I wouldn't be surprised if pediatricians started wearing black robes instead of white coats.
I took my 5-year-old -- code named "Lil' Terminator" -- to the doctor last week to get her kindergarten shots. Taking kids to get shots is a duty I've been saddled with before, and it's not one I relish. The worst is when they're babies and you can't explain things to them. One minute they're sitting in your arms, smiling and gurgling, the next they're sobbing and looking at you with a pitifully sad "why are you allowing this to happen?" expression.
At least this time, Lucy -- who has been telling strangers lately her name is BlueFrogCinderella -- knew what was coming. I was hoping the doctor was ready; I didn't know if she wore body armor, but as my kid can be a bit aggressive when it comes to self-defense, it wouldn't be a bad idea.
My focus shifted when the receptionist handed me a questionnaire. That's when I considered calling my lawyer.
I've seen the standard doctor's questionnaire: Do your kids have any allergies to medications? Do they sleep through the night? Are they able to operate heavy machinery, etc.
However, this was different. For one, there must have been 40 questions. And it was kind of personal. It wanted to know everything Lucy ate, drank, smelled, heard and thought. It wanted to know how many times a day she ate every kind of foodstuff known to man. It asked how much TV she watched. It wanted to know whether she favored Justin Bieber over One Direction. It was really detailed.
That's when I started thinking I was a bad parent just for letting my kid have juice twice a day. Fruit juice, which in recent studies has been linked to everything from obesity to diabetes to tooth decay, apparently is worse for children than Scotch, which some of us suspected all along.
Next we met the doctor, who was so kid-friendly I wouldn't have been surprised if she slipped into a Barney suit halfway through the examination. But then a weird thing happened: She bypassed me and started peppering Lucy with a bunch of the same questions on the questionnaire.
She was trying to get my kid to rat me out!
When she answered the questions truthfully, and they more or less synced up with mine, I started feeling like maybe I wouldn't be arrested after all. But it was a little disconcerting. I guess it's good to involve the patient and all, but I still had to suppress the urge to stand behind the doctor and signal Lucy how to answer.
Then the doctor pulled out papers containing numbers. Great, I thought: Now we have to do math. Apparently, my kid is big for her age and height. The doc tried tempering her revelation by saying Lucy is probably about to grow taller again, but I got the underlying meaning: I give my kid so much juice that she's getting FAT!
Well, not really. She asked me how active Lucy was, which made me laugh, because she's slightly less active than a hurricane. I blabbed something about being from a big-boned family, then secretly plotted to never allow toxic, fat-making fruit juice into my home again.
When it came time for shots, Lucy handled it like a champ -- no crying. In fact, she growled her way through, which the surprised-looking nurse admitted was a first for her.
I get it. Juice, which was once considered to be good for kids, is full of sugar -- and sugar is now the enemy. But it's not like we hook the kid up to a hot fudge IV. Moderation is the key.
But, just in case, we did buy sugar-free juice the next day. I have enough to think about without fearing arrest by the sugar police.