Friday, May 13, 2011

The doctor's visit and the fact that he won't point.

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.

22 comments:

Kate said...

K's almost 14 months now. Her doctor didn't ask about pointing, and I've only just started to see her do it. Not to ask for something, just to show us something if we're out for a walk. If she's hungry, she'll reach for what she wants or hold her arms out and bounce in her high chair. And books? Not so interested in them either. She'll go to the shelf, pull out some, flip through them a bit, but she'll pretty much only hold still for 1-2 pages of a book and then she's off to do something else again. I hope it's normal!
Sounds to me like W is doing just fine.

Aisha said...

THANK YOU for helping me feel less guilty. I was frankly shocked at the question because I hadn't read anywhere that this was the end all be all, but she was quite concerned. . . and since hse normally isn't concerned, it got me worried. W is just like your little one, he will pick up a book, look at a page, and normally fling it and go find something else to do. Thanks for your reassurance.

Banshee said...

Wiggles is the same so far for books. I've wanted to incorporate a "bedtime story" for awhile now, but we've not yet attempted it because he doesn't have the patience for it! He's more than happy to watch 1 or 2 pages and then would prefer to chew on the book, thankyouverymuch.

Since he's younger than Waleed I can't say much about the pointing thing yet - but as long as there's communication that's working between you three....well...that sounds good to me! Does he ever get watched by a babysitter or grandparent who might not anticipate his needs as well? Does he point with them?

Maleeha said...

Honestly, I dont understand what the big deal is. I feel like if he can communicate his needs and understand your communications to him, not pointing just doesnt seem like an issue to me. I honestly cant remember when J started pointing, and my doctor never made it an issue either. It sounds like you guys are doing just fine! :)

C said...

I never tried to teach D to point but he was pointing when he 10 months old. I didn't know we needed to teach him to point! I thought it would come naturally. Wow, I learn something new everyday. You are a great mom Aisha. I actually measure myself against you (and fail sigh!).

Fruitful Fusion said...

I really don't think it's a biggie. I'm sure that, and it seems that, if he's not pointing, he's communicating in a different way. No, I never thought of the "pointing matter" with any of my kids.

sprogblogger said...

I can't imagine that pointing is a big deal in the greater scheme of things. Everything else aside, there are people in the part of the country where I'm from who DO NOT POINT. Not with their fingers, they use a neat little point-with-the-lips maneuver if they absolutely must indicate something with their body. And you know what? Their kids turn out normal, wonderful communicative people, never having pointed at anything. W is fantastic at communicating and so are you all. I wouldn't stress about it. Doc sounds like she's worrying more about the 'rule' than the intent behind the rule - ie: they want to see some back & forth communication by his age. Which he's obviously doing.

E said...

I have never heard of this pointing milestone. Honestly, I don't worry about any of that crap. It all sounds sooooooooo silly if you think about it. You know your baby is smart and healthy and you will know if for some reason that were to change, right?

Just a heads up, if they send him for a vitamin D and lead check they will take blood out of his vein through his arm with a needle. Request a finger prick instead. It's horrible.

Aisha said...

Banshee, one thing I did to help him get used to a bed-time storytime was picking a book that had only four pages. Literally. Its the book we still mostly read because when I try longer stories he gets fidgety. It might be a way to start?

Maleeha, thanks for your perspective- I first blew it off, but she was soooooo concerned it got me worried. I appreciate you sharing your own experience on this.

C, do not even! You're a great great mother! Thank you for your sweet words of support, they mean a lot!

Fruitful, thank you for sharing yoru perspective, as the mother of four, I appreciate that its never come up, gives me a bit of a good breath.

Susan, that's the thing. . . I was wondering if it was cultural. Like, I don't recall pointing being a big deal for any of the kids Waleed is usually around. I mean, each culture each household has their own way of expressing their needs. I think you hit the nial on the head, she focused on the rule, not the meaning behind it. W does get his point across- that's what matters.

E, It does sound silly! But she made such a big deal I got nervous, lol. Thanks for the reassurance and the heads up about Vit D shot! :(

iamstacey said...

The "glass house" comment just cracked me up! I totally do the the high-pitched-annoying-to-everyone-else" thing just to get Davie to smile! :) I have no pointing advice, other than my older nephew pointed, but the younger one didn't (his brother interpreted everything for him). And they both speak just fine now.

PandaBear said...

That is ridiculous! I was actualy taught not to point by my parents because it was considered rude in our house. We never point for Ivy and she will most likely not point when she is one. Our pedi sternly scolded me about cosleeping and also thinks I am nut for being vegetarian but honestly I just tune these things out. They are doctors and can diagnose medical problems. They are not parenting experts or psychologists which is where the pointing milestone would classify. Don't worry so much, he is fine!

Aisha said...

Stacey, thanks for the reassurances about the pointing based on your own experience with your nephews! And high pitch voice it away it means a smile. They are worth anything! :)

Panda Bear! Thank you! I know right?! That was the issue I wash having- it felt like a very cultural milestone. I don't point. K doesn't point. Our parents don't point. I also didn't understand that when she was teaching us this, she would show him to items and ask him which one he wanted. He'd lean over to grab the one he wanted- She said no. He has to point ori t, not grab it. But. . . why not? Is not him grabbing a communication of the one he wants? My pedi was also anti-cosleeping and very pro-cry it out [which I did ultimately do for one day, but as a last resort, not a 'this is how its done' frame of mind]. Thanks or the reassurances. The fact that she called it a developmental milestone is what freaked me out!

