"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Friday, December 10, 2010

just what the doctor ordered

I have witnessed tantrums that deserve to be written about on several occasions. I have watched a baby writhe in defiant anger and a preschooler become so unbelievably obstinate that it takes every ounce of control to see the situation through to the end. I have felt my blood pressure rise at the sights and sounds of my children acting in ways that I thought only Other People's Children acted.

But none of this could have prepared me for today. Today is a day that will live in infamy. At least in my own memory. Today is a day that, in similar future situations (god help me), I will refer back to in an attempt to deescalate an impending public tantrum. From this point onward, today will be known as The Day I Tried to Get Both Boys Vaccinated at The Same Time All By Myself.

Holy, Tantrum.

Now that I've had time to regain my composure (and pour a healthy-sized glass of wine), let's take a look back, shall we?

The calendar square was marked, but I had put this day out of my mind until late last night. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I was to bring a doctor-shy, one-year old and a I'll-Do-What-I-Want three-year old to get flu shots in the morning. With no Daddy Reinforcements. Hmmmm....time to strategize. Older one first? Younger one first? Pin-'em-down and poke 'em or take a more gentle Here's What's Going To Happen approach? Decisions, decisions....

Before the appointment this morning, I talked to Evan about what was going to happen. Luckily, I had some pretty enticing errands to run today, so I worked in a little bribery: "So, Evan, today we're going to get our Flu Vaccines. I need you to be a Big, Brave, Big Brother because Max might feel a little nervous about it. You don't need to be nervous about it because YOU know that a shot pinches for a minute but doesn't hurt for long." This was met with deliberate avoidance of eye-contact. "And besides, after the super-fast visit to the doctor, we get to do so many fun things! We get to go to the toy store that has the train table that you love to play with so much! We ALSO get to go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients to make cookies this afternoon! Doesn't that sound like fun?!" Evan perked up at this, but still seemed a bit reserved. I dropped it for awhile. Later, during snack, I said, "Okay, let's finish up, it's just about time to go get our vaccinations!" At this, Evan crossed his arms across his chest and put on his best grouchy face, "I am NOT going to go. THAT is my decision." Oooooooookay. So that's how we're going to play.

Somehow we got TO the doctor's office without incident. We even got into the room without so much as a whine. I bear-hugged Max and exposed his chubby thigh. Evan dutifully held Max's hand while the baby got poked and said, "It's okay, sweet lovey." And then. Then the nurse looked at Evan. Then he stomped to the door and crossed his arms and said, "I'm just walking out this door." So I said, "Not just yet, hon..." And then It Was On. Full-force, kicking, flailing, screeching, yelling. At one point he was under a row of chairs with a death-grip on the legs on either side of him. He was growling and thrashing. I would not have been surprised if he had started foaming at the mouth. It was animalistic.

And Max. My poor, sweet, just-got-a-shot baby. Instead of getting hugs and loves from Mommy, he was standing in the middle of the room, somehow avoiding the fray, just hysterical. Purple-face, breath-holding, screaming sobs to the point of shaking. It was the most upset he has ever been. And yes, I do remember how upset he was, just last week, when I was holding a nebulizer mask over his face.

Somehow I was able to get Evan into a bear-hug and said/yelled to the nurse (who was sweating as badly as I was), "JUST DO IT."
And it was done.
But it wasn't DONE, because *I* wasn't done. I, who had just gotten a more intense workout than I have since labor....I, who, was so embarrassed by the behavior that my child displayed that I am contemplating switching pediatric practices...I, who, felt so sorry for my younger child, who was exposed to such an ugly outburst....I, who, admittedly, hold grudges....wasn't ready to move on to a Happy Day quite so easily as my 3-year old.

The 12-minute drive home was a 12-minute lecture. Which, I know, was about 11.5 minutes longer than my 3-year old was able to pay attention. We got home and it was Time Out for a LONG time. Time Out in our house is really just a cool-down/separation time. It's time alone in his room, but he can do whatever he wants there, as long as he's not throwing a tantrum and stays put until we go in to Talk. I wasn't ready to Talk for close to an hour. Wanna know what he said when I finally went in there?

"Wow, Mommy. I just had such a nice time reading my books."


This kid knows Exactly how to push my buttons.

We somehow got through the afternoon. I was stilling holding on tight to my grudge (I'm working on that, by the way), but I was able to be a present and pleasant Mommy. Sam got home and I headed out for my own Time Out. Time to cool down.....Time by myself. I headed to the grocery store, so I could at least feel like I was checking something off The List.
Guess what I found?
And guess what I'm doing tonight?
Lesson Learned:

Mommy's Time Out was just what the doctor ordered. I got home to three happy guys, eating dinner together. Had some snuggle time, reading on the couch with the littles before heading up for baths and bedtime. And again, am reminded to Not Sweat The Small Stuff and be thankful. Oh, and next time, Daddy has Shot Duty.

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