Can you read this chart? U cant? You IDIOT!
I took the Beast to the doctor because she had a gooey eye. The doctor was young. VERY young. She looked at the Beast’s eye thoughtfully, hmmm. Up until that point I hadn’t been worried. My kid had a gooey eye. She needed some antibiotic drops and the eye would stop being gooey. End of story. But the doctor looked rather pensive. Hmmm…she said again. I started to freak out. A little. She pointed to a vision testing chart on the other side of the room and said,”Little girl, can you please cover the unaffected eye with your hand and read out for me the list of letters which you see there in the third row? Only every second capital letter please.”
Huh? Excuse me? Me and the Beast both stared at her. Vacantly.
“Little girl, I need you to check the vision of the inflamed eye. Can you please cover the unaffected eye..blah blah.” This time the doctor added a smile. For good measure.
At first, I was indignant. Lady, my kid is THREE years old. She can recite entire episodes of Dora the Explorer, but she didnt understand a word that you just said. And even if she did? My kid is THREE years old. She’s not reading encyclopedias yet.The only letter on that chart recognizable to her is M. For McDonalds. How stupid are you? Asking my kid to read a letter chart from across the room… The @*&#^ letters dont even have glitter on them!
I said, “Oh she’s too young to know all her letters yet.” The Beast nods emphatically and adds, “I dont know everything! I’m still little.”
stupid doctor looks taken aback. “Oh. I see. Umm..”
And then, I am hit with a truck of self-doubt. Ohmi-dumb-islander-gosh. What if all the other 3yr old kids that come in here can read that chart? What if the Beast is the first 3yrold this doctor has ever met that CAN’T read the letter chart? I’ve always thought that the Beast is the most cleverest 3yr old on the planet – but I have been known to be wrong. (Once or twice in my life.) It doesn’t help that the doctor is Asian because then I jump straight into a hole full of racial stereotyping. She was probably reading Milton’s Paradise Lost when she was three. In between practising violin and studying five different languages. And then she was a child prodigy who went to medical school when she was like…ten. OF course she expects the Beast to be able to read a few letters on a chart. Because she’s brilliant and I am just a loser mother who hasnt taught her gooey-eyed daughter the alphabet yet.
The Beast interrupts my mental litany of woe, tugging on my arm, “Look Mama! There’s B for Bella!”
Okay, so I was wrong, the kid can read TWO letters. My poor baby, trying to redeem us in front of this
stupid genius doctor. I get all fiery and fierce. My child has a gooey eye, dammnit. We came here for help, not to be subjected to humiliation and literacy attacks.
“Isn’t there some other test you could use to check her vision?”
So the doctor gets out a chart covered in shapes. “What shapes are these little girl?” (Please Lord, help her to get these shapes right. I promise i wont say any bad words today or complain about my children on my blog. Pleease.)
Thankfully the gooey eyed Beast is excited to show us that she does know everything about shapes.Heck, she even said “octagon”. Yeah take that u idiot doctor!
Atfer all that rigamarole we left the doctor’s office with a prescription for – antibiotic eye drops. Hello, I could have written my own prescription thank you very much. Me and Google are brilliant doctors.
We went home where I immediately started teaching the Beast her alphabet.(I put on the Dora Alphabet Rescue dvd.) And then I thought about writing a letter to the bosses of medical schools everywhere.
Dear Very Clever People, Could you please make sure that your doctors have some practical experience with children before you send them out into the world to diagnose them? I suggest that you introduce new standard protocol: every medical student has to accrue required hours babysitting kids before they can graduate. At least then they will know what children can and can’t do at different ages.I would volunteer my children for your babysitting needs but my Fab5 are faaaar too intelligent and would probably give your students unrealistic expectations.(Mine already knows B for Bella. And octagons, so there so there.)
A Really Brilliant Mother of Really Brilliant Children.