Dr. Poppins

Liev met his new pediatrician today.  As we waited in her exam room, he bounced around, rambunctious. Swifter than me, he snatched a jar of tongue depressors nearly scattering them across the floor. He moved on to medical equipment, yanking blood pressure cuffs, and pulling on assorted black tubing.  The stress of keeping him contained made my eyes bulge and hands shake. Fortunately, I brought books.  He plopped down on the floor to read Hatful of Seuss as I re-focused my anxiety on the contagious diseases bound to lurk on the tiles.

In choosing a pediatrician, I selected Dr. Poppins for her decades of experience and her serene, pleasant photograph.  In person, she resembled my beloved grandmother. Her demeanor, however, was more like our no-nonsense family internist, Dr. Bass.  

Unlike Dr. Settles, Dr. Poppins was not a touchy-feely doctor. No doubt, she had been in the trenches with male doctors in the 1970s, and I immediately admired her. I kept calling her “Ma’am,” to her annoyance. She asked me to call her “doctor,” which mortified me. Nervous, I intended to be polite and respectful, not indecorous. I reminded myself she earned the title doctor, and by goodness, I would oblige!

Dr. Poppins impressed as a competent and knowledgeable pediatrician. She confirmed that Liev has a speech delay and that he has enough of one to merit evaluation. I was shocked. Her manner downplayed any seriousness, however. Dr. Poppins also said that the change in our living arrangements likely caused Liev’s sleep problems.  She added, “Do what you always do, regardless of your mother-in-law.  He might scream, but he will feel more secure with a return to your way of doing things. You are not harming him.” Boy, was I relieved to hear that!

Liev is big for his age, 98th percentile. Further, he seems very bright. But an observation floored me: Liev’s daily living skills are below average.  He doesn’t feed himself with utensils or drink out of a cup. I’d only give him a real cup if I wanted to spend the day changing clothes and mopping up liquids.  He can do many things, but others you can’t force. 

The visit with Dr. Poppins relieved me. I needed support for my intuition, and with her input, I hope to set limits and preserve my sanity.

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