A Visit to the Doctor

I’d been dreading this appointment ever since I booked it last week.  The baby needed his first round of immunizations, but with the toddler’s recent development of loud, defiant behaviour, the idea of going alone with both of them to the doctor’s office was rather terrifying.

When I told my husband that I was considering leaving the toddler with a friend for an hour, he wasn’t very understanding: “You’re going to let his behaviour dictate whether or not you need to arrange babysitting every time you do something?!”  He was right; leaving him behind would only be allowing his behaviour to control me, so I gave up that idea.

Off we went this morning after a lengthy chat on how to act in the doctor’s office.  I sat down to nurse the hungry baby, because the only thing worse than comforting a baby after he gets two needles is trying to comfort him when he’s also ravenously hungry.  When the nurse came to get us, the toddler was surprisingly compliant, choosing one small toy from the bunch to take with him into the room.

Then it got chaotic.  The toddler only wanted to sit on the doctor’s swivel stool.  Baby got naked for measurements and an exam.  When the nurse took us out to weigh him, the toddler caught a glimpse of the distant play corner and high-tailed it in that direction.  I had to leave a stark-naked infant on the scales to give chase.

Back in the confines of the room, the toddler drove his plastic bus over every available surface before deciding the appointment was done, and he even told the doctor so.  He tried to let himself out of the room, since the door had one of those awful child-accessible handles.  I found myself stretched between holding the baby on a chair and reaching to hold the door closed as the toddler yanked.

Time for the shots came.  The toddler was burrowing his face in the baby’s shoulder, getting progressively rougher, as he tends to do.  He began slapping the baby’s hand until the baby’s face crumpled up in protest.  He lunged for the basket with the vaccines and needles, but the doctor whisked it out of the way just in time.  Meanwhile, I was trying to encourage him to sit down, read a book, play with a different toy.  No luck.

I produced a new toy from the diaper bag, which he then drove back and forth at a rapid speed and made such a loud noise that the doctor and I were yelling at each other over the racket.  The toy also sang a tinny tune, which the toddler replayed non-stop.  It provided strange accompaniment to the cries of the indignant baby.  My questions for the doctor were partially hollered as I attempted to discuss things like a rational adult, dress the shivering baby with one hand, and settle the toddler with the other.  Somehow, we finished with both needles in the right spot and all questions more or less answered.  Baby is in the 99th percentile for weight, so no concerns there!

Then I picked up the heavy car seat, slung the overflowing diaper bag and my purse over the other arm, grabbed on to the toddler, and began the agonizingly slow, snail-speed trek across the parking lot to our car that I’m becoming so accustomed to, filled with observations about every vehicle we pass.  “Mom, it’s a Charger!  A Jeep!  A scooter!  Look at the camper van!  Mom, look!”

Was there actually a time when I sat in waiting rooms and read magazines?  When I had quick conversations with the doctor in which the only background noise was the hum of office and machines?  When I could go into a bathroom stall alone, without two male witnesses?  I hereby swear that if I ever again find myself in that situation, I won’t take it for granted, because going to the doctor with two kids is like going to the zoo while becoming one of the zoo exhibits yourself.

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18 thoughts on “A Visit to the Doctor

  1. I think you should ask for help next time. Either have someone with you or leave Alex somewhere. I wish I could be there to help you out as I used to. My heart is with you.

    1. I do have a double stroller, thank goodness, which has saved my life on countless occasions, but it’s also so huge and unwieldly that I can’t always take it indoors. And yes, you’re in for quite the adventure if you get a second one someday!

      1. LOL. Glad you like the stroller. Now you may have a better understanding of why I sometimes comment that I had to stop shopping certain places until the twins could walk because if I couldn’t get the stroller in, I had to carry two car seats (including babies) and a diaper bag.

  2. I remember those days all to well. After quite a few of those trips, I learnt a trick that made appointments like that slightly more bare able. I went to the dollar store an bought a few quiet toys, I knew my little guy would love. I kept these little toys hidden deep in the diaper bag for moments just like this (and church). He only got them at that moment and then after the appointment was over he had to give them back, so that the next time it was a treat to play with them all over again. This little trick saved my life and I still to this day have them in my purse cause you never know when you will need a little distraction. Hope this helps!

    1. That’s a really smart idea! I’d just have to figure out a way to keep him from pulling apart the diaper bag to get the special toy. Thanks for the tip; I’m going to implement it.

  3. Remind me to tell you of the time Jacob escaped from our hotel room in Ottawa. Hopefully, it’ll be a funny story.

    1. I laughed out loud when I read that, but it also sounds terrible. That’s one of my greatest fears, losing A in a hotel or apartment building, where his route can’t be easily traced…

  4. A prayer answered. I feel like when I have those situations I am always holding my breath and just waiting for something to happen. What works best for me is to remind myself to be patient and to rememeber their behavior is generally in the realm of normal. My boys are not sit with hands folded types – typical.

    1. Good point. I do need to remind myself of that on a regular basis, that it’s perfectly normal little boy behaviour, and nothing that’s overly surprising to others, either.

  5. hah! …sorry, instinctive first reaction. Man, that sounds insane – your description at the end is quite apt.
    I feel your pain having spent a lot of time around kids for years, it does indeed get better after the initial hyper-curiosity and energy get a little tempered.

      1. and that last parts the most important thing – besides, if all was calm all the time I imagine it would get boring, it’s the mix of good, bad and everything in between that makes it all worthwhile and allows us to appreciate one after the other properly.

  6. Would you think bad of me if the most important thing [to me] I took away from this was to be sure to have my doctor write me a revolving script for tranquilizers once our child moves into the toddler stage?

    Just kidding… I wouldn’t do that… booze is cheaper! Haha! Still kidding… maybe… 😉

    My friend Jenny’s toddler is only 15 months, but the ‘terrible two’s’ seem to have arrived early, according to Jenny. I wish I had some advice to give her besides “it’s just a phase”. It is probably a good thing for Joshua that his mother has the patience of a saint.

    If I were closer, I would offer to lend a hand… I’ll take the one who isn’t getting shots…

  7. I am currently in fear of my appointment with the same company coming up in a couple weeks… It’s comforting to know I am not alone, but at the same time, it still terrifying! Fingers crossed my Wee Man holds up while Little Miss gets her shots :-S

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