It was almost 2 months late, but Elias had his three-year checkup today. We don't see doctors very much around here, so the time kind of got away from me. There was also the factor of the shots and (unwisely, I know) wanting to put them off for as long as possible. Vaccines were easier when they were babies because even though it still hurt them, it was not required that we explain it to them. We'd just scoop them up and cover them in kisses, and a few minutes later all would be well.
Now that they are old enough, explanations not only become necessary, but in the absence of them there is the potential for the kid to look at you with a mixture of agony and betrayal once the screams start echoing off the walls and the tears begin flowing when the dreaded needles come out.
So back to Elias- the child who I have described before as being like an unpredictable bolt of lightning. The child who seems to have this penchant for being angelic one moment and inspiring me to rename him Damien the next. This morning, before the appointment, he was in full-on Damien mode. He threw his breakfast cookie (yeah, that's right- cookies for breakfast- I run a tight ship) at Natalie, threw a massive tantrum when he was informed that he could not finish watching Lazytown because we had to leave, kept trying to exit his seatbelt in the car because he wanted to reach the throwable toys on the floorboard, and told me very calmly: "No mom, I CAN throw my toys. You don't take them from me." when I removed said toys from his possession. Suffice to say that by the time we trudged through the doors at Olympia Pediatrics, I was ready to hang a sign on him and pawn him off to the first bidder.
Little did I know that the good people at Olympia Pediatrics have recently installed Joyfully Obedient Child Wave Emitters (patent-pending) throughout the office, because at the threshold of the waiting room, Damien the Pernicious Tormentor became Niceekins the Cooperative Choir Boy. He sat patiently in the comfy chairs waiting for his name to be called by the nurse. He stood still on the scale as he was weighed. He stood up straight, his back against the wall when he was measured. He covered each eye and read off the shapes perfectly on the eye chart. He said "yes, sir" when the doctor asked him if he eats his fruits and vegetables, and when he was asked who his friends were, Elias pointed to his sister and said "Natawee is my friend."
Then came time for the shots. The deal-breaker, I thought. This is when Damien is going to come back and wreak havoc throughout the office, causing the pictures to fly from the walls and a whirling tornado of medical charts and paper clips to weave a deadly path through the hallway. Dr. Petersen explained to Elias why shots are important, to which the boy nodded saying: "I need shots to keep me healthy." My eyes looked like dinnerplates at this point. Whose child WAS this? And WHERE can I find one of these Joyfully Obedient Child Wave Emitters??
So I gathered my son closely on my lap in a manner of trying to contain Damien as the nurse walked in the room with her little tray and clipboard. We pulled up the leg on his khaki cargo shorts, exposing a smooth, plump thigh just ripe for the poking. The nurse told Elias that he should close his eyes. Meanwhile, Natalie is hovering about with this gleaming twinkle in her own eyes. She appeared to be enjoying her brother's impending wailing agony a bit too much. Joyfully Obedient Child Wave Emitter doing its work, Elias closed his eyes and the shots began. I could hear the screams issuing forth, and it was awful. Then I realized something:
They were coming from inside my own head.
Instead, the boy gave a perfunctory "Ow!" and the deed was done. After the band-aid was applied ("Look mom, it's a Madagascar band-aid!") the room was otherwise silent, but for the laughing relief coming from the nurse who had likely made several dozen pint-sized enemies in her tenure as Giver of Pain.
Dr. Petersen came back into the room exclaiming: "Everyone out there is just marvelling at what a wonderful and cooperative child you have!"
Elias piped up: "Can I have a sticker, please?"
Oh. My. God. The continuous, unprompted proper use of MANNERS?? There was a chorus of angels singing in my head.
Upon exiting the building, my mind still agog with pride and shock at the sudden change over my son, he said:
"I think we should get some ice cream because I was really good!"
It was 9:45 in the morning. Oh what the hell, I thought. The kid freakin deserved it. Off to McDonald's!
It's now after 11. Penumbras of Damien have started to surface again, the residual effects of the Joyfully Obedient Child Wave Emitter beginning to cease. I just told Elias for the third time to stop throwing the Furby.