I took Toby to his 18 month check-up today. It felt a bit more like a family reunion than a doctor's visit. We've gone at least two months now without visiting the pediatrician's office, which seems like an eternity compared to our previous weekly (or bi-weekly) schedule. When I walked in the door I didn't need to stand in line to tell the receptionist my son's name or date of birth. No, she smiled at me from behind the line of other parents and said, "Go ahead and have a seat, I'll tell them you're here." While we waited Toby ran up and down the slide in the corner to the horror of every good mother in the room. The nurse came to the door periodically and called a child's name, but when it was Toby's turn she just came on over to us and smiled, "We're ready for you guys. Oh my, look how they're growing! It's been awhile since we've seen you." It sounded like something a great-aunt should say while pinching their cheeks after ten years of separation--I guess we've bonded.
At least my kids aren't afraid of the doctor's office. We go there so often that when I announce an upcoming visit they usually cheer for excitement. Toby wasn't too keen about laying down naked on a measuring board, but there were so many neat things to get into he quickly forgot that trauma. Dr. A also marveled at how big the kids had grown since our last visit sometime in ancient history. Then we shouted at each other over the noise of Toby banging the cupboards open and closed, pulling the exam table stirrups in and out, crying after hitting his head on the exam table step, squealing as he watched the lawn-mower out the window, and screaming as he fought to take Emma's snack away from her. We ran through the usual list of questions about Toby's eating, pooping, and talking, but I noticed she didn't ask about Toby's motor skills--they must have been self-evident.
We did discover that one ear tube had already fallen out a measly four months after being placed--just in time for ear-infection season to hit. Lovely. And to Toby's delight the office was fresh out of the one vaccine he was due to get today so we will return again shortly--maybe next week? That would be fun.
After trooping back outside we lined ourselves up on the sidewalk and waved like fans in a grandstand as the man on the big-red tractor with an enormous lawn-mower attachment went by...again...and again...and again. Then I finally peeled Toby's eyes off the tractor and herded the kids into the van. "Climb in, sit down, and buckle up," I said as I always do. Toby climbed in, sat down in the driver's seat, grinned, and began to press as many buttons as he could before I could remove him. It was humiliating to be buckled into the toddler seat in back, but don't worry, Toby, you'll have another shot at it next week.