Save the one time the doctor mistook my son for a perfectly cute little girl, doctor's visits are [thankfully] uneventful and I'm never anything but utterly grateful for the quick casual check marks by the nurse as she asks about bowel movements, sleep schedules, feedings, and sends us on our way without pause.
Today was the first pause.
Doctor: We need to discuss the pointing matter.
Me: What pointing matter?
Doctor: You told the nurse he doesn't point to what he needs.
Me: Well, no. . .
Doctor: He should be pointing. That's how language is developed. How does he let you know he's hungry? He doesn't point to the high chair?
Me: No, he gets fussy, I look at the clock and see its been a while since the last meal and take him to the high chair, he gets happy and I feed him.
Doctor: You're anticipating his every need so he has no need to point and request.
Me: Hm. I have seen other kids his age that point at different things. . .
Doctor: Yep, its because their parents are modeling it for them.
And so proceeded a lesson in teaching him how to point and a stern reprimand to monitor carefully and bring him in if it doesn't improve. To be clear, she's a great doctor. We don't agree on everything [she's more parent-centered when it comes to sleep schedules and weaning while I strive to be more kid-centered] but I respect her opinion. And normally whenever I go in, freaked out about a tooth that hasn't emerged, or a finger that looks swollen, she waves it away, tells me I'm doing great and sends me on my way. So coming from her, this concern about this milestone he is not reaching and the fact that it's my fault? As much as she kindly couched it with we just are very tuned into his needs, and he's clearly a happy baby, well it made us feel like the worst. parents. ever.
He gets all his needs met, without being forced to point, she said. Put away all his toys, containers, boxes, anything he might amuse himself with and then he'll have no choice but to point for what he wants. Except he doesn't work that way. If he has nothing to play with, he'll look out the window and squeal at joggers passing by, a bird, or a butterfly. He'll dance. He'll tap against the fridge. This kid? He really doesn't get bored.
It's not like he doesn't communicate. A grunted bang on the table at dinner lets us know pay attention to me! Hands raised, pick me up. Sleepy- eyes rubbed. A stern no- a pout a whine and obedience. My point is- we get him. And- he seems to get us.
But he's not pointing and since I want to give my kid the moon and the stars if he wants them, the fact that he can't point to request said solar-system goodies because I failed to teach him. . . well, it just sucks.
So now K and I are in the process of pointing ourselves silly. All day. At home. At Zaxbys. At Target. Chicken! Shopping Cart! Eyes! Smile! Voice! Fingers! Water! [And all those years I looked with annoyance at the super-perky parents talking in high pitched voices? I live in a house. It is clearly made of glass]. I'd do anything for my son, so I can certainly point myself into an arthritic finger for him if need be- I just hope our efforts work.
Was pointing made to be the end-all be-all at this stage with your kid? What did you do to help your child point and communicate in general? She suggested reading more to him, but- and I know this will sound odd since I'm the biggest book-worm I know- save his bedtime story, he rarely enjoys sitting down and being read to. Any advice much appreciated.