40 minutes in a doctor’s waiting room pushed my parenting skills to the max

Posted in Family.

In any doctors waiting room, you are guaranteed to see three things: patients, patience, and one of those wooden toys with the blocks on twirly metal things.

It’s boring waiting as a fully fledged grown up. But with kids? Doctor’s waiting rooms are a place where parenting skills are pushed to the max as you try your best to keep your smalls entertained with the twirly, wooden toy and not lose your patience under the judgement of all the other patients waiting.  

It brings out the worst in people. Including myself. 

Child playing with car

This is what happened when we spent 40 minutes in the doctor’s waiting room.

Initial assessment:

Holy crap it’s busy in here. I should have packed snacks. People are already looking grumpy. There are other kids by the wooden toy with the twirly bits. Oh joy, Little is going to have to share. Not his forte right now.

2 minutes in the doctors waiting room

OK, this isn’t so bad. Little is playing nicely with the other kids. Big is chatting to me about his day. We’ve got this. 

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3 minutes in the doctors waiting room

That other kid just pushed Little. Little shoots me a look. “Play nicely,” I say. The kid shoves him again. I shoot a pleading look to the kids mum. She ignores it. After the third shove, I suggest Little plays with the other identical wooden toy with the twirly things. He does. Order is restored.

5 minutes in the doctors waiting room

The other kid has come over to the same wooden twirly toy as Little and given him another shove. I decide not to intervene this time. Little tells him, “No boy!” The boy ignores him and shoves him again. This time Little shoves back. The boy cries. The mum shoots me daggers. Sisterhood is apparently not alive and well in this waiting room. I suggest Little comes and sits with me.

7 minutes in the doctors waiting room

The other kid is now dragging the toys across the waiting room. As far out of Little’s reach as possible. Little announces in his loudest and clearest voice, “Mummy, that boy is a great big meanie pegs.” I slightly curse Charlie & Lola while Big loses it and can’t contain the giggles. He’s not the only person in the waiting room laughing.

10 minutes in the doctors waiting room

Big is starting to complain about being bored. Little is very fidgety. We read a book. It takes 2 minutes.

12 minutes in the doctors waiting room

Little wants me to sing. He has the air of a tantrum about him. I quietly sing his request of Old MacDonald had a farm. I am getting sympathetic looks from a few other patients. We exhaust all of the farmyard animals and move on to more exotic things like lions and elephants. The elephant noise was a particular highlight of the whole experience.

15 minutes in the doctors waiting room

Can’t believe that only took 3 minutes. Big is starting to whinge. I suggest he reads his library book. Little wants Big’s library book. “Mine!” he shouts loudly. I think I hear an old lady tutting. The other kid starts running around the waiting room at full speed. Little decides this looks like great fun and tries to join in. I explain to him that we don’t run around in here because we might bump into people, and people are not feeling very well. To my sheer relief Little comes and sits back down with me while the other kid continues to run around like the Tasmanian devil.

17 minutes in the doctors waiting room

Big is hungry. He is also clock watching and giving me minute by minute breakdowns of how late the doctor is. I promise an after-dinner treat in exchange for less whinging.

19 minutes in the doctors waiting room

The other kid starts screaming. He’s not hurt. He just stands in the middle of the waiting room, opens his mouth and screams the longest loudest scream over and over again. The other patients are not amused.  Little laughs. I feel a sense of panic. It’s not unjust. Little opens his mouth and screams too. My heart sinks. 

I catch the eye of another patient who has an amused smiled on her face. I decide to keep looking at her and avoid eye contact with the less amused patients. “It’s not nice to scream,” I tell Little. He laughs and does it again. I use my stern voice while resisting the urge to clamp my hand over his mouth. The other kid is still going. I silently judge his Mum for sitting there reading her book and ignoring what is happening. I know I shouldn’t. But I did. I suggest we go to the toilet to get out of there for a few minutes.

22 minutes in the doctors waiting room

We return from the toilets in record time. Why is it never that quick when you are in a hurry? The other kid has now decided to squirt water from his water bottle all over the floor. Big says something judgemental to me about the boy and I am relieved he remembered his whisper voice. I route around in my handbag cursing myself for not being prepared. Luckily I find a random Lego figure, a car and Postman Pat. It’s enough to keep my two entertained for a bit albeit, not very quietly, but hell, I’m doing my best here.

24 minutes in the doctors waiting room

Big starts to fire questions at me about life, love and the universe. I answer them as best I can, while wondering when his filter will kick in. In the space of two minutes, he asks me questions about Romans, his friend at school, cats, hearing aids, why the other boy was allowed to throw water, and why Doctors are allowed to be so late. I answer between shushing Little when his “Brum Brum” noises get a bit over-enthusiastic.

27 minutes in the doctors waiting room

The other kid has his eye on Little’s car. FFS. A fight breaks out between them with Little shouting “No. Mine Car”  I tell the other boy he has the twirly wooden toy to play with and ask Little not to shout. I’m trying very hard to stay calm. I can feel all eyes on me. I bring Little back to sit with me. The lady with the amused smile asks him about his car. He is happy to tell her. There is the sisterhood. I thank her.

30 minutes in the doctors waiting room

The other kid gets called in. Everyone in the waiting room breathes a sigh of relief. 

32 minutes in the doctors waiting room

Little is very fidgety. He starts doing a dance which involves wiggling his bottom a lot and giggling. It cheers big up. He lets out a very large fart but at least has the grace to say “oops! Pardon me”.  There are muffled giggles around the room. Sensing an audience Little starts to sing. Only it’s that overexcited shouty singing really fast singing that isn’t really cute or endearing. Big finds it funny which spurs little on, he is getting louder and more frenzied by the second. I pull out the big guns. My phone. I settle him down to watch Blaze and The Monster Machines and once again feel the stares of judgement. Right now I don’t care. This is parenting. And I am doing my best.

37 minutes in the waiting room

I’m bored. It’s now way past the kid’s dinner time. They are hungry. I promise them pizza for tea. If we wait much longer my bribes are going to have to get bigger. I could end up taking them to Legoland at this rate. I mentally calculate how many people were here before us and debate asking the receptionist how much longer.

39 minutes in the doctors waiting room

A lady gets called in and as she walks past us she tells my boys how good they have been. I want to hug her.

40 minutes in the doctors waiting room

“Mummy that’s us”. 

Thank f@*# for that

That was the longest 40 minutes of my life. It may have been just as painful as childbirth?!

Doctors waiting rooms; judge and be judged!

This post was republished with permission from Life, Love and Dirty Dishes


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