Parenting is a land mine of firsts, first laughs, first steps, first words, first swear words, first solid foods, first well check, first night away, first date night post baby, first girls night post baby… There are SO many firsts. And they never stop.
Today marked a special first in our home: our first combined well check. And – because let’s not just stop there, where it makes sense – I was riding solo which was also a first. It was the me and the boys.
So, to recap, the boys had their 18-month and 3-year well checks together today and I took them by myself. Translation: I am a fucking moron who bit off more than she could chew because, as a mom, that’s just what I do. And then I regret it. BUT, here’s the real kicker, then I forget it in a wave of psychotic ambition and do it again. And again. And again. And again. It’s the same reason I took both kids to the zoo by myself on Monday to explore their new adventure play area and spent a half of the time in a panicked state because one of them was always missing.
Will I ever learn my lesson? Yeah, I mean, I hope so. But also – realistically – probably not. I am the quintessential millennial mom – I over plan their birthday parties, I probably over schedule their days and I overanalyze everything they do and say and everything I do and say. I’m done denying it; that’s just who I am and, for now, the kids seem fine (I think – I mean, do we ever really know?).
I was optimistic about the doctor’s appointment until we got down to crunch time, getting-out-of-the-door time. Matty, having been prepped on where we were going, started getting really anxious and started rolling around slowly on the floor to avoid putting his shoes on. He was mumbling weird things in a mopey voice and giving me his best puppy dog eyes. I asked him multiple times to get his shoes on. Each time he answered me with a weird mumble and a low volume grunt. Abbott, clueless as a daisy, hovered by the door repeatedly asking to go. When we passed my patience threshold which usually – and not at all coincidentally – coincides with that moment when I realize there is no way we’ll be on time unless we leave within the next thirty seconds, I looked at Matty who was now crouching behind a chair in our bedroom.
“Ok, Matty. Abbott and I are leaving. We’re going to the doctor and then to school. See you later!”
I walked out of the room, grabbing his shoes on the way. This is always a risky move because you never know if today is going to be the day they finally call your bluff and happily invite you to leave. Luckily, today wasn’t that day.
When we got to the doctor’s office, five minutes after our appointment time, Matty refused to get out of the car. We had parked on the side of the pediatricians office lined with windows. With Abbott in one arm and the diaper bag on the other, I stood patiently with the car door propped open trying to talk Matty out of the car.
“Matty, please get out of the car.”
“Matheson, I am not kidding. If you don’t get out of the car, you are going to be in big trouble.”
“NO! I DON’T WANT TO GO!”
“Matty, we’re late. We need to go inside.”
I could feel the sweat dripping down my face as Abbott became more and more impatient. Unsure of who could see us through the windows I tried to look as pleasant as possible while I threatened my child with lost privileges and bribed him with the possibility of new toys. Nothing worked. At this point, I was full-on sweating, sweatstache in full force. Abbott was growing more impatient by the minute and my situational awareness started to fade away.
“Matheson. Get. Out. Of. The. Car.”
“No. I don’t want to go there. I’m going to school.”
“I WILL LEAVE YOU IN THIS CAR, I SWEAR I WILL, IT IS NOT TOO HOT TO DO THAT TODAY!”
Matty looked at me with a look that could kill while a small part of me died hearing the words that had just come out of my mouth. #proudMOMents?
“Uggggggh. Fine, Mom! You’re just being a boss!”
This is Matty’s new and endearing way of telling me he thinks I’m being too bossy, but only a fool would correct him.
When the nurse entered the lobby and called the boys’ names, Matty clung to my leg while Abbott, still as clueless as a daisy, greeted her with a smile. When we turned the corner, Matty saw the height and weight station and lost it. He threw himself on the ground and screamed louder than I’ve ever heard him scream. He kicked and he flailed and he hit and rolled. Abbott was emotionally confused – he wanted to be upset because Matty was upset but he himself wasn’t actually upset at all. I reassured him it was okay and that Matty was okay and thank god Abbott is so laid back because he was the one, without being able to put a thought together, that convinced Matty to get his shit together. He let the nurse take his temperature, measure his head, weigh him and measure his height without flinching. And Matty, not to be shown up, hesitatingly followed suit.
Back in the office, the nurse asked me some questions while the boys looked at books and puzzles. I was still sweating more than I should have been and I couldn’t help but hyper-focusing on the fact that the nurse was not sweating at all. When the nurse left, Matty immediately asked we could leave, too. Then our doctor walked in and Matty immediately took note of the tongue depressor and otoscope in her hand and wasn’t having it. He kicked and he flailed and he hit and rolled. He screamed and he begged to leave. Unphased, our pediatrician made small talk while I wrestled with Matty and strained to hear her over his wailing. I wondered if she even realized he had lost it or if this was so typical she didn’t even take note. This is why I hate going to the pediatrician – it’s kind of like the dentist – it’s absolutely so absurd when people try to carry on a conversation with you while you’re obviously in the middle of having a wrestling match with the demon who has overtaken your child’s body, it really isn’t that different from when the dentist shoves those apparatuses in your mouth and then start asking you about your life. Like, what are you guys doing?!
At this point my pores had opened up like high-pressure faucets, I was sweating everywhere. Then the examination started, on my lap. Matty kicked and screamed and flailed. I held on as tight as I could and prayed for it to be over and then just when I thought we were in the clear the pediatrician dropped a bomb.
“Okay, buddy. Good job. Now, we just need to examine your brother and check your lead levels and you’ll be all done!”
For those who are fortunate enough to not know, checking lead levels requires a finger poke or as Matty now calls it “a finger shot”.
Abbott’s examination was great because, again, clueless as a daisy. And then the nurse re-emerged with her plate of needles and vaccinations and everything went to hell in a hand basket. I don’t need to give you a visual about how the shots went because it was just more of the same except poor Abbott finally broke. After his shots I tried to ask if he wanted stickers or a toy, anything really, and each time his precious little face, red as a tomato, covered in snot and tears would scrunch up and he shriek a high-pitched “NO!” in my face. At one point a doctor in the hallway over heard one of our exchanges about a sticker and laughed. I also couldn’t help but laugh, it was finally over – I had succeeded in being a stand-up parent, sort of. I mean, all three of us left alive and only partially scarred and sometimes as a parent that’s a win.
I wonder what our next first will be. I can only hope it’s something, like, the first time our kids sleep in until noon OR the first time our kids voluntarily put themselves to bed at 5pm AND then sleep in until noon. CAN YOU IMAGINE?!
*This is published a day late, so the appointment was yesterday. I’m still slightly traumatized but still mostly proud we survived.