Monday, July 12, 2010

How do you do it: 5 kids at a well-check

I get asked a lot how I manage various aspects of having five small-ish children.  The honest answer is, I-don't-know, and not-always-very-well.  The other just-as-honest part of my answer is, some things about having five kids so close in age are actually easy.  I'm not gonna lie.  When I say this most people either a) don't believe me, or b) want to canonize me for sainthood.  
That being said...

Some things are NOT as easy. 

Part of our adoption homestudy stipulated every single person in our family have a medical.


All of my kids were due for theirs, so a couple of months ago, I made the appointments.  Which would all fall on the same day.  Two kids in the morning, an hour-and-a-half break for lunch, and two kids in the afternoon.  (Mary had just had one of her baby well-checks the week before so she was simply along for the ride.  She likes being included like that.)

We showed up to the office bright and early, me and my brood.  Anna and Kaitlyn, pictured up at the top in their paper gowns (that they think are sooooo cool), were first. 

There is a lot of waiting at the doctor's office.  Lots and lots of waiting.  Thankfully there was a basket of books in our room.

Mary likes to spread out on the floor.  She had a blast crawling around.

Ideally they would also include long chapter books in the waiting room, because Anna polished off the basket's contents in about fifteen minutes.

Kaitlyn loved looking at books with Mary Lu. 

Now the girls' physicals themselves went just fine.  No issues.  No big deal.  Except, you know, the doctor (NOT our actual pediatrician who we {love} but the doctor who happened to be in that day) now probably thinks something is wrong with Kaitlyn's cognitive abilities.  She WOULD NOT make eye contact with him.  Or speak to him.  Wouldn't answer his questions.  Could not be coerced into hopping like a bunny, or telling him who she likes to play with.  Nothing.  "Does she talk at home?" he asked in a concerned voice.

Yes, she talks at home.

Then, when he was attempting to get a reflex by tapping her knee with his happy little knee-tapper, well, he couldn't get one.  Oh how he tried.  Tap, tap.  Nothing.  Tap, tap, tap.  Still nothing.  He picked up a much heavier medical object and tried it again.  NOTHING.  It was at this point that he started LAUGHING.  "I don't believe it," he said.  "I've never had a child so young do this before!"


SO, he had her clasp her hands together (for some unknown reason she decided to comply.)  He tapped her knee again.  Sure enough, the reflex came.  Because she'd been clasping her hands, and therefore was unable to willfully block the reflex.
Yes folks, my THREE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER was so extremely stubborn that she refused to do the reflext test.  Oh, my.

Oh how happy I was to get out of that office, if even for a mere 90 minutes.  After the knee-jerk fiasco, I was done.  Cooked.  Exhausted.  Amused, yes--don't get me wrong, it was all pretty hilarious, and really where would I be without my sense of humor--but exhausted.  And if you can't tell by the picture, we utilized Taco Bell for our mid-day meal.  We're a real class act, I tell you.  But don't underestimate my sense of accomplishment upon our arrival.  Because my GPS, which I SWEAR has a personal vendetta against me based on the fact that it regularly gives me directions to deserted strip-malls filled with empty warehouses, steered me wrong AND I ended up going the wrong way down a one-way city street.  (That, however, was not the GPS' fault.  That was just me being an idiot.)

{Oh and did you see my swagger wagon in the picture?  It's like it's part of the family or something, posing with the kids for the camera!}

The kids all LOVED dining where I used to work at what I affectionally refer to as T-Bell, and the cashier thought they were all so cute that she gave them free kids' meal toys--you can see Mary with hers.  I think she's rather pleased.

After we got our fill of cleavage-baring 3-D comic book characters on the kids' meal toys burritos and cinnamon twists, we returned to the doctor's office for Yosef and Biniam's appointments.  Where the doctor wouldn't really believe me that Biniam has ADHD.  (It was at this point that I was regretting choosing fast appointments over our regular doctor.  He would have actually listened to me.  He would also have built better rapport with Kaitlyn.  Maybe.)  Of course all the while Biniam is performing strange physical feats and running around in his camoflauge undies with his tongue hanging out.  Riiiiiiight.  He's just a typical five year old boy.  Who can't ever find his shoes and gets distracted at the drop of a hat and blurts things out without thinking and doesn't even know why.  Uh huh.  Sure. 3:15 pm...we left the office for good.  We'd shown up at 9:30 that morning.  And so we were tired.  Bedraggled.  Grumpy.  It was upon walking in the door at home that I received the phone call saying we could not adopt the children we thought we were adopting.  You know, the whole reason for the physicals.


So.  How do I do it?  How do I manage five kids at a doctor's appointment?  Oh, you didn't read earlier? 

I don't know.

Not always very well.

I'm not going to say it's easy though.  Do-able, yes.  Exciting, always.  Worth it just to see Kaitlyn spiting the doctor, absolutely.

See, these are the adventures of being an at-home-mom-to-many.  If you have one sweet little cherub that you pamper and coo at after he/she gets his/her shots, right before you tote him/her over to Whole Foods for your organic wheatberries, well, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my day at the doctor's office--FYI, no time for tears around here when my kids get poked with a needle.  There's just too darn many of 'em.  But don't worry, they buck right up. 

Because they know we're going to Taco Bell afterwards.

That, friends, is how I do it.


Paige said...

Brianna - LOVE this glimpse into your doctors visits. You are awesome and I wish we lived closer because I think my boys would LOVE your boys (and your girls too!).=)

Anonymous said...

Oh, honey, I am quite impressed. Mine come along one and a time, so while I have oldest is 9 and quite the helper! Have a great day!

Marissa said...

Great job, Brianna! I have a heck of a time taking 5 kids to doctors' appointments. I find them hilarious, but our ped. doesn't have a very good sense of humor. He also doesn't appreciate my sarcasm, which I find the best tool for survival. :)

I'd love to talk to you sometimes about the ADHD issue. I haven't had very good luck in getting help for my 7-year-old. His doctor told me, "Africans are known for short attention spans." (I was not amused) and the therapist completely discounted my concerns, despite having never interacted with my son. Ugh! So frustrating. If you make any progress please let me know!

this is us said...

LOVE it! And by the way, Avi is obsessed with a skull sticker he saw at a Taco Bell vending machine. Really wants it. :)


Blog Template by