Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Funny Valentine

It was my turn to take Alex to his much-dreaded (by everyone involved) "well-child" checkup. On the menu for Alex's ordeal: poking and prodding (in even the most private of body parts) with latex-covered gloves, a lighted magnifying glass in the ear, and a stethoscope (apparently straight from the fridge) on a naked chest. For dessert, a purported vaccination.

Anyone who's forced an 18-month old child to submit to the will of a strange doctor wearing squeaky gloves and ill-fitting spectacles knows that it takes coercion. Unfortunately, 18-month-olds do not respond to bribes, or I would have offered Alex the moon, if that's what it took. Alex responds to two things: physical force/restraint and affectionate words and gestures. Both of these coercion methods combined and collided to produce an inexplicable and unanticipated Valentine's surprise during the examination.

You see, Alex had taken the oft-quoted Mormon adage "My body is a temple, not a visitor's center" to heart. As far as he was concerned, his ear canal, which the doctor needed to check, was not open for inspection. Time for coercion. I tried affection. The doctor tried physical restraint. As the doctor raised his hand to hold Alex's head in place, I puckered my lips to offer Alex a kiss of comfort. We both aimed for the same spot on Alex's forehead without realizing the impending collision.

You can imagine the rest. I kissed the doctor's hand--quite tenderly. (Happy Valentine's Day?) No one said a word about the Incident, but the doctor and I did have a very pleasant conversation about Spanish accents after the examination. I think we might be better friends because of the Incident.

Then Nurse Ratchett brought in a loaded syringe and, without the slightest look of sympathy, emptied its contents into my then innocent, precious child's milky white thigh. Vaccination, schmaccination. In the few days since that vaccine, Alex has developed very unpleasant symptoms: repeated use of the word "no," refusal to go to bed, and high-pitched screams. Where has my innocent baby gone? I believe Nurse Ratchett injected a strain of Terrible Toddlerhood into Alex and called it a Hepatitis A vaccination. I'm looking for possible antidotes.


  1. I won't tell anyone about your encounter with the doctor...well, not very many people.

    Sorry the rest of the ordeal was terrible. I hope Happy Alex comes back soon.

  2. That is really funny!

  3. I love it. Is Kendall jealous of the doctor? Is it the first time you've seen him? You know, just because your child is there doesn't make it right. :) Ooooh that is such a funny story, I'm so glad you shared.

  4. LOVE this post. You are such a good writer, I can just imagine the whole thing. I needed a good laugh so thanks for sharing. Oh the joys of a toddler!!!