Being a pediatrician at a children’s birthday party or baby shower is like being a mall Santa. People are practically lining up with a list of questions. Ok, so maybe they don’t line up, but they do have a way of finding me. I have been asked general questions (“how do you feel about juice?”), specific questions (“is his head size too big?”), and physical exam questions (“can you look at his finger?”). Parents drag their children over to me, push clothing aside, and ask my opinion of a variety of physical findings. I have had mothers strip their children near naked in the middle of a party so that I can get a better look at whatever is worrying her.
I’ve heard other professionals get asked advice at parties, but since I now hang around a lot of children’s birthday parties my expertise seems to be in particularly hot demand. At a recent party, another mother asked what I do and when I told her I was a pediatrician, she replied, “oh really? You probably shouldn’t say that too loudly.” I looked around at the forty parents and thirty children around me and nodded in agreement.
Whether parents are asking me questions or not though, my profession sometimes still gets in my way. I can not help but worry at a trampoline party about someone breaking an ankle. Or cringe at the amount of juice consumed. Or worry about the child with the food allergy getting the wrong dessert. It is hard to separate the pediatrician from the parent, so I understand when others have the same difficulty when talking with me.