|[photo credit Terry Kind]|
Happy February 14th!
Was it love at first sight? Maybe not. You don't have to have always known that you and pediatrics are a match. You can grow to love each other, to develop a passion for the field. After all, growth and development are key components of pediatric care!
Now for some of you, perhaps this developmental progression meant that at 2 months of age, your social smile was at the very thought of a future career in pediatrics. And at 9 months, your pincer grasp allowed you to turn the pages of the child health journals lying strewn about your home or that of your neighbors. At 18 months you precociously uttered the words "time for my well check please." Flash forward to middle and high school as you went on to spend your summers as a babysitter, a camp counselor, a tutor, a lifeguard...
But if you were like me, back in medical school riding on the NYC subway, looking at the toddler fishing in his mother's oversize bag, or the child engrossed in reading Harry Potter, or the tween on her cell traveling solo, you would ponder about the age of any child in view. You'd play the guess how old that kid is game. You thought if you could estimate even an imprecise age, maybe you had what it takes to be a pediatrician, you're a natural. Back then, I had no idea beyond a mere "not an adult." Rest assured, you get much much better at that, sometimes with an uncanny ability of guestimating a random child's age to the very month!
More notable might have been that I found I was drawn to the kids, to their activities, their behaviors, their joys, and their anomalies. Why was she holding her head tilted that way, why does he have tears welling up, might she have a leg length discrepancy, could that be a median sternotomy scar, did he make up the words to that song, and so on.
Turns out, it may be only as you are making your decision to train in pediatrics that you realize you are drawn to kids; you don't have to have always known this. It may come to you quite by surprise on your pediatrics clerkship. Or afterwards, as you miss those children who tugged on your ID tag and drew you pictures. Or, as you walk through the pediatric emergency department on the way to the adult side. And of course, there's the classic scene, in a c-section you drift over to the newborn being warmed, dried, suctioned, and wrapped, and then linger there, post-partum mother notwithstanding.
Even if your only prior experience with kids is having been one yourself, with an openness to the possibility of a career surrounded by children, the opportunities are endless. To care about them, to care for them, to have an impact on the future.