Friday, November 13, 2009

just call me poppy seed

Today is Charlie's birthday.


Yesterday, I left for a meeting at 7:00 in the morning and didn't return home until 7:00 at night. By the time I came back the kids had already been in bed asleep for almost an hour. So it should have come as no surprise when we were awoken this morning by our three five-year-old children who stormed in to our dark bedroom yelling, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!"

Then as they jumped around our bed excitedly, they asked, "Do you want your presents now? DO YOU WANT YOUR PRESENTS NOW?!"


I rolled over and noticing that it was 5:00 AM muttered, "You know what would be a GREAT present? If you guys all went back to bed until the sun came up!"

Of course they didn't.

They ran around the house chattering up a storm and I gave the birthday boy a kick under the covers and said, "THIS is what happens when you put the kids to bed at 6:00 PM."

The kids came in to the room again, a few minutes later, with their little arms weighted down with wrapped presents. These were presents that they had picked out themselves, directly off of our own shelves. Before I left yesterday morning, I told the kids that tomorrow (today) was their Daddy's birthday. So while I was gone, they asked their father which books of theirs were his favorite, and then they wrapped those books in Christmas paper - tied with a bow.


(Isn't that adorable? So, so cute.)

This afternoon, the kids were due for their five-year checkup. During their four-year checkup last year, they were supposed to receive their Kindergarten round of vaccinations, but when the nurse came in to the room carrying three trays full of shots - the kids went in to absolute mass hysteria. They were climbing all over each other and dove underneath the table and desk, with their arms and legs wrapped around whatever they could reach, SCREAMING.

Even though their vaccination records had already been stamped and the syringes were full, the nurse decided that we'd just wait until NEXT year when they turned five. This would suit everyone just fine since we weren't planning to start them in Kindergarten until 2010.

So, today was the day.


The day that each of our five-year-old children were due to receive their annual eye and hearing exam and their much-dreaded Kindergarten suite of shots. A total of four inter-muscular shots each. But a total of six needles, because they needed to have their finger pricked for a hemoglobin analysis and a tuberculosis shot in their forearm.

Instead of bringing them all in at the same time, as we have always done, today at the request of our pediatrician, we had their appointments staged throughout the afternoon. Each child was separated by 30 minutes, so that no single child would need to experience the TRAUMA of the shots, until it was their turn.


Still, everyone knew what was happening. Because I believe it's important to let kids know what's going on, I told them ahead of time that they were getting shots and afterwards, we were going straight to the toy store so that they could pick out a nice little present for themselves. Elizabeth, being the great thinker that she is said, "Mom, I have a really good idea. Why don't we just go right to the toy store and skip the shot stuff altogether?"

Wouldn't it be awesome if life worked out that way? Say, I have another great idea!


Why doesn't my company just send me a check and I skip the work stuff altogether?

When it came time for the shots, it was like a scene from a horror movie. The nurse appeared with the band aids she'd be using to cover the injection sites, taped to her shirt, so that she could just grab them and stick them on. But as soon as the kids saw the VOLUME of band aids they went absolutely, positively INSANE.

You've never seen such screaming and body thrashing in your life. Charlie had three of the kids in the lobby and I had the shot recipient, squeezed between my legs with my two arms holding them down. When it was Carolyn's turn, they had to bring in a second nurse who laid on top of her, while I covered her eyes. And even with the additional manpower, after FOUR pricks, they were still unable to administer the TB skin test and one nurse was kicked in the face.


People in the lobby outside of the pediatrician's office heard the screaming and put down their magazines to inquire, what was going on in there? I wouldn't doubt if people orbiting the earth in a shuttle heard it.

And then after all that insanity, the nurse who had administered Carolyn's shots had the audacity to inadvertently throw out the hemoglobin slide. I saw it flip in to the trash when she dumped her tray of used supplies and I actually dived in after it. Because there was NO WAY I was going to put myself my daughter through the torture of receiving another injection. As the nurse was carefully removing items from the trash to expose items at the bottom, I grabbed a pair of purple latex gloves off the wall and pulled the entire bag out of the trash can and began searching desperately for the itty bitty slide. Which I finally found, once I dumped the contents all over the counter.

When we were finished at the doctor's office, Charlie went to go run a few errands, and I took the kids to the grocery store to pick up - among other things - a birthday cake for their father.

Since I only needed to buy four items: taco shells, crackers, eggs and cake supplies - I didn't make a list. But since I haven't been shopping with all four children by myself in about four months, I really should have. Because OH SWEET MERCY. Shopping with four small children is quite possibly more painful than taking five-year-old triplets in for their immunizations.

While we were at the store, I realized that dinner was in approximately two hours. And there was no way we could make it to the toy store, for the presents that I had promised the children and get home in time to prepare dinner and bake a cake. So I opted, instead, to let each child get a balloon. Because, why not? It was Charlie's birthday after all and we could use them to decorate the house. Besides, what preschooler / toddler mix doesn't love a balloon?

Sure, preschoolers and toddlers love balloons!!

But you know who really doesn't love them?

The mothers of preschoolers and toddlers. Especially when the children that are holding them are so distracted looking at their balloons floating over their heads, that they walk headlong in to each other, random customers, and a seriously unstable bread display.

(That's not adorable. Not at all even close.)

