Archive for July 2nd, 2008

Are They ALL Yours?

So at my appointment with ye ol' Developmental Pediatrician this morning, I forgot to bring my checkbook.  I *hate* being "that" woman.  That disorganized woman who can't get herself together and have all her ducks in a row when she leaves the house in the morning.  HATE IT.  So I told Dr. S. I would drop a check off in the afternoon and he said, "Or just drop in the mail, whatever."

I'm short a nanny today; she called in sick because she fell down a flight of stairs yesterday, poor thing.  I'm not feeling well myself, so I wasn't planning to go in to work (I didn't go in yesterday either), so it's not the end of the world, though I feel terribly for her.  Seth had stayed with the babies while I was at the pediatrician's office and was home through lunchtime.  After he left, I got the babies down for their afternoon nap and went to get some work done and spoke (AGAIN) with Dr. S. about J's school placement for next year because we haven't settled that yet. 

I felt like a terrible mother while on the phone because Abby, who hadn't settled down for her nap yet, was screaming her head off.  I told Dr. S. that I was feeling like the world's worst mother (AGAIN) and he said, "Let's make something very clear:  You are a very good mother.  You have a very challenging four and a half year old and triplets on top of that.  That's a lot to handle and I'm not sure I'd handle things any better than you are!  You're doing a phenomenal job."  I think Dr. S. is going to get real tired of us REAL SOON NOW.  (Abby, by the way, did not settle down on her own, as Dr. S. promised she would.  After I got off the phone with him, I went down held her for a minute, put her back in her crib and she went right to sleep)

The babies took the longest nap in the universe.  Sam woke up at 3 and the girls didn't wake up until 3:30.  By 4, everyone was fed and packed up into the car and I was realizing how stupid it was to drive out into rush hour traffic to deliver a check, but I though it would be a fine opportunity to go buy some baby gates and we'd have PLENTY of time to get home for dinner and bed.  Hah, I say, Hah!  So I drove off to deliver the check to ye ol' Developmental Pediatrician's office and from there went to Buy Buy Baby where I met my mother and J, so that she could push a cart while I pushed a stroller so that I could buy some baby gates. 

This was a huge, HUGE, HUGE mistake. As soon as J was in the store, he started begging for a toy and I said no (not in a mean way, but I was firm that he wasn't getting a toy – I did buy him a pair of goggles and two lightning mcqueen booboo cold pack thingies, but he just got two new toys yesterday and I do NOT need more stuff in my house).  I was not there to buy toys, I was there to buy baby gates, so it's not like I was flaunting baby toys in front of him either.  I was just buying baby gates.  And J threw a fit of epic proportions.

And my mother.  My mother. Did. Not. Help. 

She stood there telling him that he could pick out something that he wanted for his birthday (meaning, we wouldn't be buying it today – his birthday is in September).  Hello?  The kid has ADHD.  Kids with ADHD have no sense of time.  They have no ability to work with delayed gratification.  Even if you don't know this about ADHD because you haven't read the manual yet, you've known THIS kid for nearly four years and you know that THIS kid does not function well with delayed gratification!  He's been nicknamed "Instant Gratification Lad" since we got him!  So this proposal only infuriated him more. 

I'm talking throwing himself on the floor, kicking, screaming, crying, threatening, begging, pleading. People staring, store employees offering candy.  It was not pretty.  So I gave up on finding all the gates I needed, settled for three that I knew would work for the immediate needs I had and we made our way to the front, which is how I get to the title of this post.

There I am with three babies, a screaming J-man, and a mother pushing a cart full of baby gates.  And a store employee sees the three babies and says, "Oh my gosh, are they ALL yours!" (completely ignoring J, and pointing specifically to the three babies)

And I actually said it. 

"No, really, I just enjoy going out with three random infants.  It's fun for me."

She was flustered for a second, but quickly recovered and was fawning all over the babies, all the while J was screaming his head off.  Literally, I think.

As it turned out, we got lots of attention, and lots of help, and the store employees helped me check out, followed me out to the car with my cart, loaded everything into the van, and took the cart back for me, which was fabulous, considering the screaming J-man.  Actually, it was fabulous even NOT considering the screaming J-man.  But leaving the store only infuriated J even more (if that's possible?) and we could not safely get J across the parking lot to the cars.  I swear, I almost called Dr. S. to find out what the hell to do, but seriously?  That man has GOT to be sick of me by now.  And really?  I had to have done SOMETHING without him before, right?  I survived without him before June, so I need to be able to stand on my own to legs now. 

