Sitting on the exam table, playing with fun new gadgets, just moments before his meltdown.
Mason’s 15-month checkup was last night. I looked forward to it all day. I love seeing how much he weighs and how tall he is. I love chatting with his doc about milestones. And I was psyched that we had scored a 6:30 appointment — I could be home with Mason after his appointment and I wouldn’t have to miss any work. Since when do doctors’ appointments fit so well into real life? I imagined that our plum appointment time was foreshadowing to a wonderful checkup. Instead, it was a nightmare. Here’s how it all went down, from appointment to bedtime.
5:45 p.m.: Arrive at daycare. Learn Bug is happily playing with toys — but he refused to eat the dinner I sent.
5:47: Upon closer inspection, discover Bug’s nose is running, his eyelashes are crusted with goop, and his diaper is filled with poo. Change him, wipe his eyes, and wrestle him into his coat. Ignore sinking feeling in stomach.
5:55: Trudge to the subway in the rain, hauling Bug in the Ergo. Arrive at Grand Central, swipe Metro card. Insufficient fare. Stand in line for 5 minutes to add money to the card. Shush screaming baby.
6:07: Board train. Hand Mason his snack. Watch as he attempts to stuff a handful of puffs in his mouth but drops half of them on the ground instead. Accidentally crush fallen puffs with boot as we exit the train.
6:27: Arrive at doctor’s office, which resembles a zoo. Mothers take in Bug’s goopy eyes and conspicuously move away from us. Inform receptionist that although we’re scheduled for a well-visit I suspect we’re actually here for a sick visit.
6:37: Nurse calls us back. Weighs and measures suddenly charming, flirtatious baby. Chalk up the last 30 minutes to a typical 1-year-old mood swing and snap a photo of him playing with the gadgets around the exam table. So cute.
6:43: Doc enters the room and announces that Bug is very tall but “falling below the curve” in weight. Must coat his food in olive oil and bring him in for another weigh-in in six weeks. What if I just bathe him in olive oil every night instead?
6:47: Inform doc that Bug seems sick. His cold is better but now his eyes are goopy. Doc checks baby’s ears and reports he has a double ear infection. Hands me a prescription for Amoxicillin. Bug wails.
6:50: Pin Bug’s arms, legs, and head down so the doc can examine him. Attempt to quiet his screams for fear of traumatizing every child within earshot. Torture doc with my off-key rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider.
6:53: Doc reports that Bug isn’t walking because he doesn’t want to yet, not because he can’t. Sigh. Must return to office in 2 weeks, after baby is well, so he can get his vaccines. Weigh-in four weeks after that. Maybe he’ll walk by then?
6:56: Leave office, schlep to nearest pharmacy, in the rain. Stand in line. Stranger informs me that Bug looks like he’s been crying. Another remarks that Bug looks sick. Grit my teeth. Pharmacist offers a pitying look and announces she’ll have Bug’s antibiotic ready in 15 minutes (a miraculous feat for any NYC pharmacist).
7:11: Trudge back to subway. Still raining. Board train #1 and hand Bug his snack. He throws snack on floor, screeches when I try to take snack away from him. Board train #2 and try to block baby’s attempt to throw snack. Fail miserably.
7:50: Enter apartment building. Doorman announces that Mason looks unhappy. Would I like to carry my grocery delivery upstairs now, in addition to my 19-pound kid, laptop, and diaper bag?
8:15: Baby finishes strawberry yogurt and olive-oil-soaked cheese toast. Spits out half of the antibiotic I’ve just given him. Screams.
8:20: Haul Bug downstairs to retrieve groceries. Use free hand to maneuver cart loaded with groceries back into the elevator and up to our place. Unpack groceries. Baby hides toys in now-empty boxes and pushes them around the kitchen.
8:45: Confirm baby don’t have hives, nor has he vomited. (Did I mention I’m allergic to Amoxicillin?) Hand him a frozen pacifier, cover him with kisses, and tuck him into bed, 45 minutes past his bedtime.
8:46: Attack dirty dishes in the sink, crumbs on the floor, heap of toys in the kitchen. Laundry? Mopping? Dinner?