You know those moments where you know you're being a little crazy but you can't -- or don't want to -- stop yourself? I had one, recently, in the waiting room of the pediatric ENT. Terza's been having chronic and recurrent ear infections. Like constantly. Basically, as soon as she gets off antibiotics, she gets another ear infection. Since October, it's been non stop. So, finally, we took her to a pediatric ENT, an outstanding one, a superstar. I love this doctor, for many reasons, including but not limited to the following: 1. She has the best bedside manner I have ever witnessed, to both kids and grownups 2. She knows her shit, backwards and forwards. 3. She is extremely glamorous We saw her once and then scheduled a follow-up in a few weeks, and that follow-up is what I reported for one Friday in the not-so-distant past. It turned out to be fortuitous timing because the night before the appointment, Terza got a fever and was up all night crying. I had a strong suspicion she had ANOTHER ear infection (I was right, by the way, and it was a raging, hard-core double doozie). The trouble with seeing such a rockstar doctor is that everyone wants to see her, so when we walkd into the waiting room, ten minutes early for our 11am, the room was mobbed. Every single seat was taken by a parent or a child, ranging in age from little babies who could barely keep their heads up to school-agers. You could hardly walk in the door, the hallway was so jammed with strollers. We squeezed past and a thoughtful parent pulled their toddler off a seat onto their lap so I had a place to sit and read Sandra Boynton to Terza. We read and read and read. We ate Goldfish. We ate Veggie Booty. We drank milk. We looked at magazines. We looked at pictures on my iPhone. We played with other children. We pushed other children. At 11:45, Terza discovered the water cooler. This was an unfortunate discovery, for reasons I hope are obvious (if they are not obvious that means your kid is so impeccably self-regulated, they'd never think to press the Poland Spring lever down for seconds on end, allowing a waterfall to overflow the tray). Once Terza had wasted approximately ten gallons of water, I grabbed her and carried her kicking and screaming back to the mobbed waiting room, where she continued to scream and kick and carry on like a child from an PSA for abstinence. By this point it was almost 12. We'd been waiting for an hour. My toddler was overdue for lunch and for her nap and, oh yeah, she also had a RAGING EAR INFECTION IN BOTH EARS. Not a coincidence, since we were at a pediatric ENT office. So, was she being a shit? Sure. Did she have good reasons? Hell yeah. The first one being that she's 22 months old. So when another doctor - not MY doctor, the rockstar, but another one who shared the office -- walked in and announced to the waiting room at large: "We have a lot of doctors at work here and we really need you to try to keep the noise down," I went a little loco. Not full loco. If I had to measure it, I'd say I was 20% as crazed as I felt. Meaning, I restrained myself quite a bit. Still, I felt the doc deserved a little crazy for being such an asshole. "TOTALLY!!" I chirped with deranged sarcasm, "We will absoLUTEly keep the kids quiet! Because it's SO EASY!" That was crazy enough. But then I also started muttering under my breath and shaking my head, like a genuine wackadoo. "Man keeps me and my sick baby waiting for an hour in his damn waiting room and then tells me we're being too loud." Five minuets later, they called Terza's name and we were seen. It was probably because thepeople in charge overhead my little scene and decided to avoid a riot. So the morale to the story is: when you've been waiting for the doctor for an hour, make a scene. It costs you in public humiliation but it saves you time.
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.