Good cop bad cop

My level of comfort going with Jackie to the doctor has increased. I feel like I belong. I am her advocate, comforter, her mom, and I trust her and she trusts me.

I got the feeling that she is distracted or she doesn’t hear well. I am not the worrying type, but this time I worried and followed my instinct. (Tip for the future: don’t ask your kid if she/he wants to go to the doctor. Tell them. With the confidence of the parent who knows what’s best for the kid, tell them why and how the doctor will help heal them).

It was the coldest rainy day this month. And after I stopped at the family doctor I had to drive across town to the ORL specialist (ear doctor). I was waiting there in a hallway, reading signs off the door, playing along the imaginary games initiated by Jackie, mainly using my three pharmacy cards to make phone-calls to daddy. She wasn’t in pain. Conrad was home working in silence. The parking meter was fed, and we walked 5 blocks in the rain from it. The only one parking I found available anywhere around the Central Park.

I had a revelation about bedside manner. The specialist we saw, the doctor that had come out of a surgery, was clear and curt. His attitude reminded me of dr. House. Jackie has a fear of hospitals, and maybe all kids have it but see, I tread lightly as there are things from her past that I don’t know. She had spent a few month in a hospital with no person of reference, and it is possible that in a hospital is where she felt most abandoned.

The doctor told her not to cry. That he’s not going to hurt her. The ear checkup was least invasive. His voice was intimidating, firm but his eyes were kind and smart. She stoped whining and let him check her ears and her neck. Opened her mouth wide to check the throat as well. He had gained her trust fast. And it gave me room to be the mom, to be the comforter, the assurer.

I remember the contrast between this interaction and the dentist visit. And the one time I got so angry in the car at her conceited attitude. The doctor was nice, too nice, there was no room for my encouragement. Two good cops as it were. And the sweeter and pleading the doctor, the more stubborn she got.

We like nice and sweet teachers, doctors, parents, bosses, friends… but oh how we need to be told like it is sometimes. To be ruffled and awakened. Bluntness is under-appreciated. I guess blunt people need to be confident in their beliefs, in order to have such strength. We need nice people in the world, but we need blunt people in equal measure. And how amazing to be able to genuinely be both when circumstances call for it.