Anonymous said...

don't even worry about it but get another doctor!

pilgrimchick said...

That's an interesting insight--I had no idea that anyone would consider pointing so important.

Anonymous said...

hey aisha! pointing? what the? thats ridiculous! and trust me....im a doctor! and i've worked in paediatrics....and part of the history taking is going through milestones....and POINTING....isn't one of them!!!! I really would not worry about this at all...

Personally, i don't give a toss about any milestones. My daughter? She has been weighed once in 4 months. Why? Because she feeds ok, she possetts like any other child, she appears happy, and so frankly i couldn't really care less where she is on the centiles, shes not too small, shes not too big, why harrass myself with milestones and when she laughs or when she can draw a cross on a piece of paper (oh yes that's a milestone too!!!!) i would take milestones with pinch of salt....and everything your doctor tells you re: children with a pinch of salt too. i wonder if she has children of her own? Its like when midwives and health visitors used to tell me "Breastfeeding is easy! If you are doing it right it shouldn't ever hurt!!" yeah...errr ever breastfed before? No? well kindly stop telling me crap and making me obsess over how crap a parent i am cos breastfeeding SHOULDN'T be hurting and i am doing it all wrong!

I digress. Just please don't even give this pointing a second thought!!!! Its not medical, it is merely her opinion.

Bongi xx

Aisha said...

Anon, based on the advice i'm beginning to think that might not be a bad idea!

Pilgrim Chick- you and me both!!! :)

Bongi, I appreciate it so much that you are sharing your opinion here as I respect it very much. Thank you! She was so adamant that it made me take her seriously though as I read comments and really thinka bout its beginning to sound silly- and sounds more like a cultural milestone as opposed to a true milestone. I can't believe how much MISINFORMATION is out there about breastfeeding- before I began breastfeeding I thought it was going to be awesome, the oxytocin the happy hormones the bonding the saving $$ on formula, what was not to love? I wish they were more honest because the truth is I believe this is a big reason women give up nursing very early because tehy think something is wrong when its so incredibly difficult. Sounds like you hung in there- no easy feat- kudos, major kudos to you!

Mary Dell said...

It sounds like the doctor is a little hyperfocused on pointing as a particular form of communication, rather than on the whole communication package. Forcing the baby to communicate by depriving him of stuff is one way to determine if he CAN communicate, but it sounds like he quite obviously can. My little guy didn't say anything as useful as "No" til about 18 months, and pointing came a lot later.

awomanmyage said...

I agree with other comments - the pointing this is not that big of a deal - your kid is communicating. My son points but he also makes dolphin blipping noises. Trust me, it drives me nuts but that he doesn't repeat after me like other kids I know. My son is not that keen on having books read to him either, he just prefers to have things pointed out to him. Though I have noticed he likes books that have characters in it that look like him.

Aisha said...

Thanks Marydell for sharing your POV on this matter. My instinct was at first exactly what ou said, if hec an communicate who cares why he doesn't point? But her hyperawareness of this and concern made me do a double-take. I appreciate your comment, welcome to the blog :)

Awomanmyage: dolphin blipping noises! That is the cutest thing EVER!!!! What's it with our kids not wanting to read? I hope it improves with time becasuse reading is very important to me!

Anonymous said...

Well hanging ny a thread. I had/have real supply issues,
so once I got over all the cracked majorly sore
nipples... Every time I had lack of sleep (all the time)
or was stressed out (in laws) or upset (that I wasn't
feeding my baby properly) my milk just plumetted.
People told me it was "supply and demand"
let your baby scream with hunger... Just put her on the
breast all day long... Next morning you will wake up
with fountains of milk!!... I did that once, all day she
cried... I cried, n
nothing improved. I started to give her
formula.... She has night time breast feeds and whatever
I can manage in the day time. She's getting the antibodies
so I have to make my peace with the fact that I Disney
manage to be all
mother nature n exclusively breastfeed :(
but alhamdulillah after a miserable pregnancy (sick throughout)
and a rocky delivery (induction,34 hour labour, temperature
spike, scare that she was growth retarded n nobody
picked up on it despite me begging my midwife for a
scan and her saying no, having an emergency c section at midnight,
and then getting a post op infected wound haematoma)I'm just
thankful to Allah that she's healthy.
And yes I think that's why women give up...
Nobody tells you it's hard and it hurt like hell,
so when instead of feeling bonds building
and love pouring out... You wanna fling your beautiful
baby off your breast... It's incredibly guiltyfying,
and the number of times I said I was going to give
up as instead of me looking forward to feeding time
I was filled with utter dread every time she was hungry!!

Lots of misinformation out there... Agreed!

Bongi xx

Anonymous said...

Hi, Aisha. Raising here. I pecked out a response to this post a few days ago on my phone (computer problems still), and let's just say that it didn't work out.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you that pointing will come in time. Don't let the doctor worry you too much over it. The point (if you will) is that he communicates, which he obviously does. Pointing is just a way of measuring that ability in a pre-verbal baby.

As for reading, I worried and worried that Bear would hate it since she showed no interest in books during her first year. However, somewhere after the first year mark, all of this changed. Now, she entertains herself with book after book. She "reads" them outloud, which is the cutest thing ever, and she looks forward to naptime and bedtime when we read several books of her choice. Before you know it, you'll have a little bookworm on your hand too! I'm sure of it!

katery said...

omg, POINTING, i have never ever heard this theory, how ridiculous. the boy will point when he's ready! loiuse doesn't point at what she wants and she's older than waleed.

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