By the time I grabbed the items that I could recall and made my way to the check out, I had major static electricity buildup all over my head because Henry's latex balloon had been held at my face level for an entire lap around the store. As we're standing in line, the kids are telling everyone around them that they are FIVE YEARS OLD and they just had SIX SHOTS IN THEIR ARMS and today is THEIR FATHER'S BIRTHDAY. And that's when I realized I forgot the cake supplies, which were undoubtedly, the most critical items on my mental list.

So I had to pull my cart out of line and go buy cake supplies. Of course I would have just bought a pre-made cake but there was no one at the bakery counter and my children were starting to dissolve before my very eyes. Henry was screaming his crazy-I-have-no-idea-what-is-plaguing-you-but-PLEASE-GOD-make-it-stop-scream and two of the triplets were pretending to be jaguars and were crawling across the grocery store floor on their hands and knees while the third one had to use the potty NOW.

Once I got back in line, I happened to see on the cake box that I needed eggs. And that's when I remembered that I didn't have eggs. So I pulled the cart out and ran to the dairy section at the far back of the store, while children and their bobbing balloons struggled to keep up with me. As fate would have it, once I got to the dairy section, I couldn't even remember what I was there for and stood staring at the shelves, hoping that one of the items would trigger my memory.

(It took several minutes.)

By the time I got back in line, again, I was breathing hard - covered in sweat - my hair was all over the place and I just sensed that eye makeup was dripping down my face.

As the clerk was ringing up my purchases she asked if I had found everything OK. And that's when I realized that I had also forgotten to purchase crackers. So I told her, "Actually I forgot one item and I'd really appreciate it if someone could just grab me a box of crackers - ANY CRACKERS WILL DO - because if I have to get out of line one more time, I will go ..."

She smiled and said, "Let me guess. Crackers?"

Yeah. But I probably would have thrown a fruity adjective in there.


  1. Well, at least Charlie got a cake! ;) Happy Birthday Charlie!

  2. When our daughter was getting ready to start kindergarten, we sat at dinner one night telling her about all the fun she was going to have. Then her big brother says "Did you tell her about the shots she has to get?" and threw himself on the floor laughing. Not a good time after that as she waited for the dreaded physical day.

    I know you do not have a spare moment in your day but I found that if I took the present with us to the doctor's office, all wrapped up and tempting, it helped get my kids through their shots or other procedures a little more easily. Their excitement at the present tempered their fear a little bit.

    Happy Birthdya to Charlie.

  3. Happy birthday, Charlie!

    -The Halverson Crew

  4. Glad that all the shots went well. And Happy Birthday to Charlie!

  5. Monica - I wouldn't really say that the shots went "well". But at least they are over. And there was cake.

  6. It sounds like Charlie had a very happy birthday. What a great Dad he is, your not to bad either. Keep that family happy, and really treasure that guy. Happy Birthday and many many more!

  7. Wow, this post reminds me of some posts from way back when I first started reading your blog. Glad to to find I am not the only one who forgets things at the grocery store (and I only have two 5 * 8 yr old girls, adopted 16 mos ago). I used to be able to go to the grocery store and remember everything, even if I had a list. Now I even forget things on the list.

    And shots at the Dr.? The 8 yr old when she first came home (at 6) screamed bloody murder when the nurse came in with the shot. Not having had the kids before I didn't suspect this would happen. That then sent a chain reaction in the then 4 yr old who also screamed. When we came out you could see the scares. Next time I took them (this year) I brought Dh with me to keep one in the waiting room. Wow, what an experience it can be.

    Happy birthday to Charlie!


  8. Oh my gosh.. the shots. I had nearly managed to block this from my memory. My daughter would fight so hard that it took multiple people. I finally had to wave the white flag and make my husband take her. She'd start screaming on the WAY to the doctor's office. It was a nightmare!

    Happy birthday to you, Charlie!

  9. In the years ahead, you will look back on this day and wonder How in the World did I ever survive it?

    It will however bring a smile to your face...

    Enjoy the early years!

    Peg O.

    Happy Birthday Charlie

  10. So glad all went well and that Charlie had a nice birthday.

  11. Happy Birthday Charlie.

    And you? Deserve a medal.

  12. Oh sweet Jesus... I can't imagine!

    My children have never cried getting shots. The 6 year old got her six shots without a blink of an eye. She sort of squirmed and wanted me to hold her, but other than that, none of the kids have ever had a real problem.

    Here's what I do: (not that it helps any NOW) We tell them they have a choice. They can get them or they can NOT get them. Of course, they say, "NO." So, we, being the awesome parents we are, Google ALL THE SERIOUS diseases the kids get and make them look at photos of kids with measels and mumps and rubella, and tetanus and EVERY other bad disease out there...and then tell them if they GET this disease, no more school, no more friends, cause they'll LIVE in a hospital. So, 100% of the time, they decide on their own to get the shots.

    We always jump on the internet and get a "prize" though...and my mom used to get us one prize per shot...but she never was imaginative enough to show us the horrible diseases we'd get and let us make our own choice! haha.

    Anyway...glad everyone survived the ordeal...and hope you had a glass of wine afterwards!

    At least you can tell the kids..."you got your shots and then you got your cake and ate it too!"

    P.S. Anivililuk Tuutin Charlie!