3 year check up

What to expect

      Since I have never had a 3 year old in Canada, I am not sure what the check up looks like. All I know is that the German check up is extremely thorough. Bring snacks for yourself and the toddler, you will both need it.
I thought it was going to be around an hour, that is what they told me on the phone when they asked to book it. Because we are still potty training, I make munchkin use the potty as soon as we arrive at our destination and when we are ready to leave. We took off our coats and I announced that we needed a potty break. The receptionist told me that I needed to collect a urine sample from the little one; umm what? How on earth am I going to accomplish that? I managed to put the collection cup under him just right, and before he started to pee (because he can’t exactly wait until I am ready before he lets it flow). When I told the hubby after lunch what I had been asked to do, he also had the same puzzled look on his face.
       Turns out, there is a questionnaire about the child’s learning, social skills, and overall well being that they can’t possibly test in the office. Because English is not an official language in Germany, the questions were all in German, which also means I am technically illiterate. The nurse took the time to ask me the questions verbally but her English was not perfect and we had a few problems with translations. Instead of being a 5 second sheet that mom can answer in the waiting room, 30 minutes went by while I spoke to the nurse and the toddler played with the toys in the office.  Simple enough questions; he is only 3 after all; does he share and follow the rules while playing with others, how much tv time does he get, does he know more than 4 colours, can he say more than 200 words, can he dress himself, is he potty trained and can he wash his hands and face by himself.
         After all of this was done, the nurse decided to draw 4 shapes on a page and asked munchkin to draw them too. She also had several pictures to test is colour-distinction (is he colour blind kind of test).  I think we successfully completed 3 of 10 before he called them all colour mazes and tried to walk away. While he wasn’t wrong, that is not the answer we were looking for, poor dude. They were going to do a hearing test but since he doesn’t understand a lick of German, they just made some noise and checked if he could follow it. The eye test was a little different. I sat next to him and the nurse went to the middle of the room. I covered one of his eyes and she pointed to an object on each row, just like an adult would do their vision test. We got to the bottom of the page, on one eye, when he lost interest. Not even bribes of food and drink could get him away from a new toy he had just discovered on that side of the dr’s office.
        Because the appointment was originally made as a twinrix appointment, we still needed to wait for the doctor to arrive and assess his current health before giving him the shot. He has a runny nose and therefore water behind his left ear; poor guy always gets an infection in daycare. She said it wasn’t bad enough to call off the vaccination so she continued with the check up. She noticed a beauty mark on his skin and asked about seeing a dermatologist about. I told her that it was just the one and that I am covered in them, and she told me to go see a dermatologist as well; nothing serious or immediate but sometime in the next year or so, as a precaution. Not really sure why, unless the Germans are more prone to melanoma than Canadians. Also, because everyone in my family and most of my hubby’s family wear glasses, I was ordered to take him to an actual optometrist when he is a little older and can focus on the eye test questions.
        While his last vaccinations he didn’t even notice her sticking him, I was surprised when she asked the nurse to help me distract him for this one. The mere fact that the nurse and doctor were so close to him and all touching him is probably what set him off. He pushed the dr away and started to cry when she got the needle in his leg. As soon as they left his side, he brushed it off, ate the cookie and wanted to go play some more.
        Overall, the check up was very thorough and I am pleased with the level of care that my son is getting. Again, I have nothing to compare it to so I am not sure if the 3 year check up in Canada would have been the same or a simple 15 min appointment. Although, when we left, just over 2 hours later, both munchkin and I wished it had been a 15 minute appointment; he was hungry, thirsty and wanted to go home, and mommy only packed enough for the quick 1 hour appointment that I was under the impression I would be walking into.
Christine Leger is the founder of Tapped Out Travellers, a Family Travel Blog About Travel with Kids. We explore travelling on a budget, splurging on bucket-list travel opportunities along the way. Although Canadian, she currently lives in Germany.

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