I had another blog post scheduled to go up, but yesterday morning pretty much changed everything.
I had to take the Ankle Biter to the hospital. No…it’s nothing serious. It was a scheduled appointment. Basically, he’s been getting a lot of infections over the past few months (two ear infections, a nose infection, and a throat infection) so The Ex took him to the doctor to see what was going on.
The doctor scheduled an appointment with a specialist that will take place in a few weeks but wanted to get some chest X-rays done first. The initial thought was that his acid reflux issues had returned.
The Ex couldn’t get time off from work. She normally takes him to the doctor and has done so for a number of reasons. I have always placed the offer of either going with them or taking him myself…just because I always felt bad about her having to go through his crying and/or screaming at getting a needle or being poked and prodded all by herself.
So this time around she decided to take me up on my offer. She was concerned, though, because every time she has to take him to the hospital or to a doctor he always reacts poorly. In fact, the last time he got an X-ray done they ended up having to strap him down to keep him still…resulting in a scared screaming session that left The Ex emotionally battered.
The concern this time around was that I would have to deal with a similar situation and, because I wasn’t normally the one to “perform the task”, that I might be unable to handle things.
I assured her that everything would be okay. I said whatever I could to ease her mind and let her know that the Ankle Biter would not only be okay, but that I could handle the situation if it wasn’t okay.
She dropped him off yesterday morning at 8:00am. The X-ray department at the hospital didn’t open until 9:00am so I had some time to spend with him. After she said her goodbyes, I decided to try to work “an angle” in an attempt to prepare him for the morning’s events.
"Working the angle" pic #1 (on the way out of the house)
I took a couple of pictures of him. I then said that we’d be going to get his picture taken. When we got ready to go, I took another picture and told him that we were going to get his picture taken. After we parked the car outside the hospital, I took another picture and told him that we were going to get his picture taken.
As you can probably assume, my hope was that when it was his turn to get an X-ray that I could make him feel like he was just getting his picture taken and that it wasn’t a big deal.
We arrived at 9:00am. We didn’t hear our names called until 10:10am.
"Working the angle" pic #2 (inside the car)
In the waiting area, there was a little section that had a small table and four chairs for kids. On the table were two puzzles. There was a magazine rack with three children’s books in it. There was a television playing “Canada A.M.” above us (think “CBS This Morning” only a LOT less interesting). There was a “wacky mirror” that made kids look slightly warped (like you’d find in a carnival or something). There was also a wooden circle on the wall that one could spin around over and over and over and over……
That was it.
"Working the angle" pic #3 (inside the hospital waiting room...and yes, that's a "Harry Potter scar" on his forehead. heh)
We had brought a Buzz Lightyear, a Woody, some popcorn (his mother’s new favorite snack for him), and a bottle of water.
For 70 minutes, Ankle Biter and I entertained ourselves without any issue whatsoever. Not once did he whine. Not once did he complain. Not once did he start going stir-crazy.
He was a perfect little boy.
In fact, I think I was probably becoming more uneasy about the wait than he was. And because he was so awesome, it made me feel a bit better about the very long wait.
When our names were finally called, I was extremely relieved but then quickly became a bit uneasy. I mean, after 70 minutes of sheer boredom (or forced entertainment), how would he react to the X-ray machine? Would he have to strip off his t-shirt? Would he have to lie down on a cold, metal table? Would he get nervous or scared?
"Working the angle" pic #4 (outside the X-ray room)
We sat again outside of the X-ray room while a couple of more people went in before us. I couldn’t believe it…Ankle Biter and I were having so much fun that I had to “shush” him for laughing too loud. I took a few more pictures of him and told him that they’d be taking his picture inside of the room.
Then they called his name.
As we walked in, I could immediately tell that the nurses were a bit nervous. After all, here was a (almost) 3-year old boy and a big scary room full of strangers wanting to position him in weird ways and then make him remain still.
Well…it wasn’t like that at all.
First thing first, they placed a vest on me. Wait…I was allowed to stay in the room?? Yes…yes I was. I knew immediately that this was going to be a very good thing.
Then the nurses showed me the machine, which allowed Ankle Biter to stand up for the X-ray. Wait…he wouldn’t have to be lying naked on a cold, metal table? No…no he wouldn’t. This only went to enforce the notion that this definitely was going to be a very good thing.
They placed a little protective padding around his waist. This was something that I was going to have to hold on to. The nurses positioned him opposite the X-ray…almost like it was a flashlight target practice. They asked him to stand perfectly still and to raise his chin up.
That boy didn’t move for 20 seconds.
I was smiling from ear to ear. I told him how awesome he was doing with his pictures. He was smiling and seemed quite impressed with the whole scenario.
The next step was to turn him sideways with his arms over his head. So I had my right hand holding up his arms and my left hand holding his waist still. He looked scared and uncomfortable for a few seconds, but I gave him my “Muppet face” and told him we both had to remain perfectly still.
That boy didn’t move for 20 seconds.
You want to know why I think he stayed still for so long?
YO GABBA GABBA!!!
No, I’m not kidding. Just do a YouTube search under Yo Gabba Gabba and “Hold still” or “Wiggle”. You’ll see a ton of videos of kids “shaking the wiggles out” and holding still, too.
Here’s an example of what I’m referring to:
So for Ankle Biter, holding still was just part of the game.
And once all was said and done, the nurses couldn’t contain how impressed they were. They gave him a sticker, all waved goodbye, and told me what a great kid I had.
I lost track of how many times on the 5-minute walk to the car that I told him how good he was and how proud I was of him. Both of our smiles were a mile wide. I raced to the nearest McDonald’s to get him his ‘reward’ for being so great…an ice cream frozen yogurt-like substance.
Once I dropped him off and head in to work, I called The Ex as quickly as possible to brag rub in inform her about how the morning went.
For the record, my kid is frickin’ awesome.