You know when you have those A-HA! moments? Those moments when you stop and think, Wait a minute. I did just something good right there. I've gotta remember that!
Well, they don't happen a ton, but when they do, I tend to take notice.
I've learned that I can get my boys to do just about anything if I'm completely upfront and honest with them.
I've always tried to be honest with my kids, when I can. If they're going to get a shot at their 3-year-old well visit, I tell them. It makes it a lot easier in the long run. So maybe it's just what they're used to. But when all three woke up with pink eye on Sunday morning, I knew it would involve a 'dreaded' visit to the doctor. Well, I wasn't positive it was pink eye, but when I consulted my reliable sources on WebMD, I knew that had to be the case! I didn't think the pediatrician would be open, so we planned on going to Immediate Care. We changed our outfits from Sunday Formal to Saturday Comfortable and piled the kids in the van. On the way, I explained what I knew about our current situation.
"We have to go to a new doctor's office today to get some medicine for our eyes."
"But I'm not sick," Ben said. Yeah, right. His eyes were the reddest of the bunch.
"Well, the doctor wants to look at your eyes anyway. We may need some medicine to help us all get healthy again."
We exchanged a few more questions and answers before having to say, "I know you don't want to go, but sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do." I'm finding many occasions where that's appropriate lately. They don't like it, but they have to learn that's part of life. I'd rather them have a fit in the car than in the doctor's office.
A few minutes into our carride and I took my sister's advice to call the pediatrician - I hadn't realized they were open! Plans changed. She was calling in a prescription for us, over the phone! Oh, how lovely. We were all grateful not to have to drag all three kids into the pediatrician if we didn't have to. We changed our course to pick up the antibiotics at our grocery store. Eye drops. For all three kids. Which would need to be administered three times a day.
Oh, Lordy. Eye drops. How am I going to explain this one?
I explained that we would no longer be going to see the doctor, but that I'd be picking up some medicine instead. "Our medicine is eye drops," I told them. "It will help our eyes feel better. It will be like I'm splashing your eyes with water and I'll have to do it a lot of times."
They were, obviously, a little unsure of this new method and immediately threw a fit. I kept calm and emphasized our goal: being healthy. They asked a lot more questions until they were a little more comfortable. Then they were fine. We were barely out of the car and the boys were BEGGING to have their first eye drops 'splashed' into their eyes! Oh, the tumultuous life of a three year old little boy. Or two.
Now, I've never done this before. I knew I wouldn't like it. I've never had glasses (much less contacts,) but the thought of me - or other people - poking around my eyes makes me sick to my stomach. So I had to suck it up and just do it. Another part of life where it kinda stinks being the adult.
Knowing my boys, I let them gain some kind of control. I let them choose whether they wanted to stand or sit on my lap. Which eye was first. If they wanted to cover the other eye or not. And they were the ones to tell me "GO!"
I've gotta be honest. It was not the devastating situation I had imagined. They flinched, but they took their medicine so much better than I would have. Not even twenty four hours later, we were able to be excited together to see how much their condition had improved. "The medicine is working! The medicine is working!" we all jumped around the kitchen this morning. It was so rewarding to actually SEE their virus improving. Their 'hard work' had begun to pay off.
I know I sorta came the long way in explaining my point, so I'll say it again. My boys like knowing what to expect. They don't like surprises. I tell them what they need to know before it's staring them back in the face. Because I'd rather have a little time to answer questions and relieve their nerves than get to the doctor's office when that huge needle is aimed at their bloodstream and it takes a fleet of nurses to hold them down. There's no time to explain then.
I believe this helps nurture trust.
I want my boys to know that I can be relied on. Trusted. Counted on. That if they ask me a question, I will do my best to answer it. That I won't spring something on them the last minute in an effort to catch them off guard. Because I want them to be as emotionally and physically prepared as possible. It's for this reason that I try not to tell them if someone is coming over for a playdate until a few minutes before when I know they're on their way. As much as disappointment is a part of life, I try and limit the number of disappointments I have to explain. That's just me.
As always, you know your child best. Some of your kids are better off not knowing they're going to get a pint of blood drawn a half-hour ahead of time because their nerves kick into high gear and make them nervous beyond functionality. This is just something I've learned about my kids.
Now, if we can get everyone healthy again, then perhaps I can start reading about how to get my sweet baby to sleep through the night. Because sleep would just be a DREAM now. Literally. Or figuratively. Or... whatever. You know what I mean.
I want sleep.