Monday, April 23, 2007

'Liv the Brave' and other tales from the pediatrician's office

We all survived. I had my doubts as our appointments (yes, that's plural) with the pediatrician approached. Alivia had her 18-month well-child check-up, and Trace and Alysse both needed to be seen for their two-month visit. I figured I'd save a trip and just schedule them all at once to take up a full hour of the doctor's day. As the day grew closer my nerves grew fewer.

I've learned in my limited experience that 18 months is a precarious age. Somedays everyone can be a friend, while on others a tiny toddler this age cries at the mere mention of a stranger, so Alivia's visit alone was going to be a crap shoot.

Forewarned the babies would get four shots each, the twins were a guarantee my eyes would tear up as the needles hit all four of their tiny little thighs. I long ago realized no matter how convinced you can be these vaccinations are necessary evils, your heart breaks each time your child cries at their delivery.

The unexpected came with Alena. Preparing her for the trip, I explained earlier in the week that SHE would not be approached by the dreaded doctor lady. "The doctor will look at the babies," I told her, "and Alivia will get a shot too, but the doctor is not going to bother you a bit." Hoping to allay her fears that she was going to get weighed, measured and poked, I grossly underestimated her response.

After being led to exam room five, I quickly realized Alena wasn't concerned about Alena, it was her babies she feared for. As I began to strip the twins of their clothes, she began to cry ... upset that her babies were going to be handled and/or harmed by the nurse. Laying them on the examination table brought tears, the trip to the scale brought even more. And so it went.

Liv the Brave on the other hand was a blessing. While not quite understanding the motions she was being put through, she willingly laid on the table, sat in the funny seat-like scale and quickly opened her mouth at the doctor's request. When shot time came I put my cheek against hers, bracing myself for her tears. Much to my elation, she didn't even realize she had been given a shot. While there was a quick tensing of her diaper donning body, the only eyes that filled with tears were mine.

By the time our hour was coming to a close, Alena agreed to "go potty" with Dr. Thind as her escort, Alivia had a circus-themed bandaid "boo-boo" to show dad and the twins were vaccinated against a myriad of unthinkable diseases. Leaving the office nine shots, a few growth charts and numerous tears later, we all managed to survive and even made appointments for another visit.

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