Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Waiting Game

An hour and a half is a long time for a grown up to spend at a doctor's office.

Now imagine that same hour and a half in the company of an almost two-year-old kid in a stroller.

Sounds fun, right?

Ella never ceases to amaze me. I can say that with a positive spin, now that she has been asleep for over three hours.

I thought I was going to lose my mind.

I haven't been able to wear my contacts for six days--ever since I put a new one in and it felt uncomfortable, but I wore it anyway because I was in a rush to drive Ella somewhere. When I finally got home, I took them out and put my glasses on, and I haven't been able to put them back in since.

Today, I finally went to the doctor.

I woke Ella up from her nap so that we would get there on time. You read that right--I woke up the kid who just last week started sleeping without a pacifier and still cries for the first part of her nap.

I told her we were going to the doctor, which she actually seemed kind of excited about. We are training her to like doctors. It helps that her daddy is a doctor, so when I talk about him being at work "helping make other kids feel all better" and "fixing people's boo-boos" she associates doctors with Daddddddyyy. When we go to the doctor, I always say, "We're going to see our friend Dr. Whoever. She's fun!"

When we got there, I explained that we were waiting our turn.

I was armed with three board books, two smoothie pouches, raisins, a magnetic sketch pad, and her Fisher-Price doctor bag. In the waiting room there were magazines, and music and TV playing simultaneously (though it pains me to be in the same room as FOX News, the images on the screen held her visual attention for a few minutes, and I think the songs held her aural attention).

This is Dr. Ella Anderson checking Baby's ears.
She alternately blurted "turn!" and "doctor!" while other patients got called back. I explained that she could sit on "the big chairs" until it was "mommy's turn" and then she would have to go back into the stroller, so that we could see the doctor. She added, "Mommy turn!" to the mix.

Later, she also had "the choice" to go back to the stroller if she couldn't "sit on her tushy" instead of standing on the chair. It helped when we were able to move seats so that she could see the whole room without turning around. We started taking each others vitals and checking our ears with her doctor equipment. Every single patient in the waiting room--the ones who got there before us and the ones who got there after us--went back before they finally called my name.

From her stroller, Ella watched with fascination as the "doctor"/tech took my vitals.

Then I had to explain that we had to wait (again!) for the "doctor"/nurse practitioner to "come take care of mommy's boo-boo on her eye."


I had hoped to keep her in the stroller for the remainder of the visit, but even I couldn't sit still any longer. Plus there was a mirror on the back of the door, so she had to check her smile and make sure she was carrying her doctor's bag just so.

I gave up and let her sit on the carpeted floor (gross!) just to keep her from touching other stuff and/or getting whacked when the nurse practitioner finally did come back to look at my eye.

Wouldn't you know it, today some other guy in town scratched his eye, too, so the one black light they have in the doctor's office was already being used by another doctor for another patient.

By the time she came back, I had given Ella a smoothie pouch, all of her raisins, and accepted the return of a not-so-delightful chewed pretzel. We had checked our vitals, given shots, drawn blood, put on band-aids, read all of her books, drawn circles and sky and ocean and flowers, tried on her sunglasses and hat, sung songs, counted to ten, and I was bouncing her on my knees as if she were riding a horse. A very bouncy horse.

The upside is: she was giggling and aside from what is becoming par for the course frustration of a (not quite!) two-year-old who wants to do everything herself ("self! self!") but is, well, small and relatively uncoordinated, she didn't cry at all. The downside is: my back hurts and did I already mention I thought I was going to lose my mind?

Fortunately, the doctor had the foresight to show Ella the blacklight on her arm and sleeve before she numbed my eye and coated it in yellow dye. Then, she turned off the room lights and shone the black light on my face. I'm thinking her body might have been blocking Ella's view because there was still no crying. (Even in pitch dark!)

We walked home to pick up another prescription before going to the pharmacy.

I wanted to drive there, but Ella flipped out because she loves to ride in her stroller (seriously? after being in that thing for almost two hours?). In a momentary lapse of judgement I folded, and we walked.

It would be good for Mommy to take a walk, right?

The customer in front of us at the pharmacy counter was negotiating with the pharmacist for long enough that Ella developed a relationship with the line that grew behind us. Almost 6 p.m. and I'm in CVS with my kid who knows it's dinnertime.

More snacks!

When we finally got into our house Ella literally ran back and forth and back and forth in the living room. She was a puppy.

She'd eaten so many snacks I wasn't sure she'd want dinner, but she did. She just didn't want to sit in her highchair. Not even for strawberries. And she was eyes-dancing-dimple-showing excited for strawberries.

I lured her into the kitchen and away from the toys and "basketball" (she kept saying it over and over, because we had talked about watching the Lakers game when we got home and Daddy loves basketball) by playing music. She danced while I washed the strawberries.

There was nothing I could do to get her into the highchair, and I wasn't really willing to try very hard. Her reaction to our trying afternoon was to run, play and dance. Mine would have been to collapse on the couch with chocolate and a porter or two. And maybe some chips. We ended up dancing (who can say no to a toddler's dance request?), and she sat on my lap while we shared cheese, a sandwich, and strawberries.

Just what the doctor ordered.

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