Sunday, July 31, 2016

Why Toddlers Shouldn't Be Allowed in Waiting Rooms.

Every waiting room is different and yet exactly the same.

It's not enough that none of them have updated their hold music since the 1980s, but they all hired the exact same decorators and ambiance.
And snifflers.
And coughers.
And that one dude who's super confused by the paperwork (I confess: it's usually me).

I wonder if there's like a design package the doctor chooses or if each office is actually put together individually.

"I want a room where the ill feel hope and encouragement," says the new doc all ready to change the world before he meets his first patient who self-diagnosed on WebMD. 
"Easy. You need eighties florals and burgundy or neutral. Everything neutral. Except the chairs. Those have to be blue or green and pleather so they make fart sounds when patients squirm," replies his designer.
"Really? You sure?"
"Yes.  If you don't want to do landscape or floral paintings, I have several generic abstract artwork that just screams, 'SOMETHING MUST OCCUPY THIS EMPTY WALL SPACE.' You'll love it. Remember: the decor makes you a legitimate physician, not your degree," says the designer who happens to frequents WebMD.  "And, if you have any windows, make sure to have the blinds closed at all times. Sunlight kills hope."

And so every physician's office ever fades into a generic blur of uncomfortable chairs and ridiculous wait times.

 Usually, you can sit in a waiting room bored out of your mind without interacting with anyone.  But, a couple weeks ago, I had to bring the Man Cub to see his pediatrician.
Totally different ball game. They make waiting rooms . . . interesting . . .
  •  They make it hard to get anywhere on time.
    I ran late before having a kid, but I could still make most things on time. After kid? I don't want to talk about it. It's a constant source of stress and mortification.  There is always a missing set of keys, sippy cup, shoe (just one), or a poopy diaper JUST as we absolutely HAVE to walk out the door, and I am just UGH. There's not really an excuse, but it makes me feel better about my state of constant tardiness. The School of Life would totally have suspended me by now.
    As it is, we arrived at our most recent appointment exactly seven minutes late.
    Yes, exactly seven. I keep track because we have a supposed ten minute grace period. I love grace periods. They're like my bread and butter.

  • They may or may not be satisfied with the provided entertainment.
    Toddlers are finnicky about . . . well . . . everything. Sometimes, even their entertainment.
    "The snow glows white on the mountain tonight  . . ."
    Ah, son, look! We will now hear Elsa's impassioned tune of repression and catharsis. We've not heard this a bajillion million times splattered across social media and everywhere else. It just won't die.
    So I pull the little fellow into my lap to see if he is interested in learning about female empowerment from a musical so totally NOT based on Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen (don't get me started).  He's bored before Elsa has shed her restrictive royal gown for a sexy sheathe.
    The females in the room remain transfixed. This, apparently, is their first time experiencing the moody, introverted queen's great release, and their mothers don't yet hate the soundtrack . . . or maybe it's just white noise now . . .
    My kid? He and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi have the same motto: "Run and find out!"
    Sitting still--especially for princess movies--doesn't translate.
. . . That's a version I'd watch over and over again, personally . . .
  • They have no sense of personal space
    You ever notice that toddlers will just like walk up to people and touch them? Talk to them? About everything?
    Ronan has tried to steal discarded playground shoes (the boy has a sense of style, you know . . . . or he may have been trying to return them--he believes feet should always be in shoes) and has reached into purses without hesitation or any remnant of shame.
    He also likes to look--like, just walk right up to people and stare from a safe distance. Unbroken eye contact for an undetermined amount of time. So uncomfortable.
    And this what he does in the pediatrician's office: wandering around just looking at each patient and her parentals, giving them his wide-eyed stare or sheepish smirk. Most times, people smile because they see this:

  • But toddlers' lack of personal space may make them irritating 
    It doesn't take long for him to notice a little girl in a sparkling tutu-style skirt. Frills? Glitter? Minnie Mouse? How utterly mesmerizing. So he gives her this toddler grin and reaches out to touch her hand.
    The boy's smoooooooth, peeps. Real smooth.
    She gives him the side eye and brushes him off.
    "I'm sorry. Ronan come here," I say with a smile and take Man Cub's hand to usher him back to our seats.
    Her mom and sister don't acknowledge us.  I don't know what it is about human nature, but, if we want to be ignored, we don't make eye contact. It's like this "If I can't see them, they can't see me" nonsense.

  • They bring grumps out of hiding
    Again, I redirect Man Cub, but, doggone it, he has his heart set on wooing tutu child. "I am so sorry," I say to her mother, smiling awkwardly as I bring him back to our seat.
    She glances at me, and I suddenly know EXACTLY where her daughter learned the stink eye. "He's not sick, is he?"
    "Oh, no, no, he's just here for his vaccine."
  • Who make you doubt your parenting skills, your child, and pretty much how all of your existence is a failure.
    Okay, maybe it's just me and my all-to-unshakeable self-esteem, but seriously, she might as well have just said, "Get your savage, germ-ridden mini manbest away from my princess, you weakened matriarch!"
    I am suddenly all-too aware that every person in that waiting room refuses to look at us in any way. Not my child as he smiles at them, and not me as I mutter apologies chasing him down.
    Maybe I should control him better.
    Maybe at nineteen months he should be perfectly content siting perfectly still for an hour and a half watching a sparkly movie.  Can they do that under two?
    Maybe I haven't trained him to listen very well, and I'm THAT mom. You know the one: she just keeps calling to her kid to no avail as he runs further and further away, wreaking havoc with every step, as she sits back and calls gently, "Sweetie, please, no thank you."
    Good grief, have I become THAT mother?
    Shiver me timbers.
  • They make time move more slowly.
    We were in the waiting room for nearly an hour and a half total.
    I swear it was more like three days.
  • They make bathroom trips a trek into a bio-hazard zone (you know, more than it already is)
    Of course, by the end of it all, my bladder is screaming, so I am forced to make a decision: take my fearless, investigative child with me to use the toilet OR hold it for approximately forty-five minutes as I drive home.
    Because I'd like to keep that organ from rupturing on the highway, I chose the former.
    They really should make like space shuttle-style chairs for toddlers accompanying their parents into the loo. Strap them in niiiiice and secure.  Otherwise, the kid is all, "WHAT IS THIS MAGICAL PLACE?!?!?! It smells like my diaper pail, and look! Paper! Glorious paper everywhere! And a magical pond that roars when you pull its shiny lever! Oh what delight! What fun!"
    And even non-germophobic parents are having a break down trying not to think of all the YUCK their kids have just rubbed their hands in then licked. Whhhhyyyyyyyyy?!?!
    Little dude was doing surprisingly well listening to me and not touching things.
    And then I went to pull my pants up.
    Sneaky, speedy bugger apparated right behind me and went to PUT HIS HANDS IN THE USED TOILET BOWL.
    Initiate maternal freak out. Heck, initiate any and every freak out.
    Oh, how we washed and washed our hands. So much soap. So much water. So much gross. So much toddler. oh, my gosh, SO MUCH TODDLER.
  • And, by the end of it all, they're so wound up that they refuse to nap. At all. AT. ALL.

That's why they schedule appointments so far apart: it's so you can almost forget how awful waiting with a toddler is.
The face I actually made at the end of that day.
The boob cat hair just makes the pic, right?