Did you know that some French doctors force the foreskin back? Someone told me this. Did you know that this is something you have to think about when you have a boy? Since I don’t have one of those – a zizi, that is – j’y ai pas pensé ! In hindsight I think maybe I should have been more concerned about the care and feeding of the mini-penis, simply because I don’t have one… but I digress.
We went to visit the second doctor on the recommendation of a friend who knows me and my ways. She called me up after seeing him and said, “ I think you’ll like him!” so I booked an appointment. She was right! I did like him. He has a good face, wasn’t too tall or too short – just right if you ask me – and got to us almost on time.
The appointment started off well. We sat down and he asked us about the birth experience, and even explained some things about it, making fun of how overly reactive hospital staff are. I silently checked the “thorough” box in my mind. So far so good.
He began to interact with our son a bit, giving him permission to play with gastro-car and camion au rotavirus . This time I was the one with my jaw clenched, and I thought of my dear friend, Dr. Anger Management, as my boy (who knows me so well) completely ignored him and sat strangely still on my lap.
We eventually made our way over to the exam table and something shifted. Dr. À l’Écoute became very Dr Do As I Say all of a sudden, sternly telling our baby that he needed to lie down to be examined. My son looked at him with concern, and I agreed and reassured him that despite not knowing this man, that it was OK for him to follow his instructions.
Stethoscope – check. Light in his eyes – check. Light in his ears? A little more complicated but eventually we got it done – check. Popsicle stick to check teeth? Total disaster, tears and …check. My little guy was doing well. Being touched by stranger isn’t easy.
The doctor moved on down his body and carefully removed the diaper to check out the goods. He was not gentle with the berries, and I could hear my husband grind his teeth beside me. As he moved on, he began slowly manoeuvring the baby foreskin, and my heart raced as I remembered someone once telling me about this crazy (and quite cruel) practice of forcing the skin back before it is ready :
– Is he pushing back his foreskin ? Naaaaaah they don’t do that anymore, I thought to myself
He keeps pushing back.
– OK, I think he might be pushing it back….
– Shit ! I can’t let this happen. What-do-I-do-what-do-I-do??
From a place I am just getting to know inside of me, a place that will literally do anything to ensure that this baby is safe, the place inside me where my inner ninja resides, I scream “FAIS PAS ÇA!!!” and karate chop his hands away.
Stunned, the doctor stares at me. I look at my husband, who is also staring at me, then to my little muffin. He too is staring at me.
Not only have I hit him – correction, double karate chopped him – I have also spontaneously fallen back into my Canadian ways of using the familiar when I should really be in the land of the vous and the “je vous prie de recevoir, Monsieur le Docteur l’expression de mon profond respect”. Oooooops! My face warms… I’d be turing red if my skin were lighter, but I’m not so nobody knows how embarrassed I feel.
-Elle est en panique!! says the doctor.
-Mais non, I say surprisingly calmly. I heard that doctors can sometimes pull back the foreskin and hurt the baby and I really didn’t want you to do that. You scared me by not explaining what you were doing. I’m sorry I hit you.
…Wait a second. NOT SORRY!
I think you are really great, I do, but I am a new mother and have minimal control over my superpowers and protective instinct. I do not just trust you because you have a good face and the word “docteur” in front of your name. This seems to be how the locals operate, j’en sais rien, but I need it to work differently between us. I think it’s for our own good that from now on you narrate the whole thing and ask permission before doing anything besides smiling at my baby. Perhaps we can avoid a repeat incident, but I make no promises.
Mama aka “ Ninja” BEAR.
Thankfully, Dr was understanding about the whole thing and didn’t seem to hold it against me. I’ll see him again until we find “the one”. At least I can vouch for the fact that he’s patient!