I am usually pretty skeptical about the overall medical system in the U.S... but I was pleasantly surprised to meet our doctor. He was not only mindful with the care he was providing to Satchi but also very thoughtful in the way he communicated. We could tell... that he cared.
After the doctor and I discussed about the procedures and what to expect, it was our time to tell Satchi what was going to happen to her foot. I asked the doctor if I could talk to her and so he listened as I gave her a quick overview of what was going to happen which included some painful part. I tried to share the procedure in the most respectful way without dumbing down... but using the metaphor and language she could understand. ("...needles will feel like pinching on the skin... and there will be four of them and that will be the most uncomfortable part of the whole process...") After I finished talking, Satchi gave me a brave nod and we were ready to go so we looked back to our doctor. He was in the room listening to our story and when we looked at him, he gave me such a surprise look which was almost comical. Apparently many parents sugar coat a lot of the story... especially the painful part which end up being a lot more upsetting for kids when it actually happens (and it hurts!!). He told me that the way I explained would be exactly the way he would have talked to her and asked me what I do for living and how I learned to talk to the kids like that. He was pretty convinced that I should consider pediatric care as my next career. (!) Satchi was very brave going through the entire process. She cried when doctor was injecting local anesthesia with needles but we held hands, looked each other in eyes and tried to use our imagination to get through the process. Once the painful part was done, we breathed in and out few times to quiet down our hearts and she was very calm going through the rest of the procedure. Once he got the splinter out, we looked at it together and she was beaming with pride. We asked if we could take the "evidence" home to share and doctor kindly accommodated our request. I could tell that the entire experience (which could easily be pretty scary and traumatic for 4 years old) really empowered her (and me as a mother as well...) and became a courageous story to remember.
During our interaction, doctor and I chatted little bit about parenting philosophy and other things... and I told him (and Satchi who was also in the room with us listening to our conversation) that we can't mask uncomfortable things that happen to our life... because life isn't like that. There are happy moments... and other moments that might not be. It's so important for us as parents to prepare and guide our little ones to go through all the moments. Helping them build strong coping skills to bounce back from experience that goes against our will... and thrive from it.
I hope our girls will be resilient in life today and tomorrow... years from now... even though it's not always pain free to go through some of the tough moments to gain the mileage.