Occasionally I do things that I know I shouldn't do, but I've got this streak of pride that makes me believe I can handle the crazy.
Because, somehow, I believe that things have changed. A few years down the road, a few more children tugging at the apron strings... perhaps it's not matured me as much as I would like to believe.
The thing is, I took all five children to the doctor's office with me today for a well check up for Anna. As if that's not bad enough, the appointment was at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Which means that even thought I manipulated the morning such that nap time was earlier than normal, the delicate balance was disrupted.
You're seeing it, aren't you? The stupid shining through?
Oh, yeah. I see you rolling your eyes at me.
"Aubrey! Don't you know better than this by now?"
We arrived for our 3:30 appointment promptly at 3:35
As a home-schooler, I find I frequently forget about school zones and how they will affect my travel time. Anyone else struggle with this?
I was slightly surprised when the receptionist called me by name. We've been with this doctor for less than a year and honestly haven't spent a lot of time there, thank goodness! I smiled and hoped it's just her fantastic memory that brought my name to her mind so easily and not the shenanigans we are so capable of...
Y'all, I was tired walking into this thing. I allowed the boys go to the play area where Daniel zeroed in on the only talking toy and hit the same button over and over and over and over and over...
You get what I'm saying. I know you do.
The girls gravitated to the complete opposite side of the waiting room and sat on a couch to look at books quietly.
Normally, I've absolutely no patience for allowing this kind of thing to happen. If they are close together, they can all bask in the warmth of my approval. Or...they hum the chorus of 'Goodnight Siagon' in unison. But they were quiet and being really good and I was so tired, so I let it go.
We waited for less than five minutes before they called us back. I should have known right then that things were not going to go well. I scrambled to gather my chicks together and heard them through the door. There were stragglers and it took us a long time to get everyone down the hall to the scales.
Things went smoothly for height and weight (40.5 inches and 37lbs, my wildflower of a 4 year old is!!) and we were led to an exam room. Anna jumped up on the table, excited to be the center of attention. Sarah Grace and Elizabeth scrapped for a second or two over the room's only chair, and Thomas walked around restlessly before I led him by the ear to exam table's step. Daniel stayed on my hip and drooled relentlessly on my white shirt.
PSA: Mothers of young children should not own white. Or black. Or navy. They show bodily fluids the most. Your welcome.
Things settled down as the nurse took Anna's vitals and I thought we might be good to go. I walked out in the hallway, Daniel on my hip, with Anna and the nurse for Anna's eye exam and was so proud that the older three told Knock-Knock jokes and played I-Spy while we were out of the room.
Daniel pulled at Anna's hair-bow the entire time and she still passed the sight test with flying colors.
Back in the room, Anna got situated on the exam table again and the nurse explained the hearing test she was about to give Anna.
"Just raise your hand when you hear the sound, okay sweetie?"
"Kay." She grinned and waved both hands to show she was capable of such action.
The other kids all looked curiously over at what was going on. Anna giggled and told everyone it sounded a little like Mommy's cell phone ringing. The nurse smiled and reminded her to raise her hand.
Daniel was gently jerking at my hair and I was trying to dissuade him with mere words so as not to make too much noise and distract Anna from her hearing test.
Her hands were flying up and down and all around and she was grinning and squealing 'beeep'....'beeeeeep'.
I think the nurse decided she could hear just fine. That or she flunked her straight up.
A handful of questions about general health stuff and the nurse told us the doctor would be in to see us soon. I finally turned my full attention to Daniel and the strands of hair he had stolen from my tender scalp. One more tug earned him a thump to the hand and a reminder that Mommy said 'no'.
About the time Daniel dissolved into tears, I turned to see Thomas laying with his cheek on the floor. What I mean to say is, his face was on the tile of the exam room floor. Ew! The phrase 'flu season' means nothing to these people. I got him to his feet and reiterated my stance on faces on the floor of public buildings.
The girls began squabbling over who got to hold my purse and then Elizabeth told me she needed to go to the restroom. Perfect timing, though, as the nurse was returning with a cup for a sample of pee from the patient.
Now asking a four year old to pee in a cup is not exactly something I want to clean up after, so I handed Daniel off to Thomas with instructions to feed him M&M's slowly until I got back and Anna, Elizabeth, and I headed off down the hall to the bathroom. I asked a nurse to check in on the other three kids when she had a minute.
Several unsuccessful minutes later, we emerged from the bathroom with a still empty cup. We got about half-way to our exam room when I realized a child was screaming. In fact, my child was screaming.
I dragged the younger two girls the rest of the way down the hall and walked into the room where Thomas was holding a screaming Daniel, a nurse was holding an ice pack to the baby's forehead, and the office manager was standing trying to calm both boys. Sarah Grace was still reading her book.
