So, a couple of weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I started spotting. Naturally, this freaked me out, having miscarried in August after spotting. I called the doctor, she told me to come in immediately for an ultrasound. The only problem? I didn't have time to find anyone to watch my 17-month old son, or as I will refer to him in this post, The Pinball.
I knew disaster was coming. It was imminent. The Pinball can't sit still for longer than 4 or 5 seconds, tops. How was I going to keep him under control in a quiet, yet overpopulated, OBGYN waiting room?
I can do this, I thought. I will bring toys and snacks and sippy cups. I will be entertaining. I will be calm, collected, and confident. I will radiate these qualities. My peaceful energy will cause my son to sit quietly and look at a book. I can do this. We can do this.
Of course, I knew this was a lie, but it was a lie I had to tell myself in order to get us in the car and to the doctor's office.
Now, the OBGYN clinic I go to employs around eight or ten doctors, therefore, the waiting room is large and always packed. The minute The Pinball and I stepped off the elevator, he saw one, giant playroom with lots of strangers to touch and stare at and stand next to at uncomfortably close distances. He loves strangers...loves, loves, loves to get really close to them and touch their legs, or their hair and faces and stare at them until they don't know whether to smile and say hello or ask me to remove him.
After checking in, I sat down and started trying to entertain. I gave him a book. I gave him a toy. I tried snacks. But, nevertheless, within 30 seconds, he was off, pinballing from person to person. Thankfully, shortly after arriving, we went back for the ultrasound.
During the ultrasound, my son was unstoppable. He kept pushing buttons on the ultrasound machine, while the nurse continually asked him to stop because he might turn it off. I was lying on the table, helpless to do anything but plead with him. Then, he started crying because he couldn't get up on the table with me. Afterwards, the nurse sent us BACK out into the waiting room. Great.
Here again, my son pinballed around the room until he saw a little boy about his age. A little boy, I might add, who was standing quietly next to his mother, flipping through a board book. Now why can't my son stay still like that kid? The Pinball ran up to him and stood super close to the little boy, making the little boy unsure of what to do. I tried to make small talk with the boy's mother, all the while watching my son knock over a lamp, knock magazines off the tables, and cause general chaos. Finally, the nurse called me back again, this time to have my blood pressure taken.
While I was chained to the blood pressure chair, The Pinball ran off down the hallway. I had no idea where he went, until the nurse finished and let me go look for him. He had run down the hallway and turned a corner, almost running into one of the doctor's private offices. After finding him, the nurse sent us BACK OUT INTO THE WAITING ROOM. I thought, You've got to be kidding me. Again?
This time in the waiting room, The Pinball ran behind the receptionists' desk, screamed when I wouldn't let him go back there, and then tried several times to run back down the hallway from where we had just come. And again, there was that little boy, sitting quietly next to his mother while she read him a story. ARE YOU KIDDING? Did she drug that little boy or is my son just out of control?
After a torturous amount of time, I was finally called back for the third time, this time to see the doctor. While in the patient room, my son pooped his diaper. And naturally, in my haste to leave the house, I forgot to pack extras. The room smelled like a backed up sewer. Meanwhile, The Pinball ran around the room like a chicken with his feathers on fire, dumping out baskets of pads and tampons, pushing buttons on the patient table, opening and closing the cabinet doors, pulling tissues out of the box in the dressing area. It took so much of my energy and attention to control him and pick up after him that I had no idea what the doctor was telling me. By the time I left, I couldn't remember if she told me that she did see the baby's heartbeat, thought she saw the heartbeat, or if it was too early to tell. No clue what she had said.
I knew my son had more energy than most kids, but whew! I had no idea how much more until I tried to take him to a public place where he isn't confined to a stroller or a shopping cart. I learned my lesson. Never, ever, ever, take The Pinball to a doctor's appointment again. Never. Ever. Not even in an emergency. He's a maniac. We already don't take him to restaurants because his energy level is too extreme for high chair confinement. And the child hardly eats anything. Where is all this energy coming from?
For the longest time, I blamed his behavior on the fact that he is a boy. And while I know this has something to do with it, it isn't the whole reason. I've seen plenty of boys his age in public places who are still and relatively obedient. My son is just a maniac and if his energy could be bottled, it could be used to illuminate New York City, while simultaneously running the subway system.
The Pinball will turn two years old a couple of weeks before the new baby is born. And in my head, I can hear these words, repeated like a haunting refrain: Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.