When the Food Nazi Says, “Let's go for ice cream instead!” Run the Other Way
They've elaborated. The trip did not include an accident with a double-decker bus. I don't remember there being a surgery, or a feeding tube. And no one died, or came back from the dead, as I recall. But sometimes I miss things.
No, there was no accident, no heroic measures, no death, no rebirth.
So why do I feel like I've been through all that?
Let me back up. Declan took a nap yesterday, which is way out of the norm, and awoke fevered and complaining of an upset stomach, a sore throat and sensitive eyes. The first word to go off sizzling in my brain pan was 'strep', so I called the doctor and got an appointment. The minute he heard 'doctor' Declan decided he felt fine. I spent the next five minutes getting kicked in the face as I tried to apply socks to the boy. With 20 minutes until the appointment, a fifteen minute drive, and a hysterical boyo I wasn't sure what to do.
So what pops out of my mouth but, “Let's go for ice cream instead!”
Now, I know my boyos are smarter than that. They aren't two, for heaven's sakes, they're four. But I was desperate. The next five minutes turned into the toddler-edition of Law and Order:
Jack: Will we go to the doctor first?
Dancehall: We'll get ice cream! Get in the car.
Declan: *sniff* At the Doctor's?
Dancehall: Of course not. The doctor doesn't have ice cream. Get in the car.
Jack: Will we go to a restaurant for the ice cream?
Dancehall: Yes, we will. Get in the car.
Jack: Will it be a drive-thru?
Dancehall: Yes. Get in the car.
Declan: Then we'll go to the..the...doctor's?
Dancehall: Um. Do you want chocolate or vanilla?
Declan: Answer me. *sniff*
Dancehall: Get in the car. Now. Ice cream.
Jack: So we are going to the doctor's AREN'T we?
As you can see, I'm not that great with kids. I don't understand how they work. I'm trying to raise little adults here. Jack knows the difference between Bach and Mozart, Declan can tell you that a Madeline is a cookie, a mandolin is a bluegrass instrument, and a mandoline is very sharp. But they are toddlers, and I don't know what to do with toddlers. Especially when they act like toddlers.
So that's why the next part is so disturbing.
As I closed the car door, something came over me, something completely foreign. I had an idea of how I might get them to the doctor's without all the screaming and wailing and gnashing of baby teeth.
Dancehall: You know, Mommy doesn't feel good.
Declan: You don't?
Dancehall: No. My tummy hurts, and so does my throat.
Jack: You should go to the doctor.
Dancehall: Really? Do you think so?
Dancehall: Well. If you're sure. I guess I should go to the doctor.
Declan: But ice cream first?
...another totally foreign transmission entered my brain...
Dancehall: Well, you know, let's swing by the doctor's first and see if he's still open.
Jack: Oh! Yes! He might be closed.
Dancehall: Yes! Exactly! I'd hate to miss him if he closes early.
So I drove to the doc's without another complaint. And as we drove, it just kept going, this foreign line of thinking:
Dancehall: You know, Mommy has no idea how this doctor-visit-thing works.
Declan: Well, they take your shoes off, and they look in your ears–
Jack: And they listen to your heart–
Declan: And you gotta open your mouth, like this–
Dancehall: Oh. Really? I still don't get it. Will you show me when we get there?
So, I was driving along, thinking that when we got to the office I'd give everybody there a big wink, and tell them I was sick, and could they look at me for strep? And I imagined them all winking back, playing along, something they did everyday. And then Declan would 'demonstrate' for his sick mommy how to get his mouth swabbed, and he wouldn't throw a tantrum.
And by God, if that isn't how it all went down.
And by God, if I didn't feel like I'd infiltrated the Mommy Skull and Crossbones Fraternity. Like I'd found a scrap of paper with all the secret codes and handshakes of Good Motherhood and executed them perfectly.
And by God, if I didn't feel like a complete phony. Like Morticia in pink pumps and pearls.
I even figured out how to get the boyos some ice cream afterwards while avoiding rush hour traffic as well as a melty mess.
And I had this weird, dual-feeling in my chest. One feeling of having bested some sort of ordeal, and the other of a panicked, what-the-hell-has-invaded-my-head-and-why-is-it-a-
Plus, the trip proved to be unnecessary. Which is, I suppose, a good thing, considering the alternative was strep throat. He's got a virus, nothing more. If I hadn't overreacted, I could have saved $27.14, and never known this weird, Dr. Doris Day/Ms. Morticia Addams duality I seem to possess.
I'm just a great big faker. And I have no clue as to what I'm doing as a mother.
So now the three of us are sitting here in the basement watching old 80s and 90s music videos on the computer and eating popcorn. And I just realized we've all been eating out of the same bowl.
I feel stupid, and contagious.