There was a time when I could leave my house without fear, boldly taking my children with me wherever I wanted to go. Then I had Jakob.
Taking Jakob out in public without backup is a truly terrifying experience. Even with backup, he typically ends up getting either a) lost, b) injured, or sometimes c) both a and b. But on this particular day, I was feeling reckless. I’m an experienced mom, I can handle a little doctor’s appointment all by myself, can’t I?
So I bravely put the two little ones into the Suburban, and off we went. Since Jakob loves to go…anywhere, he was very excited. We pulled up at the office, I unbuckled him, and he ran straight into the parking lot. I caught him by the arm and directed him to the lawn in front of the building, where he immediately struck up a conversation with the first stranger he saw. By this time I had gotten Bitsy out of the car, and we headed into the office, where Jakester ran down the wrong hall. I caught him again, and we headed upstairs to the pediatrician’s office.
Check in went smoothly, and soon we were ushered back into an examination room by the nurse. Bitsy was weighed and measured: 11 pounds, 2 ounces and 23 inches long. She was smiling and cooing at the nurses the whole time. They thought she was adorable. Then it was Jakob’s turn. At this point I need to explain to you that Jakob, World’s Bravest Toddler, has an irrational fear of all things medical. I have no idea why. Maybe he has some traumatic memories from his surgery when he was a baby. Or maybe he just enjoys humiliating me. Either way, when the very nice nurse asked him to step up on the scale, he suddenly lost the ability to stand. He dropped to the ground and started rocking himself back and forth, looking and sounding very much like Golum. (Have I ever mentioned that in addition to his athletic prowess, he also has some great theatrical skills? He looked truly pathetic.) The nurse tried to cajole him, but it was no use. I picked him up and plopped him on the scale, being the cold, heartless mom that I am. Twenty eight pounds. Then it was time to step over the measuring wall. The process repeated itself. I have no idea how tall he is, since he refused to stand anywhere near the markings.
The nurses then left us to wait for the doctor. Jakob immediately stopped cowering and started chattering. I looked him over as we talked. He currently has a gash in the middle of his forehead with a great big mosquito bite next to it, a burn covering the back of his right hand, various bumps and bruises all over his arms and legs, a missing front tooth, and two tattoos which DO NOT wash off with soap and water, I don’t care what the manufacturer says. I wondered if the doctor was going to turn us in for child abuse.
There was a knock on the door, and in walked Dr. V. Dr. V. is very, very good with children. He talked to Jakob for a few minutes. All was well. Elisabeth smiled and cooed some more. Still going fine. Then The Examination began. It did not go well. The doctor listened to Jakob’s heart. Jakob started to panic. Approximately three seconds later, he started an all out wail. He wailed as the doctor checked his ears, he wailed as the doctor checked his mouth (the wailing actually made this part easier), he wailed as the doctor checked his tummy. He wailed even louder as the doctor started on Bitsy’s examination. She did not wail, although she was starting to look a bit worried at all the commotion. As the doctor tried to talk to me (developmental milestones, watch out for swine flu, yada, yada), Jakob realized that we weren’t paying any attention to him, so he threw himself over the arm of his chair and bellowed. The doctor talked louder. I resisted the urge to explain that my other children had all been very well behaved at their three year old checkups. Jakob sobbed. The doctor explained that children’s personalities are well defined by the time they are two months old. I thought back to Jakob’s infancy when the entire family would gather around him, frantically trying to get him to stop crying, and had to agree. Jakob screeched. By this time he was totally faking it. The doctor talked louder. I resisted the urge to kill my child. The doctor finished up and left the room. Jakob sat up and started chattering happily again.
And then…THEN it was time for the shots. Since Jakob had bad reactions to just about everything as a baby, we chose to delay his vaccinations. Which meant that he still needed some shots. I needed an aspirin. Typically the nurses give the children shots while they are sitting in their parents’ laps, but at this point they were a little bit afraid of the Jakester. So onto the examination table he went, with me holding down his top half and a nurse at each leg. The shots were over in the blink of an eye (Those nurses were efficient!), and then Jakob started to SCREAM. And scream. And scream some more.
Then it was Bitsy’s turn. And she started to scream.
The receptionist smiled sympathetically as I left the office with my two wailing children. Everyone else was just relieved that we were going.
They’re both doing fine today, by the way. In fact, just this morning Daniel was heard to ask, “Who put the jar of peanut butter in the sugar canister?” And Jakob giggled.