Have you ever noticed that doctor’s office waiting rooms can be more silent than libraries? Perfect, I suppose, for quality time to catch up on magazines you would never ordinarily read.
You’ll occasionally come across a waiting room without magazines leaving you with nothing better than to do than people-watch. The plan backfires when you lock eyes with some other bored patient who’s doing the same thing. Busted! You flash an awkward smile and reach for the nearest object to distract yourself with; a loose thread on your sweater, a speck of dust on the chair, a smudge on the floor. Anything to tide you over for a few seconds.
Nowadays, if you have a smart phone, you’ll grab it and stare at it like it’s the most amazing thing ever, which, let’s face it, it pretty much is. However, to kill time, you’ll find yourself re-reading emails you’ve already read or playing a game you lost interest in months ago, while silently praying for your name to be the next one called.
And then you have kids. Taking a child to the doctors office changes the game. When they are newborns, you can distract yourself with them much like you would the smartphone. The newborn that was just fed before you entered the waiting room, suddenly must be fed again, or tickled, or rocked. They are a great distraction.
They don’t stay that age for long. Now a visit to a doctor’s office is less about using the child as a distraction, and more about not distracting everyone around you. It’s more like herding cattle. And it’s not quiet either. That whole library-esque feel to a waiting room? Gone.
Sammy and I went to get caught up on his vaccinations a few days ago. Our doctor’s office is well designed and has two child-friendly waiting rooms. They differentiate between a sick-child and a well-child. I’m thankful for this on so many levels.
At first, we were the only people in the room so I let Sammy, who’s now walking, explore the room.
The room, ha! He stayed in the room for about 10 seconds. The busy hallway with nurses and other patients moving around was far more interesting. This is when I started to resemble a human yo-yo.
As he made a beeline for the hallway, I swept him up.
And directed his attention away from the door.
It didn’t work.
I tried to hold him on my lap after that, but he wasn’t happy with that. Forcing a squirming child to sit still on your lap, as any mother knows, is futile. At this time, another mom and baby entered the room.
When I was a kid, I remember being shy. There wasn’t no chance that I was going to run over to a stranger to check them out. My son has not picked up this trait.
The other mom seemed somewhat amused by my son’s energy and enthusiasm for her daughter. The little girl, on the other hand, wasn’t sure what to make of him.
Now, part of me just wanted to let my son play with the little girl to give me a break, but that wasn’t really fair and I didn’t know the mother at all. I will admit I did delay just a little before picking him back up. I’m not proud.
The next trick I tried was teaching him to sit in a chair all by himself.
I knew it was going to fail before I started, but it gave us something to do for a minute or so.
By now some time had gone by. The other woman and her daughter had already been called in. I was beginning to feel forgotten. And desperate.
At least someone got to play with the smart phone in the waiting room.
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