just a normal jaunt to the doctor's office.

a while ago, i mentioned in a group setting how difficult it is to take the kids in public without wanting to die.  (like literally.  there was one time in target that i prayed fervently for an immediate rapture.)  anyway, this newly married guy with no kids was all, 'i have heard people say stuff like that, but i don't really get why it's so hard.'  awww, sweet and innocent and untainted visions of parenting must dance in his uninterrupted dreams at night.

so to give a little glimpse of a public outing to anyone out there wondering, i'll run down tuesday's trip to the eye doctor.  with all the kids.  by myself.

i get up an hour and a half before we have to leave, and run my hair under running water in the tub.  shower accomplished-ish.  i get the big kids up.  i make pb&j sandwiches for breakfast, tell the kids from the get-go that we don't have time for seconds this morning, and run upstairs to get finneas up.  while getting him dressed, laurelai starts screaming, so i run finn downstairs and set him at the table for breakfast.  i feed laurelai, get myself dressed, get everyone cleaned up and in their hats and coats, and proactively smell finn's butt just to make sure we're good to walk out the door.  miraculously, he is still clean-diped, so we bolt.  how did that take an hour and a half?!

oh right.  it turns out the van is covered in ice and snow and i haven't replaced our piece-of-crap scraper.  so i have the big kids get in the van, i buckle finn, then i climb into the back of the van myself to load laurelai and buckle penelope's seat belt.  then i get out and do my best to scrape the windshield with my old library card.

then we get to the doctor's office and the receptionist passes a clipboard across the desk, but i'm all, "hands full of toddler and baby seat and purse and prematurely-removed hats. hang on." so i set laurelai down, try to concentrate on what the girl is asking me to sign, while constantly turning around to make sure no one has wandered away.

we get to our seats, laurelai starts to cry, finn is rummaging through my purse, and atticus is wanting to look at a national geographic.  i browse the magazine quickly, to make sure that he's not going to stumble upon any aborigini breasts or something, hand it back to him, and rock laurelai while i try to remove finn's coat with my one free hand.  i carry laurelai over to the coat rack with me, and when i return to our seats, finneas is molesting some stranger.

then this friendly old lady starts chatting me up about raising kids and her two dogs and how she hails from tennessee, but i have to keep one eye on finn the whole time to make sure that, as he's rummaging through my purse, he doesn't end up emptying out my wallet. also, i'm trying to one-handedly fill out those forms i was given.  i think they call our names, but i'm not sure, so i keep looking back and forth between the front desk and the old lady.

they do finally call us back to the exam place, but we're supposed to stop at some crazy eye-measuring contraption and i'm supposed to seat the kids on my lap, but then how do i hold laurelai? and where did finn go?  oh, there he is: messing with the display of glasses.  excellent.

we all make it back to the exam room, where finneas insists on touching every. single. thing. in the room.  he makes the chair go up and down.  he pulls those fancy 'look at the light' sticks from their spots.  he opens every drawer. he rips up a few magazines.  all the while the assistant is asking questions about family cataract history and other stuff that i don't know, can't remember, or can't focus on.  i'm trying to tell finneas to knock it off, but i can't go get him because i'm rocking laurelai and trying to talk to the assistant.  then i make some comment to laurelai about how i caught a whiff of her poop-pants, but then the assistant turns all red and i realize that it wasn't laurelai's poop, but rather the assistant's fart, that i smelled and commented on.  okay.  sorry lady.

the doctor comes in and finneas immediately wants to climb in his lap, so he starts groping his leg and...elsewhere.  atticus gets in the chair first, but is feeling shy, so he tells the doctor that every single thing is fuzzy.  penelope refuses to say anything at all during her turn.  i have to pull her aside to speak sternly to her, but the room is so small and cramped that the doctor just watches as i do it, and it's super conspicuous and uncomfortable.

the doctor dilates their eyes and they cry.  finneas is starting to scream because i won't let him have my debit card.  laurelai is getting hungry because we've now been in that tiny room for an hour and a half.  so she's fussing and rooting around.  i'm starting to envy those national geographic aborigini ladies who can just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.  plus all their earrings are pretty rockin'.

the doctor starts talking to me about purchasing glasses, but i tell him our insurance covers more at retail places like walmart.  he starts trying to tell me that it's really all the same, and i should buy them from him and blahblahblah and wholesale and retail prices and apple-to-apple comparisons and titanium and aluminum frames and warranties.  i have to get up to smack finneas' hand away from all the expensive tools and machines and the doctor gives up and tells me that he'll print me out a prescription form to take to walmart... once he measures the kids' eyes again.

somewhere around this time, i realize i have not eaten breakfast and i start getting all shaky and weak-kneed.

we go back out to the machine, and at this point i have to have one assistant hold finneas, one hold laurelai, and one work the actual machine while i hold the big kids on my lap.  once they measure the kids' eyes, we have to go back to the exam room so the doctor can double-check their prescriptions and print out the sheets.  then we have to go have their current frames adjusted because kids are HARD on glasses and their frames are all wonkadonk and crooked on their faces.

then we check out, find our coats, put our ripped-to-shreds magazines back on the tables, and start to leave.  but then the assistant comes running from the back to fit the kids with those stupid disposable sunglasses since their eyes were dilated.  then we traipse across the parking lot in a red rover-style line, get loaded in the van, and i breastfeed laurelai in our idling van in the parking lot.  everyone in the back is screaming about how they can't buckle their seatbelt and how they dropped their sunglasses and turn-the-music-up and turn-the-music-down.  i finish feeding laurelai (but not before accidentally flashing my boob at a woman pulling into the space in front of us), load her into her seat and we head out.

and although it is over, and it is 12:00 (our appointment was at 9:30!), i'm not all that relieved yet, since i still have to go home and make lunch and lay the kids down for nap.

and also, oh yeah, we get to come back on friday and do it all over again since they'll only do two members of the same family on the same day, so finneas has to have his own appointment later.  meaning tomorrow.  so that's awesome.

and though the details might vary, the same sense of panic and confusion and chaos is pretty typical of any public outing.  and that, friends, is why i frequently find myself wishing fervently for the apocalypse.


todd said...

That was like watching “The Pursuit of Happyness” or reading the book of Job.

YAYA said...

I need to win the lottery, quit my job and either go with you to run interference, or hangout at home with any children not essential to the event.

Yes, that is what I need to do.

whenjeskasparks said...

@todd. that definitely sounded like the book of Job.
good night! that's ... well, admittedly, it sounds like a nightmare. i wish i could have been there to help!

Our life in pictures said...

I feel horrible that I'm laughing at times through your narrative! If I were the stranger i'd have so taken one of your precious kiddos to get my fill of loving kiddos without having to have more of my own :)

lauren said...

you amaze me. and I'm pretty sure you should write a book of anecdotes.

Gayle Olson said...

Paige, I love you!