With a mischievous grin, three-year-old Piper Sibert climbs on her mom’s leg.
“I’m a monkey, Mommy! Watch me swing!” she shouts, as her mother Sarah shakes her head as she bends over to picks up her younger daughter, nearly one-year-old Aurora.
“That’s my life, right here,” says the active mom, gently removing a rock from the baby’s hand before she puts it in her mouth. “It’s kind of crazy sometimes, but we love it.”
Life rarely slows down for this busy family, but one thing is always a priority – her family’s health, she says. When the Sibert family moved to Sioux Falls two years ago, finding a doctor well-suited to their toddler daughter’s needs was one of the first things they did.
Finding a doctor
Living in St. Louis, the family had always taken their daughter to a pediatrician. They quickly grew to appreciate the approach of a doctor who specialized in caring for children, says Sarah.
“There was really a difference in having a doctor whose whole practice is geared totally toward children,” Sarah said, watching her daughters “race” across the backyard, one scooting on her knees the other running as fast she can. “We found a pediatrician before we did nearly anything else. ”
After doing some online research, they found information about pediatrician Michelle VanBeek and made an appointment to meet her. Sarah said she was instantly comfortable around the doctor and appreciated the amount of time Dr. VanBeek took to get to know the family.
“I think it's really important to have a pediatrician because the wellness of my children includes so much more than medical care,” says Sarah, “Dr. VanBeek and her staff have given me advice and recommendations on topics far beyond rashes and ear ache.”
A welcoming place
Her clinic is child-friendly and a place Piper and Aurora want to go, their mother said. They like the puzzles and the books in the waiting room, but more importantly, they appreciate the way they’re treated.
“They just love everybody there,” said Sarah. “For a while, Piper had even named one of her stuffed animals, Mary, after Dr. VanBeek’s nurse.”
Dr. VanBeek is part of a pediatrics team dedicated to providing high quality care for patients aged just days old to young adults. Sanford pediatricians help families with wellness care, regular check-ups, education and parenting support for a variety of child-related issues, illnesses and concerns.
Developing a relationship with her young patients and their families is both a joy and an essential part of the job, says the doctor. A pediatrician gets to become part of a child’s “family” – often seeing that child mature and grow from those first vaccinations to the pre-college physical. She loves the personality and energy that children bring to her office.
“Over time we really get to know our families, which allows us to provide the best individualized health care for each child,” said Dr. VanBeek. “It’s my job to work with the child’s parents to help them grow and develop and live a happy and healthy life.”
Navigating the system
Even before their move, the family had been worried about Piper who suffered from frequent ear infections. Talking to their new pediatrician, the family decided to have ear tubes installed to drain the fluid away from her ear drums.
Dr. VanBeek suggested a specialist, ear, nose, and throat doctor William Avery, and walked the family through the process. A few years later, she helped the family do the same procedure with Aurora, helping solve her reoccurring ear infections.
“There have been times when we’ve been there multiple times a week,” she says with a laugh. “The nursing staff is absolutely unflappable.”
Piper attaches a purple cape around her neck, demonstrating how she can fly across the room as her younger sister quietly plays with beads. The preschooler hugs her little sister and then moves off to more exciting adventures in the backyard. No matter what adventures the girls find, their mother knows where she’ll take them for the medical care they need.
“We know they’ll take care of us,” says Sarah. “Dr. VanBeek is the best!”
Posted Date: June 2012