This afternoon, at the request -nay, demand – of my children, I’ve been playing doctors.
If you’ve never been subjected to a game of doctors and patients – maybe your children are too young, you lucky devil – and you’d like to know the rules of play, then this is how it goes.
How to play doctors and patients with your children
Firstly, you must decide who is to be the doctor and who is to be the patient.
As the parent, you’ll be the patient, obviously.
You are, after all, merely a bit part actor in this whole thing and by thing I mean your child’s entire concept of well, everything. On the plus side, it means you get to lie down so it’s definitely not all bad.
Top tip: If you can, go on the sofa or your actual bed. Request some pillows and a blanket ‘just like a real hospital’. They don’t need to know that real hospitals probably don’t have beds thanks to NHS cutbacks and it’s probably not a great time to start discussing this type of thing with them.
Next, you must tell them what is wrong.
The more humorous the better, I find. Slugs in your ears or radishes in your armpit, that kind of thing. It helps to drag this consultation stage out, for the next bit is…
In which you allow yourself to be prodded with the hard plastic contents of a play doctor’s kit.
You will probably have your heart listened to (possibly on your leg; don’t argue) with a stethoscope.
Being a patient might involve your kid looking in your ear with the ‘ear looking machine’ (otoscope, it’s an otoscope. I know that now, thanks Google) or poking you in the gums with a pretty mean-looking syringe.
The doctor’s kit may even contain tweezers, or scissors.
Plastic ones, you understand. It’s for kids after all. However depending on how posh the doctor’s kit is, these implements can range from floppy and fairly benign to hard instruments of torture.
There will most likely be moments of deep regret. This is not the relaxing parenting hack of a ‘game’ you had envisaged.
When has Dr Ranj ever cut someone’s ears off? You’ll plead as your child inflicts bodily harm on you in the name of ‘pretend play’; it’s meant to help development you know.
Stay still or you will be poorly! The will reply as they repeatedly jab you in painful places, or ram a spoon of ‘medicine’ into your tonsils.
I think it’s fair to say that based on their current bedside manner, neither of my children are cut out for a role in the medical profession, which is probably a good thing because I wouldn’t be able to afford it anyway.
Concede defeat, unless you can use snack-based bribery to escape.
Warning: You may have to see a real doctor as a result of playing this game.