Meanwhile, it's now 5:30.  J's fit has gone on for 45 minutes.  Ellie's had a critical diaper failure and I'm changing her poopy diaper in my car.  My mom finally got J to my car sort-of-safely, but he's fighting her every inch of the way.  He's still screaming bloody murder.  NOTHING will calm him down.  We can't let go of him, for fear that he will dash back across the parking lot to get back into the store (he is still harboring hopes that if he gets back into the store, he can have a toy).  It's past 5:30 at this point.  5:30 is the triplets' dinnertime.  They are starving and starting to scream, but J won't get into a carseat. Given a choice between my car and Grammy's car, he won't make a decision.  I make the decision for him and try to get him into my car, but he is stronger than me, literally, and there is NO getting him into a car seat against his will.  He's almost four feet tall (I'm only five feet tall) and almost 50 pounds, and VERY strong.  I have no way of controlling him when he's like this.  I tell him he has no choice, and my mother chimes in, "It's okay, do you want to go to Grammy's car?"  Thanks a lot, mom.  Thanks for not contradicting me. 

My mother took J to her car (just two cars down) and looked like she was doing okay, so I started to leave with the screaming trio, but as I was leaving, I realized that she still didn't have J in the car, so I pulled behind her put the hazards on and got out of the car.  J took one look at me and settled down into his car seat.  I was really deadly calm, so I don't know what he was scared of, but he must have known I was very serious by that point.  By then a car had pulled up behind my van and the woman inside was glaring at me, in lieu of pulling around my van (plenty of room to do so).

We did, of course, get home.  The babies did, of course, get fed.  They were very difficult to get down to sleep because they were over tired.  J was extremely emotionally labile until HIS bedtime and very hard to get down, but all is well.  They are all sleeping peacefully now, at last.

Are they ALL mine, indeed?  Yep.  All four of 'em.  Glare all you want.  I work hard for these kids.  See if YOU can do any better. 

P.S.  When I got home, there was a message from Dr. S. on the voicemail:
"Hi this is Dr. S.  I just wanted to say Thank You for dropping off the check today, but that was completely uneccessary.  Next time if that happens [Note: I hope there won't be a next time] you can just drop it in the mail.  You've got more than enough on your plate.  I hope you didn't make a special trip out. Gosh.  You're, well, you're good people.  Just, you know, don't do it again.  Thank You." 

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The J-Man had an appointment with ye ol’ Developmental Pediatrician this morning.  While there, we set up his new and improved morning routine schedule to be followed from here to eternity, like it or not.  So there.  This new schedule is a tool for us to use as part of the behavior management portion of managing J’s ADHD.  We discussed with J the things which should be included on the schedule and the order in which things should be included as well.  Suffice it to say, it looks good on paper, but J is not going to be happy the first time (or, likely, the 20th time) this schedule gets put into place for real.  Nevertheless, we are told to remain firm and unwaivering in our enforcement of a consistent schedule. 

So this schedule is gold and stands above all else, including the triplets’ schedule.  Gulp.    Do you know how hard I’ve worked to have a predictable schedule for the triplets in the morning?  To which the pediatrician smiled that devious little smile that boiled down to, "I know and that’s irrelevant to this discussion."  For this exercise, he said, you will fit the triplets’ schedule into J’s schedule, not the other way around.  It’s only fair, I suppose.  The J-man has had to work his way into their schedule for 9 months now, right?  It’s about time that he gets to take precedence. 

Once we’d finished working out the schedule, Dr. S and I pulled out our calendars to set up our next appointment sans the J-man.  "What’s that?" J asked, pointing to Dr. S’s appointment book. 

"That’s my schedule.  You have your schedule and I have mine, see?" Dr. S answered. 
"What’s that?"  J asked, pointing at my appointment book.
"That’s my schedule," I replied, but then I looked a little more closely.  "Or, rather, this is everyone else’s schedule, which seems to dictate mine.  See?  Here’s your appointment, and there’s Abby and Ellie’s physical therapy appointment, and there’s Abba’s staffing schedule and Abba’s learning schedule, and there’s your dentist appointment, and there’s your playdate, and Sam & Abby, and Ellie’s therapy appointment, and my physical, and …  I guess my schedule is just pieces of everyone else’s schedule fit together to make mine."

"So what works for you for follow up?" Dr. S. asked, peering at his own calendar. 
"I am at your disposal."
"No, seriously, tell me what works best for you."
"Well, mornings are best as early as possible, I suppose."

And so, we carved out our next meeting time and we were on our way.  We said goodbye to Frisky the Gerbil and made our way back to the car.  I pondered what it meant to not have a schedule of my own and I realized…  that’s just what it is to be a mom and that’s what I waited for all these years.

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