No school today, so Mom and Dad took the day off. Well, sort of - telecommuting is our shared middle name, so neither of us were completely unproductive. While Spouse got some documents out for a client, I took the kids to the Museum of Science and History, where we looked at exactly zero exhibits. See, Mom was on a mission - Groupon for Christmas cards was set to expire, necessitating a quick photography shoot. The wardrobe: the boys' backstroke and butterfly hoodie sweatshirts, which happen to be red and green, respectively. I decided that we needed a bright blue backdrop, to simulate water. The Museum happens to have a very striking cobalt blue wall - it even has a water feature. Of course, I ended up selecting the photo that Big Kid insisted I take against a vine-covered wall around the corner from the Big Blue Wall as the main image, defeating the whole "water wall" concept - but one of the Big Blue Wall photos is going to be on the back of the card:
It's kind of become a thing: if we are lucky enough to snap a posed pic, one of the outtakes ends up on the back. Or, some years, all we get is outtakes, in which event I collage 'em and call 'em like I see 'em: hence, one of my favorite holiday cards (I believe Big Kid was seven and Little Kid was two), which bore the message, "Our attempt at a holiday card. Next on the agenda: herding cats and nailing Jello to a tree. Merry Christmas."
Anyway, total elapsed time at the Museum: twenty two minutes. We had planned on eating in the Museum cafe, but for some reason, hot food service was closed, and the kids weren't feeling takeout cold sandwiches. So Mom allowed herself to be talked into separate trips to Sonic and McDonald's before cruising by the casa to pick up Dad. Destination: Doctor Young's office. The newly minted eight year-old was due for a well-child exam, and the Big Kid needed his second HPV vaccination. (Yes, we have explained to him - in round terms - what the HPV vaccine is for. Can I tell you how much easier life is after you have had "The Talk"? Now, when the occasion arises where we need to veto an excursion to a sketchy locale, or deny participation in an online chat-type environment, we can explain ourselves with one word - "PEDOPHILES" - instead of mumbling vague stuff about strangers who like to kidnap kids because - um - they don't have kids of their own, and really don't want to bother with the adoption process? Yeah, that's it.)
Sonic and McDonald's constituted the pre-needle-stick parental bribery phase. (What the heck? It wasn't like he was going to test them for cholesterol or anything.) The post-needle-stick parental bribery phase consisted of a trip to the mall, where Vans footwear was procured: black denim lace-ups for Big Kid, slip-ons that looked like sharks for Little Kid. They were only mildly scandalized (more perplexed) to learn that Mom and Dad used to wear Vans (the checkered kind) back when Vans were new. Little Kid also acquired a wristwatch from Gap Kids - and is now annoying everyone by providing them with unwanted time checks. ("Okay, you got in line at 5:50, and we finished checking out at 5:54. That's four minutes, Mom. And now it's 5:55 - wait, no, 5:56.")
But I'm skipping over the best part: the doctor visit.
I have to give a shout-out to Dr. Young's nurses, who have been looking over my guys since birth, and who are endlessly patient and indulge the variety show that is C and P at the doctor's office.
C: When you are finished measuring my brother, can you measure me and then measure my mom? Because I think I have grown an inch since I was in here for my well child exam in August. And I want to establish once and for all exactly how tall Mom is, because I really do think we're the same height. [The verdict: Mom's 5' 2 3/4" he's 5' 1 1/4". An inch and a half to go.]
P: I want to know how much I weigh. Because I'm thinking 58, maybe 59 pounds.
Nurse: Well, let's see - yup, you're 58 pounds.
P: YES. BOOYAH!
Then we proceeded to the questionnaire.
Nurse: Is P active? Does he play sports?
P [interrupting his mother]: I play soccer, and I'm on swim team. I'm planning on diving next year. I'm pretty darn good in basketball. I am GREAT at art. Seriously. And I'm on Stu Co. You know, like Student Council? And I can do THIS. [Assumes the fifth ballet position. Kid's got sick turnout. Kinda wish he'd let me enroll him in a ballet class, just for grins and giggles.] I can actually turn this foot ALL OF THE WAY AROUND so that it points backwards. [True story.] And look at what I can do with my elbows [Hyper-extends those suckers.]
I finally managed to get a word in edgewise, as did the nurse. We progressed to the stuff about drug interactions.
Nurse: No known allergies to medicine for either of them?
C [without looking up from my Blackberry, which he was using to play 'Brick Breaker']: Gardisil vaccine. I'm HORRIBLY allergic. Particularly to the second vaccine in the series. I might stop breathing.
Nurse: Nice try.
Then she lowered the boom: C was getting injected, but P was not. This devastated the Big Kid, who had endured his brother's taunts en route of "Ha, ha, you have to get a shot" secure in the knowledge that the Little Kid would be getting a flu shot, just as C had gotten one during his well child exam. The phrase, "I KNOW SOMETHING YOU DON'T KNOW" was thrown at Little Kid's head more than once on the car ride over. Except - Dr. Young's nurse was offering the Little Kid FluMist instead of a shot.
C: NUH-UH. NOT FAIR. I got a shot, HE gets a shot. Mom, lifetime, how many times have I gotten a shot, compared to him?
Me: Apples and oranges. You're older, and you have had more boosters.
C: Okay, but I'm SURE that by the time I was eight I had been stuck with more needles than he has.
Me: Wrong. He got allergy tested, you didn't.
P: Yup, I'M WINNING. Take your shot, C. TAKE IT LIKE A MAN.
Dad took Big Kid out of the room while Dr. Young conducted his exam. Dr. Young also got to see fifth position, and the twisted foot thing, and the hyperextended elbows. And then he got schooled when he asked P to "breathe in and out."
P: Um, shouldn't you be telling me to inhale and exhale? Because those are the technical terms.
In the end, Little Kid did get stuck with a needle - finger prick to check his iron levels. His reaction was, based on the nurse's answering reaction, somewhat unique:
P: Hey! Why did you do that? Look! I'm bleeding - a lot. See, if I squeeze my finger - blood. Lots of blood. Look, if I squeeze it REALLY hard, it REALLY bleeds. See? Now it's gushing. What are you going to do about THAT?
Nurse: Um, ask you to stop squeezing your finger? SERIOUSLY - STOP THAT!
[I had to explain to him that it wasn't a matter of squeezing until the blood stopped coming out, because he had a pretty limitless supply. He finally quit touchingit, and allowed it to start scabbing over, but the nurse looked pretty wiped - as she discarded multiple blood-soaked paper towels in the biohazard bin.]
At some point during our mall excursion, the Big Kid asked what his iron levels were at his well child exam, and for the next five minutes I listened to my children argue over who had the better quality blood. Proving that brothers literally will try to one-up each other over ANYTHING.
I love being a Boy Mom . . . .