This is Maggie...she's four. Her "best powell" (pal) is her big sister Chloe, whether she admits it or not!--and Chloe is a studious seven and goes to school (willingly...can you imagine?!) And so, Maggie and Mama are left to each other quite an awful lot. Dad's at work, Chloe's at school...life gets dull.
The other morning I was treating myself to the end of a "gripping" novel. (It actually wasn't very gripping...it was, rather, so poorly written that I was hard pressed to keep track of the characters--but, nevertheless, I did want to know who-done-it.) Of course, all of you parents know that the more you'd like to ________ (fill in the blank) the less of a chance you have of getting _________ done. Children smell fear, weakness, embarrassing topics, and a parent's yearning to ________ , as much as they can smell warm cookies or broccoli. It's just a fact. And it's almost creepy, their senses are that fine-tuned. So, I guess Mags smelled me wanting to finish my book. Because it became desperately important that I play with her--specifically, to play "Doctor".
Now, I've been well aware of the thriving veterinary practice/doll hospital here in our home. How could I not be? The countless throngs of stuffed animals and dollies line every viable surface in our living room when the office is open...
I didn't realize they'd opened up the practice to humans as well--beginning last Wednesday, to be precise. But I was feeling well, thank you very much, and had no need of Maggie's services. I didn't want to play Doctor. I wanted to read my book. But here's the thing--
Dick Cheney could learn a lot about torturing prisoners if he just spoke to Maggie Wommack. Seriously. She never touches you, never withholds food or water--you're allowed to use the bathroom (because she just follows you right in)...she has a very humane, very effective, method of torturing her prisoners. She whines. She hints. She sometimes screams. She wails, she gnashes her teeth. She persists. She's relentless. And then? She wins. Almost always. In under five minutes, Maggie could have signed confessions from the most terrible of terrorists.
So fine. I'll play Doctor. But of course, I can't just, you know, go check in and be seen for whatever she's decided ails me (but I can tell you what ails me....Children. That's all that's wrong with me. Specifically, the four year old.) No, no. I can't just relent and get my shot. I have to find her a clip-board. And a pen. And paper, of course. (And at this point, it's very clear that my morning is turning into a depressing version of "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie".)
So we find the clip-board. And the paper. And the pen. (We're about 15 minutes into the whole thing, at this point, between the whining and the finding.) Then Maggie sits on the couch, and I go sit down in my chair...and, since I'm in the "waiting room", I get to read my book. Maggie spends some time talking to other "people" that are in her practice that morning...she seems to be a cross between a receptionist and a clip-board nurse. A receptionurse, if you will. And I must admit--she's a bit more engrossing than my not-very-well-written book.
Not only is Maggie a receptionurse--she's a mean receptionurse. I know you know the kind--brusque and blunt, the brightly colored, whimsical patterned, scrubs belying the cold-hearted malice that glitters in the nurse's eyes...eyes that are slightly shadowed by a mighty lot of bangs sprayed into an unnatural formation on the crown of said receptionurse's noggin. Mean as a baby snake and twice as venomous.... I'm, frankly, a little amazed at Receptionurse Maggie's mean-ness. Our pediatrician's office is great, my neurologist has thee sweetest staff...I'm baffled. When did she meet a nurse like this?
And just a note~~I once "dumped" my favorite OBGYN in the world, because she'd moved to another town and I had to call and get set up as a new patient. I only spoke to the nurse/receptionist on the phone (yes, I'm well aware that they're probably not lumped together that way in title. Just roll with it--I only have "some college")...I never braved an actual face-to-face encounter with that Receptionurse. The lady was so MEAN!!! Like I was some irresponsible girl who went out for a wild weekend and got myself a case of the uterus. Like I'd caught a cervix from using a public restroom without a little tissue donut-shaped seat-cover. Like only women of ill repute have vaginas. I felt like asking if I could just send my cervix over in a taxi so we'd never have to meet--I'd send my $15 co-pay along with my cervix, of course. Or could we just do this annual pap thing over the Internet? Whoops. I digressed, didn't I?
Anywho. Back to last Wednesday. We're 20 minutes into this game of "Doctor"...and mean Maggie is ruling the office with her iron clip-board. And I'm, happily, once again immersed in my not-so-well-written book. Thankfully, the heroine survived the crash--even though I had to go find Maggie's props...what a brave & resilient spirit my heroine has! She didn't die in the ravine while I was away....
Finally, it's my turn.
Maggie the Receptionurse: Wommack? Megan Wommack for Doctor Hottenflooperspoop? (or something along those lines...you work "poop" in whenever you can when you're 4.)
Megan the Patient: (sighs and places un-finished not-so-well-written book on arm of chair, crosses stage L. with resignation) Yes, I'm Megan.
Maggie the Receptionurse: Oh. (looks askance) I'm sorry. We're closed today.
Can a four-year-old really be that passive-aggressive? Did she plan it--and at what point did she begin to plan? When did she decide the practice was closed? Before she called my name? Shortly thereafter, as I walked the less-than-five feet to the couch? I don't know. But Maggie the Receptionurse is wicked mean. And she doesn't even have "some college". I rescheduled. At her convenience.