The other day I took Pre-teen for a orthodontic appointment. With having a nearly 2 year old and a husband that works and no family to leave him with, Little Man obviously came with us. Upon arriving at the appointment I was greeted with a set of steps up to the building - bit difficult with a pram but not impossible. I steered the pram up after taking Little Man out as they were quite steep. This meant that he was out of his pram and anyone that has or remembers toddlers will know that means he IS NOT going back in without a lot of noise and fussing.
I signed in to reception and asked if there were stairs to the dentists rooms and this was confirmed and that I could leave my pram in the waiting room. Little Man by this time was in his element and discovering the sofas in the waiting room and having a great time sitting in the 'big boy' chairs. He was babbling away and perhaps a little noisy but nothing I would call out of the ordinary for a child his age.
When it was time for our appointment Pre-teen, Little Man and myself climbed the stairs to the dentists and was immediately met with a comment of something like so you are whos making all the noise? I apologised as I tried to keep a toddler on my hips in a room full of things he would like to discover and without the benefit of my pram that was having to stay in the waiting room. Being a toddler he was struggling to get down and wanted anything other than to be held - understandable I think really. Having spent over an hour in the car to the appointment venue, then a trip in the pram as there was no near by parking to then have to wait in the waiting room and then be quiet and still in the room was, I thought, asking a little much of such a small child. This was the dentist I was referred to so presumably the closest and I had been told the whole session would be done in 30 minutes.
Little Man continued the noise and struggling to get down for a few more minutes before the dentist turned to me and said something like this consultation is almost impossible like this. Can you take him out and come back in 10 minutes? I was stunned! He was abrupt and to my mind quite rude rather than feeling sympathy for a smaller sibling accompanying an older sibling to an appointment.
My daughter is old enough to tell the dentist anything he needed to know and I had filled in a questionnaire on my arrival so I took Little Man across to a grassed area opposite for a chance to get down and walk - he was instantly happy and quieter.
I gave him a couple of minutes and then returned to the waiting room for my daughter. Pre-teen returned we discussed a few things with the dentist who had come to reception and left. The being asked to leave bit was hard enough but apparently my daughter said that once we had left the room some words like thats better and can you come with your other parent next time? were used - again shocked!!
Toddlers make noise - Fact.
Toddlers want to be independent and not be held for long periods (unless they choose of course!) - Fact. They get bored - Fact.
They at times cry to get what they want - Fact.
Not all parents have someone to leave their children with - Fact
Most child care services do not offer ad hoc care for a child under 2 - Fact
Surely parents cannot be expected to put a toddler in childcare for just a morning for an appointment? I don't know of any where local to me that offers a one off service for a child under 2 for a start and why should I feel the need to use it for such a thing. I understand the dentist had to hear and speak to my daughter but it was the way he said it like Little Man was an nuisance and in the way - he is a toddler!!
I left having decided to ring my normal dentist and ask to be referred to an alternative orthodontist for the next appointment as I felt so upset. I didn't say anything to him as I was seriously ready to explode. Toddlers are people, they have needs, make noise, get excited, bored and frustrated - Fact.
I don't think I over reacted to the words spoken to me and perhaps in an ideal world I could have and would have left Little Man to play happily at home with a suitable carer whilst we went but this is not and was possible for that appointment. As a parent with a young child I have to generally take them everywhere I go unless it is a weekend when my husband is home. I am sure is the case for most parents of young pre-school age children not just me. I will not go into the offence that could have been taken about bringing the other parent next time should I have been a single parent!