Bringing kids to see the pediatrician is never fun. By the time your baby has their second or third appointment, they have some kind of understanding that sh*t's about to get real. The terror begins in earnest when they actually see their doctor, and, in my experience, that doesn't change for years (unfortunately). Once they get a bit older, though, the doctor bribery begins, and it usually comes in the form of sugar. There are things every toddler thinks when they get free candy from their doctor, because we all know the candy is there to offset the poking and prodding they go through and hey, if it's not broke, don't fix it.
I'll admit that my firstborn didn't get to experience the joy of this early exposure to sugar. I actually held her back from having sugar of any kind until she was two, and even then, her intake was extremely limited. I'm a monster, I know. Now, of course, she's almost five and eats sugary treats more often than I'd like to admit. My son, lucky kid, had the benefit of being born second, and getting early exposure to all kinds of things I never would have given my daughter, because I'm a "seasoned mom," now. So yes, he gets lollipops at the doctor's office.
Since my son (and almost every single toddler) can't quit articulate their thoughts and emotions the way us adults can, I am left to somewhat assume what my son is thinking when that sugary goodness is offered to him. I'm going to settle with the following thoughts my toddler (and yours) is probably thinking when the pediatrician bribes them because, again, whatever makes those doc visit as painless as possible.
"This Changes Nothing"
Initially, every toddler I know is still crying after the candy is handed over. As if a piece of hardened, colorful sugar could change anything that was just done. All in the name of "health," too.
"Do I Have To Get A Needle Every Time I Want Candy?"
Is this an association this poor kid now has to make? You can see the wheels turning, as they look from parent to doctor, trying to sort it out. I can only imagine they're praying this isn't the case.
"Is This Supposed To Make The Pain You Just Put Me Through OK?"
Just so everyone knows, this doesn't make up for anything. Your kid still has an indignant air about them, so don't go thinking you're in the clear yet, people.
"I Still Hate You, But This Is Pretty Tasty"
The grudging admission that yes, the candy is good, but don't you dare think this changes the relationship at all. This kid will still scream bloody murder the next time they come in to the doctor's office.
"I Guess This Isn't So Bad"
Some of the pain and resentment starts to disappear from their face at this point, and you can even see a bit of enjoyment creeping in. At this point, fellow parents, you might just be in the clear.
"Lollipops Are Everything"
You are home free. Your toddler is now completely consumed with candy lust, and will likely be loving the hell out of that lollipop for the next two, very sticky hours.
"I Will Do Whatever It Takes To Get More Candy"
Candy is everything, and your toddler knows it. It's the ultimate bribery tool, and its power is not to be underestimated. Whether you choose to use it for good or evil is up to you, as a parent.
"When Do I Get To Have Another Doctor's Appointment?"
OK, maybe toddlers are too young to actually verbalize this question out loud, but I guarantee they're thinking of it. Why do I know this? Because my 4-year-old daughter asks this exact question every day for weeks after each appointment. Literal weeks, people.