Five.

Day 22. National Blog Posting Month.

My eldest is going to be 5 years old in a few days.

Five.

Going on fifteen.

In the span of just a few months, she has suddenly developed an attitude.

Me:  “Time for bed.”

Her: “Why?”

Me: “Because I said so!”

Her: “I don’t want to.”

Me: I didn’t ask if you wanted to.”

Her: “You’re not the boss of me.”

From WebMD (The bold is mine):

4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Emotional and Social Development

Your self-centered child is now figuring out that it is not always about him or her. At this age, children are starting to understand about other people’s feelings. Your 4- to 5-year-old should be better able to work through conflicts and control his or her emotions. 

Emotional and social development milestones your child may achieve at this age include:  

  • Enjoys playing with other children and pleasing his or her friends

  • Shares and takes turns, at least most of the time

  • Understands and obeys rules; however, your 4- to 5-year-old will still be demanding and uncooperative at times

  • Being more independent

  • Still confuses make-believe with reality

  • Expresses anger verbally, rather than physically (most of the time)

Lately it seems like she’s demanding and uncooperative all.the.time. I have to ask her more than once to do a task.  She is constantly defiant, doesn’t do as she is asked/told, talks back, doesn’t ask politely for things even though she did 6 months ago… oy, the list goes on.

Yet, she is sharp as a tack, funny as hell, and it’s often very difficult to keep a straight face even when she’s in complete freak out mode (which usually only happens about an hour before bedtime so I know it’s a fatigue issue).

I’ve heard that age 5 is difficult and I’m starting to think all ages are difficult. I know that developmentally she is right on track and I do encourage her independence, I just wish there wasn’t that battle at the same time. I am imagining what she’s going to be like as a hormonal teenager and I just want to run away and hide!

Because, frankly, I remember all too clearly the drama that my teenage years wrought.  I am afraid I am ill-equipped to go through them again as a mother.  I know I have some time before this happens, but if my almost-five year old is any indication, I am going to be needing a lot more wine in my wine cellar.

Happy Birthday, my love!

 

Gaining experience

My son just turned 1 on the weekend, and he is starting to walk.  It is such pure joy watching him get up from a sitting position, holding on to furniture, cruising around that furniture, then letting go and taking a few steps.  He looks so proud of himself and my squealing makes him laugh but then he realizes what he’s doing and immediately gets down to all-fours.

We are born completely helpless – we require someone to feed, clothe and shelter us.  Yet, in the span of 12 short months, most of us are starting to walk, we are feeding ourselves and starting to form sounds that turn into words and speech.  It truly is amazing that our species has survived given how completely helpless we are at birth.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to watch this development first hand, twice now.  It makes my job as a family doctor actually a lot easier because I now noticed problems in my patients a lot earlier.  Please don’t misunderstand me – it’s not that I didn’t know how to look for developmental issues, it just became easier for me to see them in other children.   Having had children, I now have first hand knowledge of what I am expected to see at certain ages, rather than memorized book knowledge.  It comes much more naturally to me now, whereas before having children, I would be referring to the checklist more often.

At every well-baby visit, I ask about developmental milestones. Sometimes I get a straight answer, sometimes I don’t.  I’ll give you an example.

Me:  “So, is Bobby (fake name), starting to pull himself up to stand?”

Parent:  “Well, if we lift him up to a standing position, he’ll hold on to the furniture.”

Me:  “But can he do it on his own?”

Parent: “Probably, but we usually do it for him.”

Me: “Have you seen him sitting on the floor, reaching up to the table and pulling himself up to a standing position?”

Parent: “Well, sometimes I find him standing when I come into the room, so I guess he does, yes.”

So, rather than ask questions, I’ve been finding that I get a lot more information by just watching the infant on the exam table.  Is she sitting independently, looking around, bringing both hands to her mouth, making coo-ing noises?  Is the toddler pointing at things, making eye contact?  Is his walking/cruising well-coordinated?  When a developmental milestone has not been met, it’s quite obvious and also a huge red-flag.  Sometimes issues are caught early, like the 9 month old who was clearly dragging one leg when he crawled. A few months later he was diagnosed with a mild case of cerebral palsy, but with intense physiotherapy, the boy is walking pretty normally now.

When I started this blog, I talked about how becoming a mother has made me a better physician. I haven’t really discussed how.  I really love the well-baby visits.  For the most part, they are easy appointments with healthy children, but every now and then, with the proper screening question or close observation, I stumble upon some pathology that I might not have noticed before.   The knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated in the last 6 years that I’ve been practicing medicine comes not only from the day-to-day encounters with patients but from the life experience I’ve gained being a mother, a woman, and a wife.

Thanks for reading.