Friday, October 16, 2020

Well-child checks

I took three of the kids in for their doctor appointments today. Our doctor's office typically only allows two children at a time but I asked for an exception to the rule because—and my doctor agrees and was the first to suggest it—it makes no sense for me to come in three times for five kids when I could just come in twice. Right? Sure. 

Added to that policy (that I'm skirting around) are some new COVID rules, including the fact that only one caregiver is allowed to accompany children at their appointments. So I chose to take Rachel, Zoë, and Alexander, thinking that if either one of them got too scared and out of hand there would still be a grown-up type person to help with the not-so-scared one? 

It didn't work out that way because they wanted Rachel in her own private room and had me going back and forth between the rooms and it ended up being rather awkward. At one point I was with Rachel and the doctor said something like, "You'd better get back to your other two because our nurses have better things to do than babysit all day," and I was like, "Ummm...okay?" because the little plan of me ping-ponging between the rooms was her idea, not mine. And the nurse, who was doing vision and hearing screenings on the kids and wasn't even finished when I got back. So it was a little awkward, but I'm sure it was fine...

One day I'll figure out the right combination of children to take to the doctor. Today was not that day.

 Anyway, the kids are growing well. Each of them grew between 3 and 3.5 inches this past year. 

Rachel grew the least—about three inches—and is now 5 feet 5.25 inches (90th percentile)! She'll be caught right up to me in no time, I'm sure! She weighs about what I weighed through high school. 

Zoë grew about 3.5 inches or so (I can't remember what the doctor said). She is now 3 feet 8.25 inches (65th percentile) and weighs 37 lbs. 6.5 oz (25th percentile).

Alexander grew the same amount as Zoë ("Although we still aren't the same size," Zoë verified with the doctor. "Like, we both grew the same amount but we're still not the same size."). He is 3 feet 5 inches (30th percentile) and weighed in at 28 pounds, even (15th percentile). 

Rather boring appointments overall, but boring is nice sometimes. 

The kids were a little nervous about their shots, but we'd read the Daniel Tiger story about going to the doctor before bed last night so they were very prepared for everything. When the nurse asked who wanted to go first Zoë bravely volunteered. She had to get three shots and was so brave about it. 

Alexander went next and he let out a little offended gasp when the nurse stabbed him with the needle, but he didn't cry and later said that getting his shot was his favourite part of the day because "it was just so fabulah and amazing!"

Rachel went last, after we'd shlepped ourselves over to her room. She's big enough now that she gets her shots in her arm and she was rather surprised by how quick it all went down. 

"That's it?!" she asked. 

"That's it," the nurse said. 

"Okay, that was like three seconds!" Rachel said. "Has it always been that quick? Because in my memory it's a very long, drawn out, and painful process."

Well, I mean, when they have to call extra nurses in to hold you down, yes, it's a bit of a process. Rachel's really come a long way in overcoming her fear of shots. 

"You were so brave!" Zoë told her. "And you were so brave, Alex!" Then she dropped her head in shame. "I wasn't very brave. I had tears come into my eyes."

"That doesn't mean you weren't brave," I told her. 

"It does. I came very close to crying."

We talked a lot about bravery at the dinner table—about how you can be brave and cry, about how you can be brave and afraid, about how you can be happy and sad. Emotions are big and scary and confusing and it's just okay to feel and work through whatever feelings you're feeling. There's no shame in a few tears every now and again. 

Now, yesterday when she and Benjamin got into a big howling fight over a feather (and who had seen it first) and both of them had tears and snot streaming down their faces and I snapped at them to knock it off because they were being ridiculous. Well, that's because screaming and crying in Mother's face to see who can be the one to get her to take their side is just plain obnoxious. You might be feeling anger or jealousy or injustice or whatever, but get your emotions in check and make your case without screaming at me and/or each other. Ya bunch of babies! Sheesh! Hunt around for another feather. Take turns holding it. Let it blow away on the wind so no one can hold it. I don't care, just stop screaming!

The moral of this story is that sometimes I think I do alright at fostering emotional intelligence and sometimes...I don't. There are definitely limits to my sympathy.

Benjamin and Miriam, or BM, as we like to refer to them together, have their doctor appointments in a couple of weeks (after Miriam turns 11 (eleven?!) so she can qualify for the next round of vaccinations that she needs).

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