Random Thoughts on Our Rainy Day Trip to the Doctor

Random Thoughts on Our Rainy Day Trip to the Doctor

More April showers today. Just as well we spent the morning on an odyssey to my OB’s office. I had to get blood drawn for the glucose screening and get a rhogam injection. Not an appointment, just a drop byand we’ll get it done sort of thing. While it didn’t have to happen today necessarily, I had to do it some day this week. Tomorrow the guy is coming to service the AC and I didn’t want to put off till later in the week.

When I hemmed and hawed a bit about finding a time because I didn’t know what Theresa’s schedule was like this week, when she could babysit the nurse encouraged me to just bring the girls with me. So I decided to do just that. As I suspected, the nurses and receptionists were all very thrilled to see them.

I drank the orange syrup—a bit like flat soda not really good but not terrible either—right before we left the house and got to the lab just in time, 45 minutes after I drank it. Isabella and Sophie were very good sitting in the waiting room while I had my blood drawn. The phlebotomist entertained me by telling me about a mother who insisted her two year old sit on her lap while she drew her blood. I couldn’t imagine. She said she was so nervous the boy would grab for the needle and poke himself, his mother or her.

Then we went next door to my OB’s office to get my injection. There was a bit of a backup and we had to wait more than half an hour for a nurse to be free. I read Bella some books and Sophie jumped down and toddled around me within a two foot radius. Then when the nurse did finally come I noticed Isabella walking funny. I had to apologize and ask if we could use the bathroom. Then I had to do the two kid juggling act, trying to keep Sophie off the germy floor while helping Isabella up and down off the toilet and washing her hands.

The girls were both very good while I got the injection. The nurse was impressed. The only fussing of the whole visit was when we were back in the waiting room when I sat down to put on Sophie’s jacket and she protested because she wanted to GO. It was lunch time by then and both girls attacked the cheese when we got to the car and then Sophie fell asleep as soon as we started driving.

During our long wait there was an older lady who was obviously very lonely. Every time anyone in the waiting room said something or did something she had a comment. There were two other mothers there with young children and they were very much engaged in entertaining them. One of them had her father with them too and she was conversing with him in between paying attention to her son. But this old lady kept trying to join in their conversations and to tell anecdotes. It’s the kind of thing which I find especially painful because she just didn’t notice or care that her comments were only being tolerated but not welcome. I didn’t really want to engage her either; but I did my best to smile and reply politely to all her forays. She was the kind of person who doesn’t really want to listen to you but just uses questions as openings for her own stories.

Telling Dom about her and reflecting on the experience I realized that while I’d not been mean neither had I been generous. I was merely tolerant. While I understood that she was probably lonely, I still saw her as a nuisance that I wished would go away. And yet the last time I saw her as she was going into the exam room and we were leaving, she stopped and gave the girls one last smile and remarked to the nurse how beautiful they were, how well behaved. And then she floored me, though it really didn’t sink in until I was recounting it, she said: “They are so well behaved, you can tell they are well loved.” She paid me such a profound compliment and all I could do was wish she’d stop interrupting me and demanding attention and kindness from me. I’m glad I was never abrupt with her or rude but now I wish I’d stepped out of myself a little bit and been as warm to her as she was to me.

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  • Hallie,

    I’ll look into it. I remember Melissa Wiley told me some time ago that she was unable to subscribe but I don’t recall if it was google reader or another one.


    Oh yes. I know what you mean. I got several recommends for big sister books but was reluctant to get any for fear of those negative messages. In the end the only book we got about babies was Angel in the Waters which doesn’t address siblings at all.

    I did really like the one board book I found recently that is wordless (I wrote about it a bit here). All the pictures are positive. They show the brother playing with the baby, watching dad change a diaper, watching mom nurse, going for walks, helping bathe the baby, being present at a party where everyone is giving presents for the baby etc. All very positive and happy pictures and yet they could present opportunities for parents to address those issues if they were a concern for the child who was having problems with sharing or with the baby getting attention.

