This afternoon Jack had a doctor’s appointment, so we skipped nap time and I loaded up the children and got to the office fifteen minutes early. The kids were very well behaved in the waiting room for half an hour, playing quietly and looking at the other babies and children. When we were ushered into an exam room fifteen minutes past our appointment time, I figured we wouldn’t have long to wait.
We didn’t actually see the doctor until nearly two hours after our appointment time! Meanwhile, I had an hour and twenty minute adventure in a tiny exam room with three small children who had not had naps. I had not thought to bring our own toys or books (usually I at least have some books!) or drinks or snacks or duct tape or plastic explosives. The room contained two chairs, an exam bed with a bunch of dangerous-looking equipment on the shelf underneath, a sink, one magazine, and a biohazard trash can.
Do I need to tell you how difficult it is to keep a two year old who has been up since 5:30 am out of a biohazard trash can for an hour and twenty minutes? I thought not.
Left with only our imaginations, here is how we passed the time:
- We sang every song we know. Including, but not limited to, “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin and “Istanbul not Constantinople” by They Might Be Giants
- We counted everything in the room, including the floor tiles
- We named all the colors of everything we could see
- I spelled every word the kids could come up with
- We pretended to be animals
- We played I Spy with the one dog-eared copy of “Working Mother” magazine
- We played Simon Says
- We took turns amusing the tired and cranky baby
A good time was had by all.
Lesson learned: never, ever, under any circumstances, go ANYWHERE with children without books and toys. You would think I would know that after three and a half years, but clearly I still have a lot to learn!
In case I’m ever stuck in an enclosed, non-child-proof space with kids for any length of time again, do you have other ideas for what to do while waiting?