The kids haven't been to a well check in a very long time. Their birthdays are in the fall, so that's when we usually take care of well-checks but in the fall of 2014 we were already taking one of the kids to one, sometimes two, psychiatrist and psychologist appointments every week and also having anxiety attacks of our own every time the school's phone number popped up on our caller ID. It was a stressful time and I frankly wasn't very concerned about who was 80th percentile on the growth chart and who got the last Batman sticker out of the basket.
I still took them for flu shots (EXCEPT FOR LAST YEAR REMEMBER THAT?) and everyone has had all their vaccines on time and they are generally healthy except for the odd broken thumb, broken ankle, broken tooth, bout of unexplained wheezing, or strep infestation.
Also our insurance only allows one well check per child per three-hundred and sixty-five day period, and remembering the EXACT DAY on which they got well checks a year prior just seemed too hard. My friend R who is much more organized than me (MUCH) has figured out a way to manage this particular one of life's little mysteries. I, however, chose to disengage altogether.
I decided to get over the hump and just TAKE THEM ALREADY. This was the year.
I called the office and asked to make well check appointments for four children, preferably all at the same time.
There was a long pause. Then she sighed and asked me their names. When I gave them the kids' names she said "Are you guys still on [name of old street]?"
"Oh, no," I said cheerfully "let me give you our new address.
She put me back on hold. It took ten minutes to change our address.
She returned to the line sounding slightly overwhelmed by the size of my family. But she still had the energy to play a little cat and mouse game I like to call "Just TELL ME WHEN THERE ARE APPOINTMENTS ALREADY."
"So, when does it work for you guys to come in?"
Bearing in mind that I have given her a generous six week window in which to make these appointments happen.
"How about a Wednesday?" I began sensibly, since I don't teach on Wednesdays and the kids get out of school at 1:00.
"Hmm, no, I'm not seeing any Wednesday appointments."
"OK... how about a Friday afternoon?"
"No, I don't see any Fridays either."
"What about Monday mid-morning?"
She responded with irritation, "The doctor ONLY DOES WELL CHECKS ON MONDAY AND THURSDAY AFTERNOONS."
By this point I had been on the phone for twenty five minutes.
Ultimately I was able to negotiate an appointment for Charley on a Monday afternoon, which I promptly forgot about and accidentally skipped, and a group appointment for Wes, James, and Mary for a Monday a week out. That is today.
So I called last week to reschedule Charley's forgotten appointment. After another ten minutes on the phone I scheduled it for a Thursday and proudly emailed Ryan so that he could share in this stunning feat of responsible adulting. He responded "His book project is due that Friday and I think he'll want the morning free to work on it."
I waited a few passive aggressive minutes and then responded "Maybe you could call and reschedule that."
He rescheduled it for this coming Wednesday.
All of this was going to work well, except that I realized last night that I was going to have to pick Charley up from school early on Monday unnecessarily to take him to the doctor with the other kids because I wouldn't be able to swing back by and get him at the usual time. And that he would be missing even more school on Wednesday morning for his rescheduled appointment. AND that I was going to have to pick Mary up from school in the middle of naptime and then take her with me to James's guitar lesson (NOT PART OF THE PLAN).
THIS WAS ALMOST TOO MUCH FOR ME. But I persevered.
Ryan texted me this morning. "Rescheduled appointments again. Boys all going today. M taking C's spot on Wednesday. All scheduled for flu shots too."
THAT, my friends, IS A MAN.
So now today I *only* have to take three kids to the doctor, three kids who all go to the same school, and three kids who are generally predictable and well-behaved in public. Mary will go with Ryan Wednesday morning for her checkup (AND SHOTS) and it is all going to be fine. Except possibly for the sweet young female pediatrician who is in for a WORLD OF QUESTIONS from one of the kids who has MORE PUBERTY QUESTIONS THAN A 7th GRADE GYM COACH.