  • Melanie – I think this is a fantastic point. I actually experienced the “getting ideas from books” think when i was a child. I was pretty timid at the time so i didn’t act on ideas, but i remember reading those didactic books in the library about ways to misbehave i had never thought of. I didn’t realize that so many of my peers were so violent about not sharing, prone to steal cookies, and overtly disobedient to their parents. When i was a bit older, I was shocked to see that i was somehow supposed to know how to find drugs and know a bunch of people who did them. How many children learned to sniff glue and inhalants from those horrid movies we had to watch.

    It’s a little like positive vs negative reinforcement. I find that my daughter won’t be as mischievous if she is getting positive reinforcement for the good things she does rather than negative. the most sneaky things she does are because she learned from us that they are bad things so she knows she can get attention. How much more tempting must things be that your peers do too, that maybe didn’t even occur to you before. Children are absolutely influenced by what others around them are doing, even if those others are just in books.

    To take this a little further, the argument for access to unsavory things for children and young adults (books, discussions, knowledge of things a bit early), is that they should be ready to face things in the world and should not be sheltered. But children are ready for things at different times. Not every child is able to take the lesson intended at the same age.

    Right now, Claire understand that she should not mess with the electrical plugs. I’m certainly not going to show her as an 18-month old that she shouldn’t put a fork in a plug, because that would give her the idea to try and she is not able to understand the why. She knows not to touch and tests us at times, hoping for a reaction. Instead, I have covers over them, if she touches them I ignore her, when she walks away i praise her and reinforce the no touching rule.

    I could go on about this at much more length but I’m babbling so I’ll cut it short. Great post Mel!

  • Hey Melanie,

    This is off-topic but I can’t subscribe to your blog on Google Reader. I never had a problem on Bloglines but GR can’t find a feed. Do you know if anyone else is having this problem? Bummer.

    Take care!

  • One of the things that most amazes me since I’ve become a mother is how difficult it is to find good books for very young children. I’ve encountered many of the kind of books you’re talking about, Melanie, and I, too, am determined to keep them out of our house! When I observe my children (who are 3.5 and 2.5) I see very clearly what they want from books: adventures (a term I’m using loosely – for a toddler everything is a big adventure, whether in the jungle or at a quiet tea for dolls) they can imitate. I suppose my children are perfectly normal, and so this is what other kids would like to get from books, too. It’s just beyond me then how many of so-called children’s books are about feelings or about discussing behaviors.

    In the first category, I definitely find it puzzling how many books there are whose only purpose it to reassure children that they are loved – since when does a kid need a book to know he is loved by his parents? I take it as a sign we live in the age of divorce and the age of we-don’t-really-need-a-family-to-raise-children-so-any-“lifestyle”-will-do. In the second category, there are the didactic books that you are talking about – books that I have to think parents buy to feel good about themselves, thinking they are buying “good books” that will teach their children the lessons they, for whatever reason, are not willing to teach them in person, through example and time spent observing their children.

    I don’t believe for a second that real, healthy, normal children enjoy any of these books – what is there to imitate in a book like “Heather has two mommies”? (Although of course the supporters of such an agenda do hope children will internalize the lesson well… That’s another awful category of books for kids – the ones with the hidden political agenda!) What is a child who learns through imitation supposed to do about a book that is ALL about forbidden behaviors? I just hope he will wonder why his parents are wasting time over that kind of stuff…

    Give me action, good, wholesome adventures and beautiful illustrations (another pet peeve of mine – why are so many childnren’s book simply UGLY?). After all, we adults would never read a book whose sole purpose is to teach a lesson – all writers agree it’s the perfect recipe for an awful book -so why should it make good children’s literature? 

    Sorry for the rant, but I have such a hard time finding books for my kids! Especially my little girl… She always ends up sharing her brother’s books –  It’s not such a bad thing, since they are good books, but I’d like to expose her to all things girly too!

  • It’s not just toddler books either. Think of all the teen angst books that talk about suicide and divorce and rebellion and other self-destructive behavior. Is it any wonder I preferred “Lord of the Rings” over “Lord of the Flies” when I was in high school?

