Our Mardi Gras started about 10:30 Monday night when a normally steady sleeper Vera woke up screaming. After my wife took several trips upstairs to calm her we ended up letting her sleep with us. We don’t normally allow the kids to sleep in our bed, but she was clearly out of sorts and at nearly 16 months we don’t have the same safety concerns we would if she was still an infant.
After thoroughly getting no sleep we stumbled about the morning and got everyone out and safely deposited at their respective schools. About 8:45 Vera’s school called and said she had a fever. After last night I was worried it was yet another ear infection and we began the scheduling shifts and negotiations required when two working parents need to cobble themselves into one stay at home parent.
To make thing more complicated, my wife started a new job 3 days ago. She did the pick up and I took care of a morning meeting then we swapped at lunch.
Vera’s ears have been an issue since she was born and the slightest bit of runny nose seems to lead to an ear infection. After having tubes at nine months that had fallen out by fifteen months we knew we were likely back on the ear infection circuit.
Fortunately given her history we have both an ENT that was able to get her in today and a pediatrician that is understanding when we just go straight back to the ENT. Given our schedules, the ENT visit fell on my shift.
My wife and I are an odd mix in many ways, it’s largely what makes us so awesome. It also means that we both try to be at doctor’s appointments because neither of us will think of the other’s questions. Today was my first solo doctor visit.
There is nothing quite as egalitarian as a doctor’s waiting room. Our ENT handles what I suppose is the normal gambit of things in your head that can get sick, and also has a thriving practice in allergy treatments and a balance therapy group which I assume is largely geared toward older people.
I arrived at 1:35 and was the only person in the waiting room with a toddler. A toddler who even when sick has a big personality. Vera certainly knows how to work a room, especially a room of seniors. It was a surreal experience that I am sure I’ll be unable to do justice.
The waiting room is large and bright, it has a tile floor meant to resemble hardwood. It is otherwise arranged how you’d expect a doctor’s office waiting room to be arranged. In the room when we arrive are a handful of folks ranging in age from 55-75, save a few, and largely made up of women.
There was a middle-aged mom with a teenage daughter sitting with a trashcan on her lap who I assume was suffering from some sort of extreme vertigo. There were a few older women with various walkers and wheelchairs, and a gentlemen, a big fan of Vera’s, who was in a wheel chair and only had one leg.
She ran across the room smiling at and getting closer to her audience then running back to me. Slowly getting g bolder and going farther, eager to explore the wide range of metallic mobility devices. The one legged man seemed especially pleased with her, and she paid him plenty of attention. She got plenty of laughs, coos, and awes with her ear-infection induced drunken sailor stumbles.
While we were waiting, and after Vera has tired out enough for me to hold her Darrall came in. I know it was Darrall because he spelled it loudly for the woman who brought him and was helping him fill out his intake forms. A woman who, to me, appeared to be a significant other or close relative. This is why it stuck me as odd when she said, ”you spell your name, D-a-r-y-l-l, right?” and he corrected her. D-A-R-R-A-L-L. I’ve never seen it spelled like that, but he spelled it three times, so I assume he’s sure of it.
I really shouldn’t have been privy to this conversation, but for some reason, Darrall and his lady friend decided to sit across the waiting room from each other.
”You drink 1-2 sodas a day?” She asked.
”No, more like 0-1.” he responded.
”Well, it’s 0 or 1-2.” She clarified.
”I guess 1-2, but I’ve been trying not to drink so many.”
”You on blood thinners?”
”Your mom have high blood pressure?”
”No, that was my grandmother.”
”Well they’re asking about your family history.”
”She’s in my family.”
”What about your eyes?”
”Put completely blind.”
”Yup, totally, legally blind.”
This is just a small sample of what seemed like a improv group doing a bit in a doctor’s waiting room. I still can’t figure out the seeming familiarity between Darrall and this woman coupled with the complete lack of familiarity.
We were able to leave the zoo quickly and the doctor verified Vera’s ear infection with a dose of upper respiratory infection for good measure. I finished at the Doctor right in time to pick Franklin up from school.
Today was one of those occasional glimpses I get into being a stay at home parent, or frankly even being the ”primary” parent. I got Vera to take a nap, got Franklin a snack and started on his homework(I had to look up a couple things because I’m not smart enough to be a first grader), and started cutting peppers, celery, and onions to get dinner going.
Of course Vera woke up crabby before I could get my mise en place complete and our kitchen will forever smell like raw onions.
I repeatedly checked my phone wondering why I hadn’t heard from my wife about leaving work yet at 5:05, trying to avoid being a bother and calling her. Hoping Vera would wait to poop until she got home.
Ultimately, I survived. I was able to finish making some red beans and rice for Mardi Gras, and we taught Franklin what “number 1” and “number 2” were because apparently that’s the only thing you don’t learn in 1st grade now. I even walked into the living room to
find Franklin and my wife playing a newly made up game of hockey using a Tagu wheel and wooden spoons.
I’m pretty certain I have the best wife ever, but days like these I certainly appreciate all she does as the “primary” parent and will never cease to be amazed at the moms and dads who are lucky enough, brave enough, crazy enough, to be full time stay home parents.
Tonight I think I’ll pour myself a Woodford Double Oaked and, laissez les bon temps rouler!