This morning Anna and Lily woke up at the typical crack of dawn, but Mary slept in until 8:30. I was inwardly optimistic. All of my kids are horrible sleepers until about a year old, and then, consistently, they start working out sleeping through the night and I get a little more sane. So, I thought, maybe this was indicative of the next pattern.
So around age five, they'll stop waking up with the chickens, I thought to myself.
Mary might not have woken up with the chickens, but she did wake up with an incredibly red, sore throat, no desire to eat, and claims of dizziness whenever she stood up or walked.
Right. My kids only consistently sleep in when they are sick. How could I have forgotten?
So I settled her on the couch with a popsicle (the only thing I could get her to agree to eat after she tried a bite of her cereal and pretty much burst into tears) and got her a doctor's appointment. I knew she was really sick when I stopped for a coffee on the way out of town and bought her and Anna a donut hole each, which she refused and gave to a grinning Anna.
"My tongue hurts," Anna announced around her donut. "Let's go to my doctor instead."
"Today Mary is seeing the doctor," I said, not bothering to point out Anna's doctor is the same person as Mary's doctor, who is the same person as - you guessed it - Lily's doctor.
"Okay," she said. "We can play with the horses in the red room-" referencing the toys that are in the exam room we used when Lily had her last well baby visit. How she can remember that but will cheerfully tell her father we did nothing but sit home and watch TV all day (regardless of actual events) is beyond me.
We walked into the office with minimal stress (Anna only tried to bolt back into the parking lot once).
"Hello," the receptionist said, greeting me by name.
"Typhoid Mary is here for her visit," I said, sliding my credit card across the desk for the copay. She laughed. I instructed Mary to stay far away from the new baby who was also in the waiting room. She complied without argument, further convincing me of her illness.
One $10 co pay, one sobbing throat culture and exorcism-like screaming exam (involving the traumatic use of a flashlight to look at her throat and ears) later, I was instructed to take Mary home, give her some kids' Motrin if she got feverish and keep her fluids up.
Still sobbing over her recent ordeal, Mary made her way back through the waiting room. I carried Lily, who was making eyes at the physician's assistant, and convinced Anna, somehow, that she did not need an exam of her own, that we could play with the horses again another time, and that we really, really, had to leave. Now. Please.
"Anna, now. Let's go, Anna. Okay, goodbye, Anna, see you later."
"WAIT! I COMING!"
And so Mary the Weeping, Lily the Flirt, Anna the Loud and Mommy the Masochist made their way back home, where Miss Mary proceeded to sleep for the rest of the afternoon.
Here's where I become a horrible mother.
I hate that she feels lousy, I really do.
But today? It was quiet. There was no fighting whatsoever, no arguments over toys or popsicle colors or water cups. It was the easiest day I've had all month.