My 9-Year-Old Is A Hypochondriac Because I Let Her Watch Too Many Medical Shows
â€œWhat are you talking about?â€ I asked.
â€œWell, my toe twitched,â€ she said and then repeated the question, â€œDo you think I have Tourette’s syndrome?â€
Oh, Lordy-Lord. Sigh. I never thought Iâ€™d raise a neurotic little girl, but there you go. THIS is what watching BAD television does to you, I thought, once I explained to my daughter that you couldnâ€™t CATCH Tourette’s syndrome. Also, itâ€™s TOO late for her to have dwarfism. (Yes, the question was asked.)
We had been watching this show called, â€œThe Undateables,â€ where matchmakers try to set up adults with “deformities,” little people and those with learning disabilities. (Actually, I find the title of the show absolutely misleading, because those featured on the show arenâ€™t really â€œundateable.â€)
My daughter is also convinced that my son â€“ her brother â€“ may be a dwarf, because, like Chelsea Handler, Iâ€™m addicted to all shows that have to do with little people and so is my daughter.
â€œHeâ€™s 10 months old! Heâ€™s supposed to be small!â€ I said to my daughter, who is convinced he is, medically, a dwarf. And if he werenâ€™t then she would like him to be after seeing a feature documentary on primordial dwarfism.
So Iâ€™m living with a 9-year old who not only thinks she has certain syndromes, but also would LIKE to have them.
I have one very good friend who is super neurotic. She has a pimple? BRAIN CANCER! She has a headache? BRAIN TUMOR! Her sinuses are hurting? BRAIN CANCER! Her foot fell asleep? BRAIN TUMOR? She has the hiccups? BRAIN CANCER!
I told my daughter about my neurotic friend (who she knows) and that it would be better if she didnâ€™t end up like that. Frankly, itâ€™s pretty annoying to talk your friend off the ledge every time she notices a change in her body or has a sinus infection.
My daughter and I started watching medical shows, or shows that feature people who are born with a syndrome that affects one in a trillion, when she was only three. She was addicted to them from the start and could easily sit there and watch an hour-long documentary on the 450-pound man or the Tallest Man in the World or on Siamese Twins. I thought it was wonderful that she was so fascinated and thought for sure she was going to be a doctor, because what other child is so fascinated by these shows?
Well, she may still be a doctor one dayâ€¦or she could turn out to be a completely neurotic adult.
I always thought these shows and documentaries were a â€œlearning experience.â€ To be honest, these shows were also something we could both agree on watching. I canâ€™t stand her pre-teen shows and she canâ€™t stand the news shows I like watching.
But now? Oy. I think Iâ€™ve made a grave mistake in letting her watch this stuff. She has so many questions ranging from, â€œDo you know an actually giant?â€ (Um, no.) to, â€œHow come that little baby needs an MRI?â€ (Um, Iâ€™m not really sure) to â€œWhat if I get Down Syndrome?â€ (You canâ€™t â€œget it,â€ but yes Iâ€™d still love you the exact same.)
So, I think I need to break up with TLC, at least when my daughter is around. But it may be too late. As I dropped her off at school this morning, thankfully, she didnâ€™t ask if I personally knew conjoined twins. But she did say she was going to be a doctor.
â€œA genetic doctor!â€ she announced. â€œSo I can work with little people.â€
Thatâ€™s very nice, I told her.
But then she added, â€œLike Holt!â€
Who knows what the teacher thought when I yelled out the window, â€œHe is supposed to be that height! He is not a little person!â€