A Well Visit Wake Up

courtesy of Google images

I recently took my 11 year old son for his yearly well visit with the pediatrician.  At the end of the appointment, and after being assured all was indeed well, the doctor handed me a nifty little printout detailing the visit.  The first page listed current height and weight, any labs and tests ordered, results from vision and hearing screening, and any follow up appointments that needed scheduling.  How nice to have all that information neatly summarized on one page for easy reference – thank you, electronic medical records.

Then I turned the page.

The next page was captioned “11-14 Year Old Adolescent Visit”.  Adolescent?  My visceral reaction to reading this was “Holy sh*tballs! For reals?  Where did that come from?” I was just getting used to the term tween.  Tween is cute.  Last week he was still 10 years old.  This week he’s 11 and suddenly the word adolescent is being bandied about?  That just has a clinical ring to it I’m not sure I’m ready for.

And “11” is light years away from “14”.  In my inner panic all I could picture was a sullen, monosyllabic sleeping and eating machine who is six inches taller than me, at risk for trigger thumb from too much texting and suddenly interested in commercials for Axe deodorant.  This is a far cry from my sweet little boy who still reaches for my hand whenever we cross a busy street (if no one’s looking, of course).

I don’t know why I was so floored.  From infant to toddler to preschooler to big kid to tween (and technically I think I can still hold on to that one), my son’s new identifier as “11-14 Year Old Adolescent” is just the next step, right?  But there it was in black and white, mocking me as if to say “ready or not, here I come!”

The document went on to list information and guidelines about topics such as school performance, immunizations, testing, nutrition and oral health, physical, social and emotional development, and talking to your newly minted adolsecent about “risk behaviors” – you can just imagine what that’s about.

“Doctor,” I said, “Don’t get me wrong, I think this handout is great, but that ‘11-14 Year Old Adolescent’ thing kind of grabbed me by the throat.”  This man, who has been my son’s pediatrician for 10 years, laughed and said, “Yes, I know it’s a shock, but it’s here.”

And the hormone talk, like spring, must be in the air.  A few days later as I was looking over the curriculum topics to be covered in his class after the spring break, I noticed that “Puberty” was nestled in there between the Latin American Unit, Rocks and Minerals, and Essays and Fiction Writing.

I turned to my son and asked him if he knew what puberty was.  “I don’t know”, he shrugged “something about growing up, I guess”.

I have this tucked away. . .

Like the doctor said, it’s here.

It’s really here.

Have you had “the talk” with your kids yet?  How did you handle it?  What’s in store?  I really want to know!

12 thoughts on “A Well Visit Wake Up

  1. Wow! I’m not a parent but I can appreciate how that would come as a shock. I remember when the vet informed me that my eight year old cat was a “senior.” Eight? Senior?!? But he was just a kitten!

    Also, maybe since your son is still young enough you could head off that Axe thing? If you’re successful, tell me what you did. I’d like to try it on my husband.

  2. This is funny, every year after I take my daughters to their annual check ups I call my husband crying. The year the my daughter turned 8 and the doctor said the word “puberty” during the check up I actually cried in the office. Also, I have the book you posted in my office and recommend it to parents of boys your age. Good pick.
    Thanks for following my blog 🙂

  3. It took a bottle of wine to loosen me up enough to have THE talk with my oldest daughter. She was 10 at the time…and the next morning she asked “Do you even remember what we talked about last night?” “Uh, yeah…” <—hoping not to have to rehash it AGAIN. And now it's about time to have THE talk with my youngest too. DAMN IT!!!

  4. Hate to tell you, but the talk isn’t the hardest thing. It’s all theoretical to them at the time. It really gets hard when it becomes reality. When they are actually going through that puberty thing. And the opposite sex becomes unyucky. buckle up! You’re in for lots of talks! I hate it when kids grow up.

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