Daniel had tripped and fallen, hitting his head on the step to the exam table, so he was upset. Thomas was distraught because he was the one on 'baby watch' and Sarah Grace was still reading her book.
We got the room cleared out of everyone but family and I managed to get the boys both calmed. I directed Anna back to the exam table and Elizabeth back to the chair with Sarah Grace, who was still reading her book. Thomas wandered over to the doctor's spinny stool and commenced spinning in wild circled while making wild boy noises.
After telling Thomas to sit like a tame child on the stool, I realized that Elizabeth was whining. I looked over to find her begging to be allowed to sit down and Sarah Grace was still reading her book, thoroughly ignoring Elizabeth's pleas.
Thomas had obeyed the command to stop spinning but was literally shoving off the walls with his feet and flying from one place to the next with a slight body slam each time.
I intensely advised Thomas that perhaps the best thing for him was to stand against the wall with his hands folded in front of him.
Then I realized that Sarah Grace was no longer reading her book, but giving Elizabeth a hard time, who was still whining about her sister not sharing the chair with her. They were met with the same advice Thomas had received and I slid into the now vacant chair just as the doctor walked in.
She took in the scene and wisely ignored the older three children.
A few medical questions down the road and a slightly frazzled me trying to answer questions for the right child (wait, does Anna eat meat well or not? Who is it that doesn't like milk?), Dr. C pulled her stethoscope and began listening to Anna's lungs, belly, etc.
Anna isn't afraid of this kind of thing but she occasionally decides to be wholly uncooperative. Wouldn't you know it, today was one of those days.
I went to stand next to Anna and hold her hand and 'encourage' her with my nearness. Daniel was encouraging too, and threw his sippy cup on the floor to better be able to support his sister. The stinking cup broke and water went everywhere.
*Insert pause in medical exam while sweet Dr. C and I mopped up water*
The 'I' word was used and Dr. C mentioned that perhaps we should send the other children out in the hall while the army of nurses came in to administer the shots. I agreed. Dr. C left, assuring us that the nurses would be in soon.
I debated weather or not to inform Anna of what was coming up, and I finally chose to fill her in. I quickly glossed over the 'shot' part and went quickly to the bag of M&M's I had just for her when it was all over. She bravely stuck her finger in her mouth and started sucking it.
"I want Wah-Wah to stay with me," she informed us, invoking the pet name she uses for Sarah Grace.
Done. So Thomas and Elizabeth left the room as the nurse brigade came in. Sarah Grace and I manned either side of Anna's upper torso while two nurses prepared the immunizations and two other nurses were there for reinforcements. We had to physically push her down and I held one hand while "Wah-Wah" held the other. Daniel was on my hip, watching the entire show.
The screaming began before anyone ever touched her legs. And Daniel, sympatheticto the core, wailed right along with her, looking for all the world like a bruised fighter with his newly blackening eye.
Anna screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed. All but one nurse left and Anna screamed. The nurse reached to wipe her tears with a Kleenex and Anna pulled away and screamed. I reached out to help her sit up and Anna pulled away and screamed.
Daniel continued to voiced his sympathy.
Finally, I told her the dramatics ended now and she needed to sit up like a big girl. Miraculously, she obeyed, but still refused human touch or Kleenex. She snubbed and sniffled, but at least the screaming was over. Daniel took her cue and eased up, too.
Then I realized that there were cries coming from out in the hallway. Thomas and Elizabeth were 'playing', only neither of them were happy. They were whining and wailing back and forth at one another, though neither were crying. They must have felt me glaring at them because they both looked up with guilty expressions at the same time.
No words were exchanged as I stared them back into the exam room. They wordlessly resumed their positions on the wall and, to their credit, were angelic throughout the check out process.
We made it to the car without so much as a peep from any of my chicks, and were soon on our way.
I could go on and tell you how the ATM ate my card and then informed me it was Temporarily Out of Service, and all the fun that went on with that and five children, but we'll just end the afternoon's tales right there.
I came home and self-medicated with root beer, chocolate, and tylenol, so my humor is somewhat restored. I know in a few days, it will be hilarious. But for now, the sugar has taken the edge off just enough for me to get it all down. For some reason, I deem this as a day I'll want to look back on at some point.
Or maybe I just want to open the book to this chapter and hand it to my kids and remind them how very much I love them.
I'm not totally convinced that there was chocolate in the Garden of Eden. In a perfect world, it's not necessary. But given our fallen status, the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, gave us chocolate. Just for days like this.
You think I'm joking, don't you? You better believe that 'chocolate' is on my list of Thankfullies.