Sunday, July 11, 2010

Handy Helpers

Being a mom of three young children has made me extremely grateful for the kindness of strangers.  It has also made me realize that there are people out there who want to help other people just because.  It doesn't always happen, but many times when we are out in a store someone will go out of their way to offer a simple gesture of assistance.  Fellow shoppers have picked up my kids' dropped binkies, blankies, and sippy cups.  Most of the time a kind soul will jump ahead of me when walking into a building, store, or doctor's office to hold the door for my double-wide stroller and tag along toddler.  (notice I said, most of the time... I have had the opposite happen, but that is a post for another day!)  On more than one occasion, I have had a perfect stranger grab hold of my son to keep him away from danger.  Examples of this: When he's stuck at the top of a playground climber, unsure of how to get down, one foot-slip away from a fractured skull; when he's darting into a parking lot in chase of a ball that has rolled away; and when he has run so far away from me in the store that I can't possibly get to him before he heads straight out the exit door to escape a dreaded shopping trip.  Yes, there are good people out there that offer their help when you just can't do it all.  And I for one, am very lucky that these people exist.

Recently I was stuck bringing Joey along to the girls' 15 month check up.   I try to schedule all appointments around my husband or my mom's work schedule, but it was not possible on this day.  I tried to get Joey a babysitter, but she was unavailable. The friend that had offered to let me drop him off at their house ended up sick and didn't need a 3rd child in their company.  With no other options, I packed them up, loaded the bag with snacks, and hoped for the best.

As we got in the office, Joey immediately ran from one end of the waiting area to the other.  It was like his pants were on fire.  Seriously.  This kid does not sit still.  And unfortunately for me he is into a very obnoxious stage where listening is completely optional, following directions is not expected of him, and running a-muck is his top priority in any given situation.  I went left, he went right.  I said sit down, he jumped up.  I said put that magazine back, he tossed 63 more on the floor.  We were only 3 minutes into the appointment and I did not have a good feeling about it.

Luckily our wait time was minimal, and I think I heard cheers from the other parents when Katelyn and Olivia were called back for their exam.  The sweet 50-something year old nurse had no idea what was coming as she tousled Joey's irresistible red hair while walking us back to the biggest room that they have.  Knowing my time was extremely limited, I got right to work undressing each baby, half paying attention to the nurse's questions regarding eating, sleeping, gross motor skills, etc.  My conversation with this very patient woman sounded something like this:

Nurse: "We'll start with Katelyn.  What kind of milk is she drinking, and how much per day?"
Me: "Joey, don't climb the window.  Soy milk.  No, there are not any geese outside.  2 bottles with 6-8 each.  Please just sit down for mommy, OK?"
Nurse: "Is she eating table food?  What kind?
Me: "Here, have a snack.  Will you sit if I give you a snack?  Yes, she eats table food.  Pretty much anything I feed her.  I don't have gummies.  I brought you these crackers. Hot dogs, chicken, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, she isn't very picky.  No, I don't have peanut butter and jelly Joey.  We'll have some when we get home."
Nurse: Does Katelyn sleep through the night? How about naps?
Me: Yes, she is a great sleeper.  Joey, don't climb up there.  No, you don't neeeeeed that.  It's for the doctors to look in the babies ears. She naps once a day for about 2 hours.  You shouldn't climb in the trash can.

The conversation continued like this, and the nurse never even raised an eyebrow.  She just listened patiently, trying desperately to ignore the fact that my son was about to either crack his head open on the linoleum floor, or trash the place while he looked through my bag for gummies and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The nurse just sat there with her clipboard, writing down my answers, weighed Katelyn, and then we repeated the process with Olivia.

When the nurse finished up, and left the room I was just about ready to pound Joey to the moon.  I know that this behavior is normal for a 3 year old, but it embarrasses me to no end.  I want to appear that I can handle all of my children in a public place, and that I have total control over them.  I want to be proud when Joey obeys my simple direct commands like "sit down," "don't touch," "please stop," etc.  Instead I cringe at the fact that he is flat out ignoring me as if I haven't spoken a word.  The defiance that I am dealing with from this crazy boy is enough to drive anyone mad.

So there I sat in the doctor's office, waiting for the doctor to come in to examine the girls, wondering how long it would take and how I would possibly contain my son and stop myself from screaming at him in front of her.  The door opened, and our super-sweet, blond, cheerful doctor came in all smiles commenting on how much the girls had grown since their last visit.  It took me a moment to realize that the nurse had come in behind her and was asking Joey if he wanted to go for a walk with her to go get a sticker.  "WHAT?" I thought to myself.  "Someone actually wants to help me out by taking this 3 foot tall monster elsewhere so I can focus on what I'm hear to do?"  I could have kissed her.  Seriously.  Joey willingly took the kind nurse's hand, and off they went.  She kept him occupied for most of the examination part of the visit, and when they returned I thanked her profusely.  She only nodded, and just said that she was happy to help, and he is adorable.  Imagine that?  Someone who doesn't even know me is happy to help me and thinks that my unruly, talking-back, loud, excitable child is adorable.  Bless her heart.  She made my day and she doesn't even know it. 

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