This week, our local Health Visitor Amanda came a-calling for Miss O’s 2-year check. If you have one coming up, here are my key takeaways from the experience!
1 – Despite knowing deep-down that this was a standard check on my child’s progress and not an examination of my parenting skills, five minutes before she arrived, I found myself casually laying out bowls of fruit and putting the CBeebies ballet on in a last-ditch attempt to look like I had my sh*t together (and cover up Miss O’s chronic addiction to Paw Patrol and Custard Creams).
2 – If you’re going to go to all the trouble of ‘setting the scene’ this way, it helps if you remember that an entire Christmas holiday’s worth of empty wine bottles are currently sitting in the recycling box outside your front door…#FirstImpressions #NailedIt
3 – Any other day of the week your child will confidently point to a picture of a car, or tell you what noise a dog makes, but they can somehow sense that their answer is marginally more important this time around, and will therefore point-blank refuse to play ball (and apparently you get no extra points for enthusiastically woofing at the Health Visitor yourself…)
4 – Having confiscated certain items pre-visit, I spent the majority of the time whipping new dummies out of her mouth, which she seemed to be pulling out of thin air (“Oh yes, she only EVER has them at night…“) and trying to convince Amanda that she was saying ‘Rabbit’ when she was actually demanding my tablet (Damn you YouTube with your magic child-whispering voodoo!)
5 – If like me, you somehow managed to mislay the form before the appointment (whoops), you may be somewhat taken aback by the nature of the questions. I’m sorry Amanda, but I’m really not sure if my child can successfully extract a single raisin from a clear plastic bottle / thread x number of beads onto a shoelace / build a scale model of the Taj Mahal using only lollipop sticks and fromage frais…I thought this was a development check, not the Crystal Maze! And some of the tasks seem way too advanced; I mean, “Does your child put things away where they belong?” – my husband’s in his thirties and he still hasn’t cracked that…
6 – I’ve decided not to lose any sleep over the fact that Miss O was unable to identify the miniscule drawing she was presented with. I don’t have a copy, so here’s a fairly accurate recreation of it:
WTF is that Amanda?!? A person? A snowman? A one-legged cat with a pitchfork?? Pictionary is clearly not your forte…
7 – Surely “Do you have any concerns about your toddler’s behaviour?” is a trick question? #AskingForAFriend
8– It turns out that I’ve been chastising Miss O for activities that are actually key milestones:
“Does your child flip switches off and on?”
– All the bloody time! Who doesn’t enjoy a quick game of Finger Russian Roulette when you’re busy chopping vegetables and repeatedly being plunged into darkness?
“If your child wants something she cannot reach, does she find a chair or box to stand on to reach it?”
– Honest to God, at the very moment she asked the question, I glanced to my left and saw Miss O standing on her little IKEA chair gleefully helping herself to the biscuit tin…tick!
9 – Sometimes, it’s best not to go into too much detail with your answers. For example, when asked if Miss O regularly copies the activities I do, I decided to go with a brief “oh yes, definitely”, inwardly cringing over the time I found her busily making dinner at her toy kitchen whilst muttering ‘God’s Sake’ into her toy phone…it was like looking into my own, judgemental little mirror…
10 – And finally, try not to take too much offence if the child who normally greets strangers with nothing less than open hostility insists that the Health Visitor stays to play, blows her kisses and cries when she leaves (“Bye then Amanda, SHE LOVES IT HERE REALLY!!!“)