Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kid personalities 101 - Part 1 of "the 4-year-old"

Having seen a few thousand kids so far in my career, I swear all kids are a) stamped in some pre-birth assembly plant with the same characteristics; b) secretly enrolled in the same classes, where they learn cool things like "How to ignore your parents and make them take you to the pediatrician because they're certain that something is wrong with your hearing."; c) descended from one common ancestor, who was a seriously confused person (that one might be possible...); or d) all of the above.

The pediatrician in me pleads for me not to generalize kid personalities in this way, but the Evil Uncle in me urges me to press on. Pediatrician...Evil Uncle...so hard to choose...

These profiles are tongue-in-cheek and whimsical, and are meant for entertainment only. They do not reflect any particular child I have seen or do see. These sketches are really just amoebae of crazy 4-year-olds I have seen over the years.

The Angel
This child is a dream. She (and it usually is a girl) knows how to read and, more than likely, knows a second language (self-taught) after English. She never uses the word "Um," both because her vocabulary is at least as good as Webster's, and because she always knows exactly what she wants to say. She has long curly hair, curly enough to "boing," and twinkly eyes. She also has a precocious and curious fashion sense, often wearing many colorful, perfectly coordinated layers, meaning that Aramark does less laundry than her parents.

She smiles when I ask her any question, and surprises me with her own observations about her family, the central themes to Hamlet, and the stock market (my 401(k) loves this kid). She is a brilliant artist, loves her mother, and, together, they reassure me that 1) she is ok; 2) so am I; and 3) won't it be nice when she's a 30-year-old astrophysicist lawyer neurosurgeon for her to bring her kids to me? Can often be spotted wearing cool hair paraphernalia color-coded by day of the week.

The Devil
This boy (and it usually is a boy) has usually reduced the examination room to post-apocalyptic rubble by the time I arrive, and it's difficult to see his ripped jeans or smudged face through the haze. I'd love to hear what his mother is saying, but this boy beats his drum (what Evil Uncle would give this child a drum?) loud enough that the local high school marching band director calls, asking me when I'll be done, since the band's beat is asynchronous with that of young Neil Peart, here. Citing doctor-patient privilege and HIPAA, I tell him I have no idea what he's talking about.

By the end of the exam, I have confirmed that the child might have a heartbeat and that he can move all of his extremities, that he has a firm grasp of the word "no," and that he's stronger than all of the rest of the members of his family put together. At points in the visit, it becomes difficult to believe that he could possibly mine more boogers from his nose, but, surprisingly, he latches onto yet another and wipes it on his poor mother. His high-five at the end would render me left-handed but for the fact that I remember to pull away slightly, so it merely hurts a lot instead of crippling me. You can tell this child has passed through by the impressive presence of FEMA personnel in his wake.

Coming soon to a blog near you - the Pistol, the Mayor and the Ostrich.

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