There is no public holiday here in the west. It was another rough night, a sniffily teething babe difficult to settle, and so it was with much effort that I dragged myself out of bed ready to hit the peak hour traffic to make an early doctor’s appointment. Pretty much from the moment my feet hit the carpet we were running late, not helped in the least by me losing track of time as I stood in the shower, I was dropping balls left, right and centre in the juggling act and in the end missed out having a morning cuppa.
On arrival at the doctor’s surgery it became clear that Ms. M was determined to make trouble. She started her antics by picking fights with both her brothers; pinching and scratching the younger while snatching toys from the older. She was fighting a war on two fronts. Meanwhile Baby O had done the biggest shit of his life and needed to be changed. In the tiny bathroom at the doctor’s surgery I discovered that (i) he had soiled all his clothes; (ii) the wipes had been left open and were now relatively dry; and (iii) there was no change of clothes in the nappy bag. Eventually I scraped all the fecal matter from his body and dressed him in just a nappy (which really wasn’t a big deal since it was another 38°C day)
In the doctor’s office Ms. M decided that she would blow wet sloppy raspberries at the doctor in close range over and over and over again covering our doctor in spit. Irrespective of what I said she just kept going. Simultaneously E. discovered the wonderful feeling of “tap dancing” on wooden floors in old buildings and seemed determined to audition for river dance there and then.
Back in the waiting room again, biding time to see the nurse, Ms. M’s attacks on both her brothers got to the point where I needed to take her outside to chat away from the glare of the doctor’s surgery audience – a packed house. I was ranting my key words of “helpful” and “kind” like a mad woman and on returning to the waiting room Ms. M decided to pinch her baby brother, twice for good measure. A now overtired baby O screamed the house down and the audience all shot me disapproving glares. Needless to say I just wanted the earth to open up and swallow us all. But it didn’t and I’m glad it is so because I did manage to get us all to a reasonably peaceful place. Then INSANELY I placed baby O on the floor beside E. to play with the toys (he’d been struggling to get out of my arms to play) and wouldn’t you know it Ms. M decided to flatten her baby brother, his head pounding into the floorboards at the very time his name was called to see the nurse. The crescendo to our drama in the waiting-room round. So there I was Baby O quickly whisked into my arms, shooshing, hushing, bouncing my dear hardly done by babe, doing my best to shoot Ms. M the most intense evil eye I could muster whilst simultaneously smiling sheepishly at the nurse who had called us into her room.
Poor Baby O. Within minutes yucky medicine was pushed down his throat and both his chubby thighs jabbed with needles.
Finally we were free to go. There were more incidents en route home but so much easier to deal with ‘off stage’, out of the glare of the spotlight.
Thankfully the day did get better. The older brother was shipped off to school, the dynamic changed and a solid nap was enjoyed. There was a time when I would have let such a traumatic start to the day snowball for the entire day but these days I’m ever hopeful that I’ll be able to change the tone. It is this hope that can leave situations like this as a bad morning rather than a bad day.
I am, however, left wondering about my middle child. How can I help her feel confident and secure in her place in our family? Are you a middle child? What’s it like? Maybe you have a middle child too? How do you help yours??? Thoughts, words of wisdom, warnings… all welcome. Please do share.