Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is This Part of My Job Description?

My kids are good. Taking them out in public is not an issue. However, my endocrinologist's office loves to schedule my appointments during naptime and then have us wait what seems like an unreasonable amount of time to a child. Today, this resulted in a not so great visit.

Let me give you the quick and dirty: we survived the appointment fairly well in my opinion (maybe not the staff’s) until right there at the end. That’s when Sammy started claiming he needed to pee. My endocrinologist was impressed he was already potty-trained, and I told Sammy since we were almost finished with the appointment to give it just a second. Then he started threatening to poop. That appointment ended fast. Turns out doctors don’t need to check half the things they act like they do when a toddler is making threats like that.

When we went into the bathroom at a doctor’s office during flu season that had been used by almost every person before us, I told the kids not to touch anything. I sat Sammy on the potty and after telling him to wait until his pee pee was pointed down to let loose, I gave him the go ahead. That’s when he informed me he was peeing on the back of his pants and was none to happy about it since that was my fault. He finished the rest in the potty, gave me the evil eye, and agreed to let me pull up his wet pants if he could ride home naked from the waist down. Problem solved!

That’s when I turned around and realized the problems were just beginning. The fault I carry in this should be put out there right up front. I made the rookie parenting move of not being specific. Telling kids to “not touch anything” is akin to telling them to touch everything. They are not going to stand in one place with their hands by their sides and not let their fingers crawl over something. What I should have done was found the item I wanted them to not touch the most and specifically pointed out that item so they would know. For instance, in this case I would have pointed out the specimen cup full of a stranger’s urine sitting eye level with both of my children and said, “don’t touch this. Trouble will come to you if you touch this.” But I didn’t. So I guess it can be considered a little my fault that I turned around to find Wren shaking the specimen cup like she was mixing a drink and getting ready to pour shots.

It was a moment, one of those moments you add to the Being a Parent Means List:

Being a parent means loving more than you thought possible;

Being a parent means being okay with never sleeping like a normal person again;

Being a parent means having to explain to your four-year-old why shaking a stranger’s pee in a doctor’s office bathroom is not okay on a different level than just about anything she has so far ever done.

I had been a patient parent pretty much all day, but I know everyone in that office heard when I said, “Wren, seriously? Don’t touch anything. That’s what I said. Why are you touching that? That’s someone’s pee!”

I hustled her to the sink and proceeded to wash her, thoroughly.

Wren: Mom, you are getting water all over my dress.

Me: Wren, you just played with stranger pee. I don’t care if you leave here looking like you have been hosed down in the back yard, do not try to come at me with an argument because YOU GOT NOTHING! Stranger pee, child!

Wren: Okay then.

I want to say this was a result of missed naps, too long in the waiting room, lazy parenting on my part. I really don’t know. It was one of those world-stands-still moments I will probably try to figure out for the rest of my life. I guess at the very least it’s something to add to the list.

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