The monthly visit to the hospital clinic is sometimes short, sometimes seemingly endless. Especially for the six year old patient. Today as he sits in the waiting room reading a book, the Oncologist makes a friendly appearance to greet his young assignees. Looking down at my son, he points, exclaiming his love for what my boy is holding in his hand.
It is a book. And he's reading. The doctor tells him that he loves it. I'm thinking he's referring to the particular story, but no. What he is proclaiming instead is that he loves seeing my kid reading a book. "You're reading a book!" he says as if the boy just sprouted donkey ears and his nose grew six inches. "You're usually doing this" he gestures wildly with both thumbs indicating the avid use of a gaming device. I politely assure him that the boy does, in fact read actual books.
This isn't the first time he's suggested that my child should perhaps play fewer video games and I know it won't be the last. As the nurse walks in and makes the same proclamation, I fight back my usual biting remarks reserved for such inappropriate displays of parental judgement and take my teeth off of my tongue just long enough to ask if mine is the only child to ever cross this threshold carrying a Nintendo DS.
If you'd like us to wait an hour and a half for a set of blood counts with nothing in the general vicinity but three preschool age books and a pile of picked over Playskool toys that are by now so riddled with the slobber and germs of other children that we're left with little more to entertain our first grader than what most kids his age keep themselves occupied with, then I'd hope you'd keep your self righteous parenting styles to yourselves.
But then I feel guilty for thinking such thoughts. After all, these people saved my little boy's life. They are the ones who monitor his condition and administer the life saving care which makes it possible for us to bring him back here again and again.
Still, as grateful as I am for their expertise and dedication, when it comes to parenting our son, the medical staff can rest assured that my husband and I both possess the level of expertise and dedication required to raise our children in a manner befitting our family and that while our son is in their tiny waiting room behind the door marked Oncology, on the second floor of this big, scary hospital, waiting yet again to be poked and prodded, transfused and chemotheropied; maybe it's better to just ask him what level of Angry Birds he's on and leave the parenting to us.