    Part of it comes from an emotionalized culture that believes emoting is the highest expression. Another part is that many teachers and writers were themselves angst-ridden and think their own experiences are universal.

  • Domenico – you mention teachers… It’s somewhat off topic, but I remember reading in a Th. Sowell book written in the ‘90s about what is behind so much of the “talking about feelings” fashion in school: the idea of weakening the influence on a child of his parents’ teachings and belief , the resulting sense of uncertainty that makes the child ready to absorb the politically correct agenda the teachers (or at least the “education specialists” who prepare materials for teachers) have in mind, agenda that is often pushed through peer pressure.
    I agree, as you say, that today there is a widespread belief that expressing one’s emotions is the most important thing. But when we talk about children and teens, I think there is more to that: the emotions need to be expressed so they can be distorted and manipulated, in order to produce the result the adults have in mind (think of some of the cliches about youth culture: sex is unavoidable, so responsible adults will provide condoms in schools; respect for and friendship with your parents are impossible, better rely on your peers, etc.)
    Ok, today I sound like a real crank wink

  • I have to confess, now that we’re discussing books of the didactic variety, that I was surprised to find Curious George actually kind of fits into that category. The more I read it the more it annoys me that the man with the yellow hat just tells George to not get into any trouble without actually specifying what is allowed and what is not. the book tells us that George tries to be good but it is easy to forget. however, I don’t see that he ever is bad or disobedient. George is not specifically told not to climb on railings or jump into the water. He’s never actually told not to pick up the phone to make phone calls, etc. I picked it up because it’s a classic, but I think Curious George may not make the cut at the next picture book purge.

  • Melanie,
    I had a similar problem finding new baby books—I mean books intended for older siblings. Ds was only 3 when dd arrived. While I’d been pregnant I was looking for “big brother” books. But so many of them are based on the “the baby will make lots of noise, and have smelly diapers, and take up all of Mom and Dad’s time, and no one will pay attention to me anymore” theme. Of course in the end, it’s a happy thing and they love being a big brother/sister. But I did not want to introduce those negative thoughts to a child who didn’t have them!

  • hi Carol,

    I do try to post reviews of good picture books when I find them. But I agree they can seem few and far between.

    It’s funny how your perspective on certain books can change over time. there’s one book I love that I bought before Bella was born, Llama, Llama Red Pajama. It’s a cute bedtime story about a baby llama going to bed. I love the beautiful illustrations and the simple rhymes. And yet the story centers around the llama throwing a fit when his mother doesn’t come right away when he calls down for a glass of water. When Bella was quite young I didn’t really notice. We started reading the book to her before she really understood anything we read. She just liked the act of listening to us read. But now that she’s got to the stage where she’s trying to understand the stories it’s starting to seem a bit more problematic.

    Even more troublesome is the sequel by the same author, Llama, Llama, Mad at Mama in which the toddler llama throws a fit at the mega mart. Another of these books that shows the mother helping the child find a better way to process his feelings. But the fact is we’ve avoided that kind of behavior at the store by implementing her strategy preventatively. I already involve Bella in helping me shop. Have done so since she was a newborn, talking to her about what I’m buying and naming things for her and having her help more and more as she’s gotten able to. So we don’t have the problem depicted in the story of misbehavior of a frustrated and neglected child. who just wants to skip shopping and get to the promised treat. Not that my kids never get fussy or tired, but they don’t throw things and rage at me and I do try to arrange our trips so as to anticipate and minimize those problems, bringing snacks and choosing the times we go out carefully.

    it seems to me often these books are really aimed at struggling parents, giving them coping techniques than children.

  • Melanie,

    We had a whole set of those books (teaching kids about disobedience, lying, etc) and recently tossed them. I also tossed the “Little Miss” books which are big here in the UK. We had the same problem you did with them. And now I am beginning to look even more critically at all my kid’s books.  I too, have struggled with curious george. My 7yo is into Princess Poppy books right now, but they have some of those same problems, and I am thinking of pulling them from the shelves as well. It would be nice to share recommendations (especially for picture books) from other moms who have found books that don’t have the negative influence you mentioned.