The Best Two and a Half Year Old Ever

July 8, 2006 at 11:46 am (Uncategorized)

“How was the doctor, Mommy?” Andrew asked me yesterday afternoon after awakening from an abbreviated nap.  I had seen my local physician for a post-accident check-up before Andrew had gone to bed.  He used the sweetest tone imaginable and even gave me a little pat.  He’s also taken to giving me “magic kisses” on my impressive bruises.  “I make it better,” he says.  The other day he even dragged out his doctor kit and put the fake stethoscope on my arm.  “You need a bandage,” he proclaimed.  And this morning, when he was nestled up next to me in bed, he piped up, “How is that arm doing, Mommy?”

Before I declare him the best and kindest boy in the history of mankind (which he is), I should be clear that he’s had too much experience with Mommy going to the doctor and of being concerned about my health.  Every three months we fly across the country to see sarcoidosis specialists; in between these doctor-a-thons, I’m frequently at appointments in Helena for ongoing infections, intermittent testing, and check-ups.  I hate that Andrew has had to become so attuned my health, so solicitous of my injuries.  But I am delighted that he has become such a little gentleman.

In addition to my ongoing medical saga making him into a more sensitive human, I think it’s also making him more comfortable around doctors.  After the car accident, Andrew was unbelievably calm and collected.  He was strapped to the neck injury board for well over two hours in the emergency room and was poked and prodded by the doctor and the X-ray technicians alike, but he only started crying once, near the end, and this was from boredom more than anything.  (Of course it helped that he had his Grandpa, his chief partner in mischief, along to keep him busy.  I looked over from my own neck injury board at one point and saw my father batting around an inflated surgical glove and Andrew cackling with glee.)

When he first was wheeled into the emergency room from the ambulance, the doctor pounced on him.  Dr. Zohari seemed to be a kind and competent man, but he has a thick Egyptian accent – and he talks really loudly and really fast. “Do you have a pain in your belly?” Dr. Zohari bellowed at Andrew.  “He’s asking if your tummy hurts?” I translated.  “No,” Andrew said, but you could tell by the way his voice slid up a little that he wasn’t sure what the right answer to this questions was.  “Who am I?” Dr. Zohari yelled.  “A doctor,” said Andrew.  He knew that answer was dead-on and gave Dr. Zohari a “Well, duh” look.  “And where are you?” the doctor added.  “The hop-i-tal,” my little guy said.  Satisfied there was no head injury, the doctor stalked off to bellow at my mother.

Perhaps it is because I am always scurrying off to important appointments far away that Andrew has developed his rapport with doctors.  In fact, it’s more of a reverence for them.  And I’m ashamed to say that Jay and I have, well, shamelessly, exploited this trait.  We’ve learned that we can get Andrew to take his foul-smelling antibiotics and tylenol and benadryl when he is sick by telling him how proud the doctor will be of him for swallowing this syrupy-sweet putrid crap without much fuss.  “Dr. Danielson [his pediatrician] will be so happy,” Andrew says when he chugs down his medicine.  We say we’ll call the doctor and tell her how amazing he has been.  And Andrew will even remind us to do this the next day.  Jay and I have both made pretend phone calls to Dr. Danielson to praise our son’s medicine-taking skills.  I’ve even stooped so low as to pick up the phone and threaten to call the doctor to tell her he won’t take his medicine.  “No,” he shrieked and grabbed the spoon and swallowed the whole dose in a panic.  I know, I know, I win a bad mother of the year award for that one, but it seems nicer than sitting on him and shoving a syringe down his throat.

As good as all this is, it wasn’t until we had a follow-up visit with Dr. Zohari a few days after the accident that I discovered another – more exciting – side benefit of Andrew’s ease around doctors.  He is more likely to become one – at least according to Dr. Zohari.  Having been married to my Jewish husband for nearly ten years, I feel I am entitled to claim myself at least partially as a Jewish mother.  As such, I think medicine is the perfect career for my son.  (If that doesn’t work out, I suppose I could settle on him being an attorney.)

Dr. Zohari told us that he had never seen a two-year old like Andrew.  “He is able to answer me, to listen.  He knows so many words.”  He was especially impressed by the fact that Andrew took deep breaths on cue when the doctor was listening to his lungs with his stethoscope.  “He is the smartest kid I have seen,” he concluded.  (And he has two kids of his own.)  This came as no surprise to me.  Another aspect of assuming the mantle of stereotypical Jewish motherhood means that I know my son is the most perfect human being in the walking-on-water kind of way.  (But then I have to remind myself that a real Jewish mother wouldn’t go too far down that road).  After Dr. Zohari told us that Andrew should be a doctor, he turned to me and said the responsibility was in my hands.  His advice was to be like his mother and make Andrew carry his own bags.  This was the secret to Andrew’s success?  Carrying his own bags?  Jay and I have been working way too hard.

All silliness aside, I don’t care what Andrew chooses as a career.  Just like every mother of every creed, I want him to be happy and healthy.  I want him to be kind and good.  I want him to find the love of his life and stay with her for his entire life (as long as I get grandkids!)  This, of course, is all big-picture.  Right now, I’d just like our lives to be such that he gets to be a little less familiar and comfortable around doctors – unless it’s time to take some tylenol.

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