**Note: this is a throwback post written when my sweet Asher was about a year old**
Ahh…once again, it was time for the dreaded well baby check-up exam! I gathered up my toddler and prayed the entire way there that he would not throw a tantrum until we were at least safely tucked away in one of the exam rooms…where no one could match my face up with the gut wrenching screams that would assuredly come out of my surprisingly powerful man baby’s gut!
Lately, he’s been going through this cute little phase where he gets afraid when someone new talks to him. So naturally, when faced with some sweet and unknowing stranger’s smile and greeting, he buries his head into my chest and cries, right? WRONG! Instead, he furrows his brow into the meanest stank face he can muster up and then slaps me right across the face.
As you can imagine, it creates a lot of awkward interactions between those terrifying monster strangers and myself. The obligatory, “Aww” response expected is instead met with a look of shock and suspense (“Is she going to spank him? Time out? Yell? What’s she going to do?”) What they become privy to instead, is a glimpse at my sheer panic face, followed by a beautiful symphony of nervous laughter, and an attempt at comradery…”Can you believe this guy?” pointing at my rotten baby with a look on my face suggesting that we are all in this together…and then inevitably I deflate and run away as fast as I can.
It’s gotten to the point lately to where when I see someone who looks grandmotherly or the sort who is a sucker for children looking over at us invitingly, I feel like my life goes into slow motion…”Noooo…ooooo…ooo!! Whatever you do- DO NOT say hello to my baby!! DO NOT make eye contact! Save yourself! (and my face while you’re at it!)”
So, back to our lovely trip to the Dr’s office. As I said before, I spent the entire car ride over praying that we could blend in at least until we were hidden behind closed doors. The nerve then, of the lady at the check in counter to wish Asher a good morning. Luckily, I was prepared this time and with reflexes of the feline variety, I caught that little ninja palm midair. High five! The crisis was somewhat averted, but not without being met with a couple of puzzled stares from behind the counter. “What can you do?” My face and shoulders said as the crazy conductor inside of my body cued my laughter. I walked away then and began the waiting game…
Outwardly, I ever so calmly sat us both down side by side in two connecting chairs with a smile that said, “Yep, we’re just a normal mom and toddler here for a normal check-up.”
Inwardly, however, went a little something like this, “Hurry! Please! If you know what’s good for everyone here, You WILL call his name quickly! We’ve only got a good 5 minutes left before all chaos breaks loose!”
Outwardly: “Asher, would you like a snack?”
Inwardly: “Why did I ask him that???? Call our names before he dumps this entire thing of crunchies on the floor while bucking like a wild stallion!”
Outwardly: “No no baby, just one…just one. JUST ONE…”
Inwardly: “Call his name! Call his name! Call his naaaaammmmeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“HERE! PRESENT!! That’s us!!” I answered as I furiously gathered our things and followed the nice-looking man down the hallway with my sweetest smile. As soon as those doors shut, I exhaled all of the air I had been holding in, began laughing, and announced to him that this was going to be “such a fun visit!” and it was!
Once we were behind closed doors, Asher demonstrated all of his best moves to the Dr, and it’s always better to see a thing first hand rather than just hearing about it. After introducing himself, he instructed me to hand Asher over to him. He looked him square in the eyes and said, “Because you hit your mom, you are not going to get what you want. I am going to hold you until you calm down.” He looked over at me and told me that it was okay for Asher to cry and that he understood that it was hard to hear my child crying, but that he was going to continue to hold him…upon which I said, “SUCKA!” and ran from the room laughing! Okay, not really, but that’s the way I have been retelling this part of the story for the past couple of days. In reality, I gave him a solemn look of “It will be hard. but I will do my very best,” and then took the much-welcomed break to fill out all of the paper work they had given me.
Because I had avoided this appointment like the plague for so long, I knew that it would end with shots (you know, so that we could avoid things like “the plague”.) The only solace to this inevitability, was the fact that crying and screaming is expected in the “shots” room, so this time we walked in loud and proud!
Mentally and Emotionally exhausted now, I practically threw him down onto that exam table. I was all but ready to stick him myself…until the part came where I had to hold his little hands down. He squirmed for a couple of seconds but then grew momentarily silent as he registered the pain of the needle going in. His eyes darted upwards then to meet mine, and oh that awful look of betrayal that every parent is familiar with; the one that says, “Why are you letting this happen to me?”
Immediately overcome, I found myself burying my mouth into his ear and reassuring him, “Mama’s here baby…mama’s here…it’s for your own good. I promise you that it’s for your own good. It’s almost over. Mama’s here. I love you so much sweet boy,” and of course I meant every word of it as all of the past hour or so’s stress melted away and I sought only to comfort my hurting child.
How many times while instructing my babies have I been rocked by my own words? How many times have I felt the gentle nudge of my heavenly Father as I spoke to my children?
Small children have no concept of disease let alone the necessity to prevent them! From their limited viewpoint, we just brought them to a place, held them down, and allowed a stranger to prick them with a needle! Although they can’t see it, there is a reason. There is a bigger picture that they are not yet privy to. It isn’t just that we enjoy watching our children be painfully injected with poison. Driven by our deeper knowledge and understanding, we know that by exposing their bodies to it, that we are protecting and ultimately preventing them from disease and possible death! In those moments, we are desperate that they will only trust us and pull from the unmistakable knowledge that we love them and would never do anything to hurt them unless it was necessary.
We are desperate for this, but we cannot force it from them…any more than our own heavenly Father can (or will) force it from us…from me.
How many times over the past few years have my own eyes darted upwards, painted with that same expression of shock and betrayal? So distracted by the pricking of the needle and the poison, how many times have my Father’s gentle words of reassurance been lost beneath the sounds of my screams? How He must long for me to pull from His faithful love and trust Him- trust that He has a plan- trust that though from my limited viewpoint this doesn’t make any sense, that He is allowing it to happen for reasons that will ultimately protect me from that which would seek to destroy and kill me!
Slap! Oh, the kind gentleman must have wished Asher good luck, so I guess this means we survived the well-baby checkup after all!
My child has been in this transitional phase for a while now and it isn’t…ideal. Yes, the little guy slaps me when he is afraid and although it hurts my heart and requires a great deal of patience and discipline, he is my child and I love him oh so dearly. I wouldn’t trade this little street fighter for all of the well-behaved toddlers in the world! I believe that God feels like that about each and every one of His children…about me.
He watches me throw my tantrums, lash out at Him when I am afraid, and even doubt His love and plan for my life, and yet, He calls me His beloved. The battle scars that I have gained in this life cannot be so easily fixed by a couple of sweet Transformer band aids. Instead, I have the most wonderful of Physicians who promises to never leave me nor forsake me. Not only that, but He also promises to bind up each and every one of my wounds and saves every single tear that I have ever cried… in a bottle (one ginormous bottle…) because He just loves me THAT much.