Angelfish and Checkups

Angelfish and Check-Ups
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R/DV/RS @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/redvers/

The school year has already started in Tennessee, at least here in the Cumberland Mountains. In fact, it started last Tuesday, August 13.

When I was a kid, we were just starting to think about school in the middle of August; and it was usually because our parents were bringing up the subject. It was a time to start hitting the stores for new clothes, shoes and the every-year school supplies.

My great nieces and nephews (actually only one of the nephews) are getting up early during the workweek now to make it to the place where the school bus will pick them up. I have to admit that the thought of them already being in school is bothering me. When I was that age, school didn’t start until after Labor Day. (For those of you who don’t live in the U.S., this day is always the first Monday in September.) I don’t say anything because it isn’t my place. Besides, I want the children to be in a positive mood for school.

I wasn’t one of those normal kids who dreaded the thought of school at the end of summer. After the big celebration for my brother’s birthday, I was ready to go back to the classrooms. Although I’ve always loves the warmer months of the year, having all that free time got to be boring after a while. I craved brain-stimulating activities.

The only part of getting ready for the new school year that I didn’t particularly like was going to the doctor for the annual check-up. “Mom, why can’t I just get my shots at school like everyone else does?”

Mom’s reply would be, “You’re not like everyone else. Although you are fine now, when you were a baby, you had health problems. Your health needs to be checked every year. Right before school starts is a good time to do it. Besides, getting your booster shots at school sounds like you and the other kids are puppies instead of children.”

My normal response to that was, “I promise not to bark.” This always got a smile on her face. However, she wouldn’t back down and I wouldn’t press the matter further.

The pediatrician’s office was in a small house that had been converted to accommodate a medical practice. In the waiting room (living room), there were individual padded chairs along two walls. A toy chest sat along another wall, and a fish tank for tropical fish was in the middle of the room.

Most of the children, including me, would be hovering around the fish tank. All of us had our favorite fish swimming around amongst the plants and the plastic castle that decorated the inside of the tank. My favorite was the angelfish. The doctor had several in there because it was a popular one for the children.

It wasn’t until I was ten years old that I figured out why the doctor had the tank of tropical fish in his waiting room. Watching the fish swim around was calming and soothing. Although I wasn’t afraid of the doctor or any shot I would get, for some of the children, it was a terrifying experience. The tank of fish would keep them occupied and quiet until it was their turn to march into one of the examining rooms.

When I became a parent years later, I took my own son to the same doctor. He was just as fascinated by the fish as I had been.

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6 Replies to “Angelfish and Checkups”

  1. I always loved angelfish, too, Glynis. Kept a few of them in fish bowls or aquariums over the years as a child. Agreed, school should begin around Labor Day; these kids miss out on much of summer and some are walking to school in tremendous heat. School beginning early and mid-Aug seems to remove a right of passage where Autumn was always looked forward to – a new season, a new school year. One typo in last sentence is all I see. BTW, you might check out Kristin Espinasse’s blog French Word a Day; she receives a prolific amount of feedback including the grammar suggestions and the like as you are also looking for; I believe by encouraging same. Check it out!

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    1. At first I couldn’t see the typo you were referring to, but I did finally see it and corrected it. Thank you.

      Even though that first Tuesday (day after Labor Day) in September is technically still summer, it felt like the right time to be in school for the new year. As you pointed out, it’s the right of passage to autumn.

      I signed up for updates to Kristin’s blog. I agree; encouraging each other and giving constructive criticism is the way to go.

      I hope you will grace my blog with your presence again. You have a lot to contribute that I don’t want to miss.

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  2. You had me at the title. What on Earth could those two things have to do with one another I thought. 🙂 I was never a big fan of visiting the doctor and my daughter seems to have adopted the same perspective. Not sure if a tank of tropical fish would help, but it couldn’t hurt.

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    1. If you haven’t had a goldfish in one of the small round bowl and have never seen, up close, into an aquarium, you’re missing something that is true relaxation. It’s amazing how magical the experience is.

      One of the reasons I liked the pediatrician I had back then was that he was totally honest with me. He would tell me, “This shot is going to hurt but only for a moment. If you look away from your arm as I give you the shot, it won’t hurt as much.” And that worked every time.

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  3. I suddenly want to get a fish tank for my son!! We had cats and dogs growing up, but never fish.

    I remember when it felt as though summers lasted forever. Now it seems that you blink and children are back in school. I think it’s a little sad, because I don’t think school focuses on education as much as it does on the mandated “testing.”

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    1. Aleta, I do believe you may have hit on part of it; focus is more on testing. I remember having 1, maybe 2 tests per grading period and a few pop quizzes in there someplace. Now, with my great nieces and the one nephew that’s old enough, they have quizzes almost every day. The teacher is constantly reminding them about the ‘Standard tests’, and there’s one test per grading period that is 85% of they grade. There a little time in the classroom for actually lessons to be taught and the kids are loaded down with homework instead. Because there isn’t any gym class, music class, or art class, the kids aren’t getting a rounded education. And then they wonder why young adults are smart only in certain areas and are illiterate in others.

      Of course, I’m just an old woman who is looked at as being nostalgic.

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