Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Tell me why I thought it would be no problem to take Mr. Attitude to the doctor's office for his vaccinations, which he needed by the 24th, or a philosophical objection, to be admitted to kindergarten.

In retrospect, it would have been a lot easier to get the objection notarized and be done with it. That's what I did with Starflower. And I do have one friend whose daughter died of reactions to vaccines, so vaccination is a careful choice around here.

But this is not about the choice. This is about, WHY CAN'T MY KIDS BE NORMAL ONCE IN A WHILE?

After I picked them up from school (Starflower and Attitude; Calvin took the bus) we had about 45 minutes to kill before the appointment. So, I thought, why don't we go down to Robinson Park along the river and do a short hike? I always wanted to see how far the trail went along the river, and I heard there was a bat cave somewhere in the vicinity. So off we went. We made it to what must be the end of the trail, and what looked at the surface to be the entrance to a pretty darn big bat cave. Since I personally don't like bats, and we had to get to the clinic on time, I discouraged Starflower and Mr. Attitude from further investigation. But, oh for cool. I like rock outcrops, and a CAVE! wow.

So off to the clinic we went, where we were informed that one doctor had been called out for a birth (totally forgivable) so they were running late. However, Mr. Attitude and waiting rooms do not get along well. He played with the toys they had for a while, but he was more interested in the public phone, and trying to turn off the lights to the room. I kept my temper in check.

We were finally called in to an examining room, where I was reminded why it is inadvisable to bring more than one offspring into such situations. They had raided the rubber gloves, and were filling them at the sink, when I drew the line.

I was just trying to get Mr. Attitude to sit still. I was just maybe falsely expecting some kind of reasonable behavior. I warned him three times. But all hell broke loose when I snapped and said "Okay. We will NOT go for ice cream on the way home! You had been warned!"

So I was left holding a hopelessly out of control five year old who was crying for ice cream, while in turn the nurse came in and did her thing, and then the doctor came in and tried to ask me all the standard questions, which I could barely hear over the screaming. Then came the shots. I would have liked to ask a few more questions about why these things were necessary, but I cannot carry a conversation when my kid is screaming his lungs off.

Then, as we were leaving, I realized the nurse had not given me the very vaccination form I had come to get completed, so my son could stay in kindergarten. I went back into the examining room halls, but everyone had disappeared. I was in tears at that point. Oh well, I will tell them to forward all the necessary info the the school. We had done our part.

Did I tell you Starflower, when the nurse was trying to check Mr. Attitude's blood pressure, was pumping on his elbow?

I did a good job. I kept my composure, although strangling my offspring certainly seemed like a possibility. Good thing we were in a semi public place.


Madcap said...

Yeah, publicity helps sometimes. Unfortunately it also seems to provoke some of the more trying behaviours, too!

Floridacracker said...

That's not normal 5 year old bored and a little scared behavior?
Seems familiar to me :)
I remember announcing that I would NEVER eat in a nice restaurant again after a particularly trying meal with the girls when they were toddlers.
That didn't hold of course.

Nice writing Deb, I was chuckling and nodding in agreement the whole time I read it.

Cold up there yet?

momadness said...

Hope you are all doing better. Didn't mama say there'd be days like that?

barefoot gardener said...

I think normal parenting regularly involves stifling the urge to kill your children.

On the other hand, have you heard of the "mother's curse"? Whenever I complain to my mom that the kids are being evil, she just laughs and says I was just like that.

I don't believe it.

Deb said...

Madcap- My kids just don't get out often enough. I think if they did, maybe they would have less anxiety about public places!

FC- Bored-yes. Scared-yes. Nice restaurants...does Applebee's count? I took the kids there when we were school shopping. I guess my kids don't have a lot of exposure to "normal" human experiences, thus the anxious behavior. Yeah, it's all normal. Glad to hear from a parent who's been there, done that!

Despite our covering efforts, gardening is basically done for the year. Although I am starting to question our thermometer; there's no doubt we had a hard frost the other day, but I think it tends to "bottom out" lower than it should. I'd like to get another thermometer to see what the discrepancy is.

Momadness- Of course not! My brother and I were perfect angels! Ha ha. But I don't remember acting like my kids do--guess it comes from The Hermit's side? ;)

Barefoot Gardener- Agreed, that strangling urge comes with the territory. Although it's mostly based on what I think others are expecting of me, so I probably should not react so much. In my community, when my kids are acting up, more often than not I've had people say "They're just kids." They tacitly say they understand. So that's good.

As to the "mother's curse", see above. I don't remember ever being like that!

Lynne said...

OMG! Deb, I'm sorry but I laughed through this whole post! First of all, you are a terrific story teller and writer! Second- We never (hardly) took our kids out to eat for the first 7-8 years. When the kids were little I used to have dreams of spanking them! I'm not a spanker so the dreams were SO SATYSFYING!! I'm sure Mr. Attitude was tired and nervous and your other two were probably tired from behaving all day in school. When my kids were younger they would come home from school and have melt-downs. When I mentioned it to one of the teachers she said it was common behavior as they had both spent the whole day in a structured setting, trying to sit still, pay attention, behave themselves. When they got home they'd fall apart.
Rant away! Your kids ARE normal!

elise said...

I can remember the time that my son had to have blood taken. He was probably 6 or 7 years old. As we held him kicking and screaming the woman who was doing it asked in a snide tone "how old is he?" as if he was too old to be carrying on. He had pneumonia with a temperature of 105 degrees...I could have killed her.
Another time someone complimented me on how calm I was as my trantrum throwing, son ripped a huge chunk of hair out of my daughter's head (she actually had a bald spot from it). It all depends on who you come acrossed.

Deb said...

Lynne- thanks! Yes, I'm sure he was tired and nervous; he had warned me emphatically that he didn't like to get shots (and who can blame him?)And he and Starflower have a tendency to act boldly and impulsively when they are in a different situation. We ended up okay, with lots of hugs and cuddling at night.

Elise- The doctor and nurse seemed to act like this was standard operating procedure for kids! :) I would have had the urge to strangle anyone who made snide remarks about my child's behavior in a stressful situation like yours was!