Sunday, September 12, 2010

Worrying Over Milestones: And Switching to a New MD

The week before Maggie was born we decided that we needed to find a new doctor. The idea made me a little panicky at the time, but we also wanted a doctor who was "on the same page" as we were and who wasn't going to push us to do things that we were uncomfortable with (like putting our kids in day care so that I could "have more time to myself."

In some ways I was a little surprised by our former MDs shock that our toddler had "missed" some developmental milestones. Here were some of the "big" concerns:

  1. She wasn't talking much... but the reason was incredibly clear (if somewhat annoying). Sadie has been very good at communicating non-verbally for quite some time. She'd make little gestures and sounds and since we always knew what she meant, she didn't really feel the need to talk. We knew that that would change once Maggie came around and so we didn't really worry about it much. We figured she would start talking before too long and that the process would probably rapidly accelerate once there was a baby in the house.
  2. She didn't "go up and down stairs by herself." This one had be kind of shocked. I have seen two year olds who could go up and down stairs by themselves and it made me feel pretty uneasy. And the stairs in our apartment are pretty steep. I knew, at twenty four months, that Sadie wasn't ready to be going up and down stairs on her own. Two months later she is ready and she's very proud of herself. But the idea of a doctor acting like this milestone should be pushed before a child is ready makes me very uneasy... It seems like a recipe for disaster.
  3. She wasn't getting dressed on her own (do many 24-month olds do this, because our former doctor acted like it was pretty typical?). In fact, she wasn't even interested in getting dressed on her own. She probably would have been okay wearing her diaper all day (it was the end of June and it just would be easier to jump in the baby pool at Nani's house that way. Now, on her own, without being pushed, she's become obsessed with doing things on her own. She'll literally spend half an hour practicing putting on her socks and shoes by herself.
I know that milestones can be important in determining problems, but I also think that they can be used to create undue stress (as would have been the case if we'd actually believed there was a problem when we talked to our doctor).

And I'm very happy that we decided to make a change and go with the local clinic down the street from our home. It's a much less stressful experience!


  1. No, Toddlers don't typically dress themselves. Even some three year olds still need help. Stairs are built for adults not children. If he was so concerned, he should have asked if she was doing okay with things like getting up and down curbs or stoops or other shorter steps. And as long as she understands you, then it's totally normal that she's not real talkative. When she does get going, she probably speak in complete sentences vs saying a word or two because she already understands directions and whatnot.

    You're doctor was nuttier than a fruit cake. He seriously doesn't know anything about toddlers. I'm surprised he's a pediatrician.

  2. ack, we are going through similar problems with our doctors. I swear, do doctors even look at their patients anymore.

    Our doctor wanted to get a hearing test done at 12 months because our son wasn't saying 2 to 4 words. Then they made us do a food diary because he hadn't gained significant weight, but he is a very big child and just went from off the charts to the within the 75 percentile. Then they sent us to a specialist for a problem that didn't exist. Then prescribed iron supplements without asking about about his diet and even though he was still within the normal range.

    Argh, it is so frustrating. I could probably accuse them of medicaid fraud but I don't actually know what they bill or code, so I don't know for sure.

    So glad this new doctor is working out for you.

  3. Neither of my girls dressed themselves before they were four years old. They could put their own clothes on at around age three, but it wasn't a common practice until they were around age four. In fact, my daughter who is five is still frequently dressed by me simply because I don't have a younger child who needs my help at the moment and it's faster for me to help her when our mornings are frantic (ie. getting ready for school). I don't remember when my girls started walking up and down the stairs on their own. I think the older one was probably after age two, but she learned to crawl up the steps before 9mos old. I know my younger daughter caught on the the stairs earlier and was going up and down our steps before age two. She became more hesitant on the stairs when we moved to a house with steep stairwells and regressed in that area for several months. I wouldn't worry too much about milestones like the ones the old dr. obsessed over. Kids will do things in their own time.


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