Well Child Checkup Checklist: My Parenting Nemesis

My family doesn’t have a great track record with pediatricians.There’s a slim chance it’s because we are weird vegan hippies who trust nature over medicine and we have yet to find a pediatrician who knows the first thing about nutrition. (Like Fiona’s first doctor who honestly didn’t know what foods had iron in them, other than fortified baby cereal.) When we go for a well child checkup and my answers are not on their little checklist, they get so confused. Like “I may need to refer you to a specialist because you’re not giving your toddler whole milk” kind of confused.

Well-Pediatrician Checkup Checklist

Is it crazy to want a doctor who is at least smarter than me? Can I give them a checklist that they have to complete to my satisfaction before I’ll let them assess my child? Nothing too crazy, just something like:

  • Have you ever heard of an alternative diet?
  • Are there nutrients in foods other than meat, eggs, dairy, and fortified baby foods?
  • Do you think everyone who does not eat the Standard American Diet is evil/an idiot?
  • Are children actually robots?

Sounds easy, but half of the pediatricians we’ve seen would fail that test by the second question. Granted, for the first couple years of Fiona’s life, we were seeing a pediatrician named Durleane who worked out of a Thai fusion food truck*. But I don’t see how that’s relevant.

Well-Child Checkup ChecklistThe checkup checklist parents have to complete at well child visits is my nemesis. How am I supposed to know such detailed info without advanced notice - and how are these things relevant?!

Then there’s that confounded checkup checklist they make you answer at each well-child visit. Hello, can I perhaps study for this test before you put me on the spot with such bizarre questions? My most common responses are “How would I know that?” and “Why would I have thought to try something that specific?” But every time I get an answer “wrong”, the test administrator gets so lost, and it looks like they’re going to need to call for reinforcements because I don’t know if my child can crawl the length of 10 standard sidewalk squares.

What the heck are these questions?! My best guess is that “doctors” are sending our test results to an alien ship, to help the extraterrestrials determine who to spare when they invade. But you didn’t hear that from me. (We may also be conspiracy theorists. So what?)

I mean, I’d like to know what these things have to do with my child’s development:

6 months
  • Does your child show an interest in woven materials?
  • Can he/she pull two handfuls of hair at one time or is the pulling staggered?
  • Does he/she recognize at least 18 words?
1 year
  • Can your child identify at least 32 animals?
  • Does he/she know the politically correct terms for service personnel or does he/she refer to all as policemen/mailmen/firemen/etc.?
  • Is he/she able to tie the belt on a bath robe?
2 years
  • Can your child draw the symbol of the deathly hallows?
  • If you balance on one foot while microwaving a bowl of soup, can he/she imitate you?
  • Can he/she walk across bumpy terrain with a full, open cup in his/her hand without spilling more than 15% of the contents?
3 years
  • Does your child know the proper Latin name for at least eight species of shrub?
  • Can he/she discern between management-level employees and sales associates in stores?
  • Does he/she show a preference for Buffalo or Madras plaid?
  • Can he/she make the “live long and prosper” sign without assistance?

This is as far as we’ve gotten. Hopefully the checkup checklist gets a little more sensible with age. Although now that I’ve done some research, I can see that they don’t. But at least I can prepare for the tests a little better, since there are cheat sheets online.

Do these checklists catch you off guard every time, too, or is it just me? Am I a terrible parent for not knowing all the answers? Durleane did not prepare us for what it would be like to have a real doctor.


*This is totally a joke, but Fiona’s first pediatrician was a joke, too. She really was surprised when I mentioned iron is naturally occurring in foods like raisins, beans, and leafy greens.

About The Author


Mom to two little ones who are way cuter than they have any right to be. Locavore, bibliophile, ambivert. Lover of architecture, the desert, and raisins. Caffeine free. Probably hangry right now.
I wrote about desert landscaping and urban water conservation in my former life.