What are you, crazy? Common sense should tell you to make every effort to avoid taking two babies to the Doctor by yourself. But, should your other two children fall ill, thus requiring quarantine and throwing a wrench in your carefully laid plans involving one adult to go with you and one adult to stay with aforementioned older children, proceed with the tips below . . .
1. Dress as you would for an athletic event.
Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Short sleeves are recommended.
It will inevitably be cold in the Dr’s office, but once they pack you, your two children, their car seats, a 10 lb diaper bag, a nurse and a Dr into the closet-sized exam room, it will start to warm up. When both children’s crying reaches a fevered pitch the simultaneous effort of jiggling one in your arms, rocking the other in their seat with your foot, and straining to listen to the Dr’s droning questions and advice will cause even the coolest parent to break into a sweat.
2. Dress your children in one layer of one-piece clothes.
This isn’t the time to pull out the stops with cute three-piece outfits, matching socks, shoes, etc. No one wants to wait for you to wrestle them back into that adorable outfit while they’re screaming after receiving shots in both legs!
3. Bring a blanket for each baby.
You, as a reasonably responsible parent, would never leave your child undressed in a 65 degree room under any circumstances. But the first thing you’ll be asked to do is to strip your child down. You’ll then wait for 15-20 minutes with two near-naked babies. The purpose of this is to prevent the Dr from having to wait the 2 minutes it might take you to undress your child. (Although, in my experience, the 5 or so minutes the Dr usually takes to figure out how to use their newly acquired laptop would be a perfect opportunity to undress baby while avoiding exposure.)
So bring a blanket to wrap your baby in. Even though you’ve been explicitly TOLD to leave your baby undressed you will feel like the worst parent ever sitting there with a tiny freezing infant. Fortunately the stress of this will cause your own body temperature to rise helping to raise the temperature of the aforementioned freezing room.
4. Regardless of your political views, be thankful that the government is now paying the co-pay for your well-visits.
Not spending ten minutes at the check-in window rooting for your wallet which is inevitably at the bottom of your diaper bag will save precious pre-meltdown minutes, as well as money.
5. Strike a balance between “responsible and capable parent of multiples” and “slightly overwhelmed and pitiable parent of twins.”
Casually let it be known that the only reason you dared approach a well-visit single-handed is because your house has been hit by a tsunami of illness, yet you prevailed to make it to the appointment bearing a child in each exhausted arm like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Absorb any pity, praise or help that comes your way in response to your “situation.”
6. Nurse or bottle-feed one baby while the Dr examines the other.
Not because they’re hungry or food solves everything, but because it greatly increases the likelihood that at least one baby will spit up all over the Dr. This can be highly amusing, especially if it happens to directly coincide with one of the Dr’s off-handed comments about how big/small/pale/ or otherwise unattractive your baby’s head/ears/nose, etc. are.
7. NEVER ask unnecessary curious questions.
Throughout the appointment the Dr will repeatedly ask if you have any questions. This is code for, “Can we keep moving along and get this over with as quickly as possible.” BUT, a new parent might accidentally mistake this to mean, “Are you observant enough as a parent to be able to formulate educated questions about your child’s development?” This misinterpretation may lead the parent, in an effort to show their concern and deep knowledge of baby development, to throw out a random question about an issue that you already know isn’t SERIOUS, but none-the-less find interesting.
“So, is his fontanel still supposed to be so big?”
“Is there any reason to worry about that small rashy spot on his neck?”
While such questions may seem harmless when brainstorming with your spouse pre-appointment, actually raising them is a mistake. These questions are like bait for Drs who’re tired and bored from seeing hour after hour of relatively healthy children.
At best, your Doctor will seize onto your question and launch into a five to ten minute explanation of the development of the fontanel from zygot to adolescent while you are frantically trying to calm, soothe, feed, or change two crying babies. In a worst case scenario, the asker of such a question will find themselves carting two healthy, exhausted, crying babies off to one or another lab for extensive blood work, x-rays or “testing” just to “make sure it isn’t anything.”
Trust me, this is a path you don’t want to start down.
8. Try to keep a straight face when the Dr asks you things like, “Do you wipe their gums with a washcloth every day?”
Refrain from responding sarcastically, “Lady, I’m lucky if I brush my own teeth everyday.” Simply nod your head and smile, “Oh yes, the gums, we do that several times a day. We’re very big on infant gum care.”
9. When you finally leave the office with two crying babies, hold your head high
(though your back may be bent from the combined weight of babies, car seats and diaper bag).
Smile graciously at the parents struggling to calm, carry or coax their own children. Accept their looks of wide-eyed wonder at your parental prowess as you use alternating infant seats to bump open heavy doors and waddle with tiny penguin steps to your mini-van.
You and your glowing off-spring have conquered yet another office visit.
10. Schedule your next visit for two to three months from now and begin immediately aligning a support team (and two or three back-up support teams) so that you will never, ever, have to do this by yourself again.