I worked last Wednesday and had Friday off instead. The boys and I packed quite a few activities in during the morning, so that we would be ready to play with Tom and Lykke and the girls who were coming to stay for the weekend. We went off early to the store to get food, and then we headed over to church, to smAll Saints - the babies and toddlers' group that I helped start up about 18 months ago. They meet on Fridays, so unfortunately since I went back to work after Noah, I haven't been able to stay involved, which is a shame. It's a sweet group, where the kids get to ring the church bell, and then there's a story followed by crafts, and - crucially - tea, coffee and biscuits for the parents (and my US-based followers, I'm guessing by "biscuits" you know that I mean "cookies", right?). On Friday I decided to squeeze a trip to smAll Saints in before we had to get the boys some vaccinations at 11:30, and it was really nice - we moved around the church carrying palm crosses and playing instruments, before having some hot cross buns, followed by an Easter egg hunt in the front garden. By the time I realized how quickly time had passed, it was 11:28 and we had to make a pretty quick exit to have any hope of getting to the doctors' office, not "on time", but maybe "not so late that they won't even see us."
It turns out it was 11:45 by the time we made it in, and so only one of the two boys was going to get the jab. When we went into the nurse's office, somewhat rushed and flustered, me apologizing profusely, I could feel the frustration from the nurse at our being late. But I wasn't prepared for her question, which was, "Are you the nanny?" Huh?! "No, I'm their mother," I managed to say, even though I felt the heavy weight of shock's attempt to drag my jaw down. I didn't add, "Most people usually say at least one, if not both of them, look quite a lot like me," or "If I were the nanny, I'd probably have been on time!" Anyway, one possibly positive way of looking at it is that maybe to her I looked very youthful, and not like I'd been ravaged by the worries and aging process that affects many stressed-out mothers. Things didn't get better when she asked for Blake's "Red Book", this very thick set of sheets of carbon copy paper, issued to the baby only moments after birth, which is where important things like weight, vaccinations, and notes on periodic check-up's are recorded for your child. It also has a chart where you can mark the date when each tooth appears - poor Noah...um, I think I know when his first couple of teeth did arrive - but generally his will be noted by the year of arrival as opposed to the month, or even the specific day (Lord, do some mothers have this capability to track these things to the day?! Please give me back this gift, or at least give me the ability not to worry that my lack of documenting this knowledge makes me a bad mother. Lord, did your mother write down when your teeth showed up?).
Going to a child's vaccination without the Red Book is a bit like going to a house party completely empty-handed, without even an attempt to bring even the crappiest bottle of wine that you could find last-minute at the gas station nearby. Or turning up at the airport without your passport. Just not good. So I was obviously not in this woman's good books. But I had been rushed, and I really had wanted to go to the playgroup, and oh, I'm sure I tried to justify it in my head! As we tried to figure out a date to reschedule Noah's vaccinations, she asked me if I worked, and I seemed to gain some glimmer of empathy when I said that yes, I did (and no, not as a nanny!). Part of me desperately wanted to say to her, "I am a good mother!" but what I ended up saying was, "I'm sorry I've wasted your time this morning." I don't know that it helped really, but at least I did say I was sorry.
I find it very hard to believe it's already April, and a quarter of this year has now passed. Where did it go? I want to ask! I do still remember most of my New Year's resolutions, and am doing pretty well with them, but maybe I'll add a new one in about being on time. At any rate, Noah's appointment has been rescheduled to a few weeks away, at the end of a week when I'm not working, so surely we'll be on time. I'll have to make a point to be early even. And on the bright side, at least she didn't ask me if I was their grandmother!