B4 School

Fainjin had his B4 School health check this morning.  This is the last well-child check, and has recently been separated off from the other checks – so although in our case the check was done by the same provider (Plunket) and in the same place, it was done by a special B4 School nurse rather than our regular one.  There has been a bit of publicity about it being a “new” check, but in fact kids have always been entitled to a four-year-old check, it’s just that a lot of parents didn’t take them along for it and there were no reminders.

Before our appointment, we were sent a questionnaire covering his general health and development as well as a whole lot of behavioural, social and emotional indicators.  Part of the questionnaire goes to his daycare as well: they answer the same questions as we do, although they are not compelled to do so and some centres refuse as they find some of the questions intrusive and unhelpful.  I don’t know which ones, but I can guess… for example, whether the child can be “spiteful” to other children.

The Dad and I had very little trouble completing the form for Fainjin, deciding that while he does have toileting and eating “issues”, they only bother us “a little”, bother him even less, and impact family and social life in a minor way.  A lot of the assessment seems to hinge on how much the child’s parents perceive something as a problem.

Fainjin was a little anxious before the visit, as he remembered the last time he went to a nurse, she “poked holes” in him – vaccinations.  I promised him this time there would be no holes, but he remained suspicious, asking me several times.

Once we were there, he was happy and biddable (thank goodness!) and cooperated well with all he was asked to do.  He was weighed and measured, asked to stand on one leg (he could), hop on one foot (he couldn’t), count some pens, and draw a circle.

With prompting, he drew a smiley face.  I have never seen him draw a face before, so I was quite surprised.  He drew eyes and a mouth, then when asked what was missing, drew a nose.  “What could you put on top of the head?” asked the nurse.  “A hat!” he exclaimed, and drew one (I think she expected hair, but she went along with it).  There was a long blank pause while she tried to indirectly get him to draw ears.  Eventually she touched his ears, and said “What are these for?” “Listening,” he smiled.  “Does your smiley face listen?” “No.” So the face had no ears, but he decided it needed hands.  “Arms first!” he realised.  He knew there needed to be ten fingers, but he got sick of drawing after about two, and turned his attention to something else.

The nurse was great with him, very skilled at getting and keeping his attention, and he seemed to enjoy talking with her.  She had no concerns about his health, development or behaviour, which was reassuring, and he tidied up all the toys while we were talking (which made me feel like parent of the year!).

He was relieved to leave with no holes, and we went across to the cafe for pikelets and a milkshake before getting the bus to daycare.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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