We just finished up 4 doctor appointments in 3 days. I don’t know why I do this to myself, but we always seems to have back-to-back-to-back doctor appointments.
The boys have turned into pros at going to the doctor’s. Lately I have been getting a babysitter for my eye appointments because I just cannot imagine Meghan doing well when they darken the room to check my eyes with that tiny bright light.
Ben has recently begged to go along (there are two turtles in the waiting room named Iris and Seymour that he likes to check out) and I’m happy to take him and leave at least two kids at home. Luke would rather stay and talk the babysitter’s ear off.
I always bring along my usual “bag of tricks”, which has dwindled to pretty much a coloring book and a sheet of stickers, possibly snacks and one or two small toys that the boys pick out, like a matchbox car.
We have a few games that have turned doctor’s visits into choice outings for the boys (believe it or not).
In the waiting room, the boys pick out any available magazine for the first game. For each page, I ask them questions in turn. For Benjamin, the questions are simple. Find the dog. What color is the shirt on the man? Find the letter A. For Luke, the questions ratchet up a notch. Find the dog that is bigger than the boy. Count the number of people with blue eyes.
If we’re still in the waiting room after a few magazines, we play the walking game. I give them explicit walking routes to follow. Again, Ben has simple routes. Touch a chair, then touch the far wall and come back to me. Luke has more complex routes. Touch one arm on the farthest chair, touch the knob on the drawer closest to me, then stand behind the biggest chair. They love this game and it’s obviously useful when you have horrendous wait times. Little kids need to move.
Once we’re in the patient room, they go through their coloring book and sticker page while the doctor assesses whoever the patient is. They’ve learned that if they sit quietly throughout the entire process, even the most cantankerous doctor generally addresses them at the end and they have an opportunity to ask a question. They live for that conversation. Ben usually tells the doctor something completely random, and Luke asks an observant question.
So far, Meghan has done a great job waiting at the doctor’s as well. One and a half hours in the waiting room at an appointment for Luke last week, and she was satisfied with her bag of tricks (baby toys and teethers) and one nursing session. Meanwhile, Ben was satisfied with covering his whole body with stickers.
The best trick of all? One babysitter for all three kids.