Failing at parenting

Every year WGN Morning News holds it's "Back to School Fair".  Viewers line up since the pre dawn hours outside our studios in the Northwest side of Chicago to get free physical evaluations for their school age children,  including dental and vision check ups and vaccinations. Not to mention free hair cuts, free pizza, and plenty of free school supplies.

Besides covering the exotic animals that come to say hi to the kids, for the last six years, I've been in charge of interviewing the medical and safety professionals that offer their services to our guests.  When I was pregnant with my daughter, I left that years fair with a wealth of information about raising a healthy child.  Three and half years later,  I'm not really sure I can give myself a passing grade as a parent after the last Back to School Fair.

The dental professional said that children should visit the dentist at one year of age.  My pediatrician recommended the visit at 2 years old. I took her when she was three because I dreaded her terrified reaction to the dentist.  I also learned that children are mostly absent from school because of a tooth ache.

The eye doctor said on the air that kids should get their vision checked at 6 months old.  I assumed that because Amelia seemed to be seeing everything perfectly, there was no need for a check.

The spokesperson from the Secretary of State's office told me the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children's car seats should be rear facing until they are 2 years old or  when the child reaches the height and weight limit for their seat.  I switched my girl's seat when she was one.

In all fairness to me, my daughter DID freak out at the dentist at age 3 but her teeth were very healthy. I myself didn't get my first eye exam until I was six but that was plenty of time to treat my lazy eye,  and Amelia's knees where up to her neck when we finally turned her car seat around. So I think I pass the parenting test so far, maybe not with flying colors but with a healthy kid.

Needless to say, I may ask for an assignment change next year. Maybe hang out longer at the petting zoo or the face painter.  Ay Mama!


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  • Dear, I think you are being way too hard on yourself. When I was a kid (in the Stone Age!) I didn't have a dentist, or a pediatrian, or a car seat. Modern society keeps adding rules to "what makes a good parent" until you are running around like a well-meaning rat in a maze. I've found those who worry the most about being a good parent ARE good parents.

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