. Dr. Sears wrote, “”Lean” means having the right percentage of body fat for your individual body type.” I don’t agree with measuring against an average when every child most certainly is not. The doctor recommends to add butter/olive oil to his meals and take a multivitamin. I’ve done that but I don’t think it matters for all this constant calorie-burning he does.

the breastfed toddler

Photo credit: The Alpha Parent

‘Limit tv/screen time to 1-2 hours a day’ He’s a tv baby. That’s my least favorite parenting moment for me. I didn’t hesitate to turn on Blues Clues because I need to get lunch or dinner made. I hand him the Netflix app when I sense a tantrum coming from the boring grocery shopping cart. There were plenty of days where pregnancy took its grueling toll on me and Curious George let me rest from first trimester woozies. This was a welcome recommendation and I took it by the horns and followed through less than the allowed amount of TV time and it’s for the better.

‘Read frequently and sing/listen to music’ His new interest in books has surprised me the most. I shouldn’t hold the story time disaster against him, I suppose. We have encouraged reading and he loves reading with his dad, which I think is a great reward because he is so excited to spend time with him after being away from home for almost 12 hours. I turn on Pandora and we practice my swing moves. That’s a win-win because I estimate I won’t be back on the dance floor for a while or at least until Lanoy is not such a boob fiend.

‘Time outs – use consistently and for 2 minutes’ Ahh, the most controversial out of the whole bunch. Humnoy has had some issues with throwing, hitting, and kicking. He actually hit the doctor on her knee, which I believe prompted this last-minute recommendation on his chart. She asked how I handle it and I tell her I try to re-direct his behavior or remove his toys. She then brought up how I can’t really remove “when he hits somebody.” Okay, true that so she offers up time-outs as the answer. We’ve done time-outs and I personally feel they are innately damaging. My biggest realization was it is preventable and, here’s the excuse, Humnoy is cranky. One of his basic needs weren’t met and he’s lashing out in protest or a cry for help. In day care at the gym is the only other time he has had this behavior issue. I ran an experiment: instead of normally going to the YMCA at 11:00 am, which is lunch time and then nap, we are ready to leave right after breakfast, which is soon after waking up. He’s both full and well-rested. The first day I tried this, there were no issues. Coincidence? Maybe but it saved the embarrassment of my kid pushing another kid at day care for once.

What doctor’s orders have you welcomed or disregarded?

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30 thoughts on “Following Your Kid’s Doctor’s Orders

  1. I practice “They ask, don’t tell”, lol. I just tell them what they want to hear because my of my patenting choices are not consistent with mainstream parenting and therefore leads to lots of “advice”- no thanks.

  2. I LOVE THAT graphic! Awesome. I think moms have the best radar for how their kids are doing. Why do doctors not get that some kids are smaller than others? I have two giants and one peanut. It makes perfect sense genetically when you look at our family!

  3. I think you have a good head on your shoulders and are striking the right balance between exploring whether there could be an issue and not freaking out quite yet because someone in a white coat is saying there might be an issue. Like, when Potamus was about 2 weeks old I took him to a Breastfeeding 911 class because we were using a nipple shield and I was discouraged and I was worried that we’d never get it right…the nurse (who was approximately 107 years old) told me that he had a tongue tie or a tongue thrust and needed occupational therapy ASAP and to take him in to get a prescription to go to Children’s Hospital. Holy freak out batman! But it didn’t sit really well with me, it didn’t ‘feel right’ and so I did some more research and saw another lactation consultant and started a baby group and it turns out that I have freakishly overactive letdown and he was drowning…at about 7 weeks he figured it out.

    I think his new found interest in books is a good step, and it is WAY easier to use a phone/netflix/episode to distract from tantruming, And if he’s having a hard time communicating, and his body is communicating for him ( I used to talk with my crisis counseling children about their body trying to tell a story) then a timeout can be shaming and counterproductive ESPECIALLY if you are an attachment parent. I think a time-in might be more appropriate…not sure what that would look like, but I think when they are frustrated they need more attention, not less.though that’s easier said than done.

    • I am taking extra precaution to best divert any possibility of tantrums and I notice a huge difference. I love your idea of ‘time-in’ by giving them the attention and calming them down with them rather than against their feelings. I’ll definitely try that next time. It really just makes sense in AP.

