Yesterday I took my 9 year old son to his pediatrician for an ear infection. G has been a patient there since infancy. The office, called Just So Pediatrics (A reference to R.Kipling’s “Just So Stories”) is colored a light green, like most hospitals and doctors offices. There is framed art from local children and a local children’s art gallery.
And the focus of the room is a giant wooden block with some sort of pulling, pushing, moving, cranking, magnetic puzzle on each sides of its surface.
Since he could stand, this toy has been a favorite of G’s. He immediately would shed his winter clothes and wander over and play with each side, liking the magnets and chains the most.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday, I turned around after checking G in to find him standing right behind me, as children seem to leave no personal space, and when turning around you almost bump into them.
He followed me to some open seats and I picked up a Parenting magazine we scanned together.
A 7 year old boy entered with his grey haired, slightly stressed father. The boy immediately took of his things in the middle of the door, leaving poor dad to pick up the littered items.
The boy instantly gravitated toward the wooden block and started to twist and turn and play.
Across from us sat a teen boy and his mom. The teen looked bored and played with a watch on his wrist.
That’s when it hit me. In between our last pediatric visit, where G had played with the magnets and marble maze side and now, where he sat next to me, G had gone through a huge milestone. He is becoming a pre-teen, he no longer wants to play with toys in waiting rooms or need such a thing to ward off a meltdown.
The nurse called G’s name and he stepped on a scale. G’ has had two huge growth spurts in a row. Now, finally over 60lbs from a 3lb 7oz start, he is doing incredible.
While waiting for the doctor, G spun around on the doctors stool.
He stopped and said to me “You know, I think I want to be this kind of doctor”
“Yeah, a pediatrician.”
G has always had big goals. Wanting to go to college, stating since he was in preschool that he wanted to be a doctor or a scientist.
The doctor comes in and G instantly starts asking questions.
“How do you feel about trampolines?” He starts with as she washes her hands.
It goes on, he brings up vaccines “Why do we get rid of the needles? Why do they go in the red box? Where do you get the needles from? Where do they make them?”
His doctor answers everything clearly, scientifically, and in a way G completely understands. She even drops the historical fact that needles originally were boiled to clean them but that its not worth the risk.
G asks for a giant q-tip and an ear cleaner. She says he can bring them home but is not allowed to stick them in his or anyone else’s ears.
She then shows him the new tool for cleaning ears. Its like a tiny blue lit lightsabre with a scoop on the end. G is envious.
We head on home. Me reflecting on how my tiny little guy became this 53″ 65lb long haired boy in front of me. I toss his hair. G is seriously in need of a trim.
In a few months G turns 10. This feels like a huge milestone. Instead of a big themed party that we do every year (Star wars, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Batman, Doctor Who, Minecraft, and last years Ice Cream Carwash) he just wants to go on a rollercoaster for his birthday.
Just him, me, his grandpa and his two best friends.
There’s this inner battle inside of me, wanting to give him the celebration he wants, and breaking from tradition.
I guess it’s quite silly, as we have never been too traditional, nor are we a traditional family.
Yet every year I try to top myself. I ask G what he wants, what he likes, any ideas or dreams he’s had (again, Ice Cream Carwash) and do everything I can to make it real.
Perhaps this time, this birthday celebration, this milestone, I can relax and just have fun with G and our little family.