I remember vaguely the receptionist asking me if I wanted to schedule the girls' annual check-ups on the same day. And at the time I thought it was a fantastic idea. You know, get it over with, only one trip into town . . . all sorts of perks. Or not.
I also thought I was really lucky yesterday afternoon when Haylee started complaining of an earache. I mean, I already had an appointment for her today. It looked like a winning situation. And it was going to save me money. Basically what I'm telling you is that I had all sorts of reasons to be smiling this morning. Of course, then I actually got to the doctor's office with my angels. There is something about locations that silently demand a sense of order that unleash the inner chaos in my children. You remember my rant about the shopping mall (Oh, The Places You'll Never Go)? This was no different. Well, different, but not any better.
I have physically strong and athletic children. This is normally great . . . except that my four year old can actually hoist herself up onto counter tops, desks and exam tables in a matter of seconds. Much to our pediatrician's credit, she was suitably impressed by Haylee's physical prowess. I, on the other hand, was muttering out threats about kids who misbehave not getting suckers or stickers. She completely ignored me, of course. I mean, why give the doctor a false sense of hope that there is amazing parenting happening in our house? There isn't. We're normal and more often than not, terrible at it.
Avery took our presence at the doctor's office as a sign that she should talk and try to escape my grasp incessantly. I know it's a sanitary doctor's office and all, but there is no way my child is going to crawl around on the floor in nothing but a diaper. She felt differently about the whole situation. And have you ever tried to keep a tight grasp on a toddler who isn't wearing any clothes? It's kind of like squeezing a Jell-O Jiggler as hard as you can and expecting it to remain intact in your clenched fist. It also leaves all sorts of red marks all over your kid's body, so that it will look like you beat her right before the doctor steps into the room.
Well, the doctor stepped in alright, which was Avery's cue to fling herself backwards while yelling out "Diaper!" as loudly as possible like 13 times.
"Is she saying diaper!?"
"Oh, looks like you've got another talker on your hands, huh?"
She looked at me like I was crazy, as if I should want my child to be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance by the time she's 18 months old. Well, I don't, okay? She wasn't in the public bathroom with me when Haylee accused me of having male parts. She clearly can't comprehend my dread.
And why would she be able to? Every time she or the nurse left the room, the girls went mad. Haylee was rifling through drawers, finding all sorts of easily accessible things that she shouldn't be finding or touching.
"A tongue depressor."
"No, it's not! It's a huge popsicle stick! I wish it had a popsicle on it!"
"It's not a popsicle stick. It just looks like one. Don't touch that."
"Ooh, look at all the different sizes of band-aids! We don't have this many!"
"Don't touch those either."
"Wow, this stool spins really FAST!"
"Get off the doctor's stool and sit your butt down in this chair."
"Maybe I would if you didn't always set your purse and diaper bag in my spot."
"Maybe you shouldn't be a smart mouth or I'll find soap in that cupboard and wash your mouth out."
Insert hysterical laughter here. "You're crazy, Mom. Kind of like Avery. That baby is nuts. She won't be quiet!"
Well, the girls passed with flying colors, so that's something, I guess. Avery is now in the 91st percentile for height and the 82nd for weight. Haylee's thinning out and slowing down, so she's only in the 75th percentile for height and 59th for weight. Given my size, the fact that I have such big children is kind of daunting. They're going to be able to beat the crap out of me by the time they're nine. All of them.
I learned something else today that has me slightly alarmed . . . probably more alarmed than the fact that my kids will be able to squish me like an ant in a few years. Haylee is incredibly tough. Our pediatrician gave her an option: "Haylee, do you want to wait and get your shots when you're five or just get them over with now? I'll let you pick."
"Oh, let's just get it done." (she says this like she's talking about a haircut or something)
"Great, you're so brave!"
She gets two shots, one in each leg. She looked a little startled by the first one, but didn't let out a peep. I told her it was over and she just looked at me.
"Okay, that wasn't so bad."
"Nope, it wasn't."
The doctor was stunned, but all she could think of to say was, "Well . . . you're going to have your hands full." Gee, thanks. I kind of already knew that, but was hoping you'd tell me it wasn't true. Well, so we made it out of there alive. And off to Target we went to get her prescription for her ear infection. She continued to climb. She tried to climb right into the pharmacy, as a matter of fact.
"Haylee, come sit in the cart if you can't behave."
"I don't want to."
"I didn't ask if you wanted to. Get over here."
"Whatever, quit acting like a jerk."
Silence thick enough to cut with a knife.
If you haven't seen my death stare, you should. I'm told it's scary. Haylee thought so. She put her head down and slowly walked to the cart . . . probably realizing that if we'd been back at the doctor's office, I would've found the soap. Sometimes I say a prayer of thanks that my children act this way in pharmacies with video cameras. This keeps me from giving them spankings that I'll later regret. And as a bonus, after our conversation in the car afterwards, I'm pretty sure she'll never call her mom another name again. Knock on wood.