Wednesday, December 19, 2007

These Boots Aren't Made For Walkin'

Going to the pediatrician’s office is so exhausting. I have to take the kids twenty-five minutes west on an interstate highway to get there. Some times it takes twenty-five minutes, but there have been times it has taken over an hour.

Today we cruised the highway with minimal traffic and arrived a little early. The practice is on the fourth floor of a four-story building, so we always take the elevator. Elevators terrify my son. A stranger happening upon the sight is sure to get a chuckle. There I am, five-feet two-inches tall, carrying my baby girl while my two year old son, who is almost as tall as I am, stands on my feet and wraps his arms around my legs.

Like most pediatrician’s offices this time of year the feverish, coughing, runny nosed children are equal in numbers to those scheduled for regular checkups. This means we wait. And we wait. I try to look at the bright side and remember that I at least am waiting with a well child and not a sick one. This is the easy waiting because Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street help to entertain the kids.

It’s the waiting that takes place in the exam room that’s treacherous. By this time it has been a good two hours since the baby has nursed, so she is getting hungry. My son can only be read the same book so many times or drive his cars over the same terrain for so long before he has to resort to going through drawers and touching buttons while mommy frantically follows in the wake of would-be destruction.

Once the doctor appears (she’s always smiling and cheery- how does she do that?) the baby cries every time she’s touched, and the toddler either needs to be repeatedly snatched from in front of the door whenever the nurse is about to enter or told to stop rolling around on the floor.

During the descent back to the parking lot two gentlemen came aboard the elevator car. Before giving birth to my first baby I was employed for three years by a local hospital. They required all employees to attend concierge training which basically taught the new hires to be thoughtful and polite in case they didn’t already know how. What I am trying to say is that I had enter and exit an elevator last drummed into my brain; so when we reached street level I politely stood and waited for these gentlemen to exit the car. They politely stood and waited for me to exit.

Now I was in a bit of a conundrum. I couldn’t reach the door open button and, not sensing any bodies, the doors began to close. Sensing the imminent danger of another ride up and down the elevator shaft with my sweet boy crushing my feet with his toddler size eight shoes, my elasti-woman reflexes kicked in and my right leg instinctively propelled itself between the closing doors and the opposing doorjamb. I’m sure I looked like an idiot; I was perched on one leg with the other leg sticking straight out from of my body; I gripped an infant car seat in my left hand, had the diaper bag slung over my shoulder, and was blindly searching for my two-year-old’s hand with my own.

The elevator doors yielded to my apparent sudden urge to practice yoga and opened again forthwith. The one gentleman asked, “You got that?” with a very concerned edge in his voice; I’m quite sure he was having visions of the door closing on my leg and snapping it into two pieces. I mumbled something stupid like, “Mommies learn how to use all their limbs at once” in my hoarse cold-ridden voice. He probably didn’t understand a word I said, so I didn’t waste any time worrying about whether he thought I was touched in the head or not.

As if the day thus far hadn’t been strenuous enough we always follow up a visit to the doctor with a trip into the Target around the corner. Exactly a week before Christmas the parking lot was rife with motorists hunting and racing for parking spaces, and haphazardly dodging pedestrians in the crosswalk. I got scared and parked far away from the entrance.

My son clumped along next to the stroller in his big snow boots as we very, very slowly, slowly rambled through the aisles. Those boots really slow him down and the big puffy winter coat doesn’t help the speed factor very much. I think it took us an hour to look at a handful of items scattered throughout the store.

We were just about to enter the checkout aisle when the little man was taken by a fit of weariness and sat down on the floor. He couldn’t take another step. So he decided to lie down. In front of an oncoming shopping cart. Once the he regained the use of his legs we had a speedy checkout and managed to get to the car safely with our sack of… baby food? Yep. That’s the whole kit-n-caboodle: because that’s what mommies do- risk their lives to secure food for their babies.

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