      • Yeah, another thing I worked with parents on (and am really trying hard to do) is to give words to the actions…using my best guess as for what the emotion is. I was always taught “stop crying,” rather than, “you just hit the doctor on the leg. I’m wondering if you might be frustrated/mad/upset that you’ve been in here so long.” or when he’s crying, “I’m sorry you’re frustrated that you can’t go out to play right now,” etc. It’s hard for even ME as an ADULT to put words to my own feelings when I’m super frustrated (I want to hit people too, little man!).

        Also, there might be frustration for him since he probably understands a lot more than he can express, so if the doctor is saying things like he’s too skinny or whatever…

  4. Do not get me started on the BS of the medical community. We took sumo for his four month check up last week and me and my pediatrician were about to go to war in her office. She complained that he was underweight.. Mind you he was a preemie so he has made a major jump from the 3lbs 15oz. He was when he came into this world. The boy is almost 13lbs and already over 2ft long.(at four months) I’m not going to over feed him for her. I feed him until he is satisfied.

    Next she will pretty much destroy our happy moments. She will say things like “he isn’t really smiling at you. They are hard wired to mimic you.” Yeah? Really? Then explain to me why he smiles at me when I come
    Into a room and it isn’t gas? She couldn’t.

    Then I questioned about giving him food versus just Breastmilk because he is ready.. I now have to fight him for MY food. She says no food until 6 months. But when I stated in general conversation I was making the food myself .. Suddenly a moment of reconsideration of my request.

    Every child is different and will do things in their own time. They cannot assume that every child will follow the same exact pattern. Then you have to consider the home life. If the child comes from a two language household like yours or mines.. There will be a delay if both languages are spoken equally. This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the child, it just means they have more to absorb.

    Ugh sorry to rant but that’s a attitude inducing moment for me lol

  5. Our pediatrician has a policy of “I don’t give parenting advice unless the child is in danger or the parents ask.” And I’ve always been grateful for it. For the most part I have a take what I want, leave the rest/all approach when it comes to the medical community assuming what my parenting is/should be like.

  6. I would really, really like to know if there’s any sort of limit to how freaking far out of bounds doctors will go. They didn’t go to school for parenting and by the sounds of it this doc doesn’t really realize that, while frustrating, hitting is pretty normal. Especially when the poor kids has been cooped up in a boring doctor’s office. Really especially if she’s been jamming sticks down his throat or flashlights up his nose or generally groping him, as doctors are wont to do. He’s a bit too young to really consent to that stuff so it’s no wonder if he’s perturbed by it.

    And, sigh, doctors also don’t seem to go to school for common sense. So he’s small compared to the ‘corn-fed-white-kid’ chart? Uhuh. Did she notice he’s ASIAN?? We had the same problem at the opposite end of the spectrum. But what I don’t get is the recommendation to just add fat. I know so many people who get the same advice and it’s totally absurd. There isn’t any part of that that’s actually about making him healthy, it’s just about making him match a number in a textbook. There’s a big difference between saying ‘make sure that you’re not shying away from calorie-dense foods, because at his age, the full fat versions of things are good for him’ and saying ‘pour butter on it.’

    I’m like the commenter above, I’ve learned just to not tell them stuff. I’ve also had such bad luck with being given info I KNOW is wrong that I patently ignore most things they say to me now. It’s sad. I go to get shots or prescriptions and then leave.

  7. My son is also a little small on the chart, and I never saw it as cause for concern! My son went from hugging strange children to pushing them around 18 months. He got over it after being in daycare for a while (socializing, I suppose) but I agree that bad behavior can surely be preempted by making sure they are full and awake. 🙂

  8. First of all, I know children who didn’t talk until they were 4 years old, and they’re perfectly normal and smart. I think as mothers we really rely on the information doctors give us, but they have a one track mind. Not one doctor told me “children are dfferent, they grow and learn at different rates”, I learned that on my own. I use to be nervous with Rayne because she didn’t talk for quite awhile. Other kids her age were talking like nobody’s business but she kept it down to a few words. But now, at almost 3, she’s a jabber jaws. And as for time-outs, they are not for everyone. It really depends on the child and parent. Also age plays a big part in it. I think starting them is very difficult, it was for us. I tried time-outs when she was one and a half, and newly 2, and there were hours of a fit. But now when Rayne does something she knows she’s not suppose to do, I’ll send her in time-out, she’ll cry, then she’ll calm down and apologize and it’s all good. She learned what time-outs were for and the behavior that puts her in one. It doesn’t really prevent those tired whiny fits, but it does prevent her from being naughty now that she understands. But like I said, It depends. Everyone is different!

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