The boy knows how to put on the charm
The nurse leaned down and slapped a turtle sticker on my son James' chest. Grinning and pointing at his new gift, his eyes goteven bigger when she handed him a chocolate sucker. The entire doctor's office circled around my little two-year-old, who was clearly working it to his advantage. Batting his blue eyes, he would grin at a few nurses. And they would just melt. "He is the sweetest little thing," one of them said, as I stood at the counter. I couldn't help but wonder if she noticed my hair sticking out of my barrette. Perhaps the whelp on my shin wasn't as bad as I thought. Or maybe the wet spot on my shirt from his tears had dried up. I looked like a wreck and "that sweetest little thing" put me in that state in less than three minutes just moments ago in the doctor's room. This is not the same James, I thought to myself. The same angel who is entertaining the nursing staff was on the verge of a mental breakdown just a few steps down the hall. James and I were at the doctor to get his ears checked. He had tubes put in when he was about a year old, and every six months we return to make sure everything is in order. You know how a dog will tuck his tail between his legs, start shaking and lock it up when he goes to the vet? It's almost as if the animal knows what's in store. That was James yesterday when we walked into the waiting room. As I signed our name on the sheet, he started crying and saying, "No ears, no ears," over and over again. He soon was distracted by a few books. But when his name was called to come to the back, the "no ears" rant started again. Once we were put inside a room to wait for the doctor, he was fine. Playing with toys, he seemed to have forgotten where he was. And then there was the knock. The doctor entered, and James lost it. Burying his face in my chest, he starting bellowing, "no ears, no ears." As the doctor looked into his ears with his tool, we had to literally hold him down. A nurse stuck her head in to see if she could be of assistance. When the doctor tried to look down his throat, James almost took a chunk out of the wooden tongue compressor. I think he even tried to kick his diaper bag over. Everything looked to be in order, and the medical party left the room explaining to me that "they had seen worse." Even after they left, James wanted to show how mad he was. Placing his chin on his shoulder, he pointed at me and said, "no ear." As I gathered up our belongings, he picked up a magazine and threw it on the floor. My hair was messed up from the struggle. My leg had been attacked by aflaring, bulky shoe. And my shirt had James' tears and I can only imagine what else smeared across the collar. Making our way out ofthe room to the check-out counter, I looked as if I was a returning prisoner of war. As soon as the nurses gathered around James,his bad attitude went out the window. He was an angel, a saint, a little piece of heaven. "Ya'll didn't hear him in there, did you," I asked. "Oh, he wasn't bad," one of them said, playing with James' hair. "Momma's telling stories about you, huh?" There is always that moment. That moment when you look like a fibber about your child's outlandish behavior. They seem to know when to put the charm on. That same "charm" quickly wore off in the car on the way home. James threw his toy truck in the floorboard and began to cry constantly for me to retrieve it. There was no way that I was going to attempt to fish around my seat for a toy with cars whipping past me at almost 80- miles an hour. Pulling over on the side of the road, I found the truck and handed it back to him. "My truck," he said, with a grin and flashing his baby blues. I have to admit. The charm usually works on me too.
Jamie Patterson is a
reporter for The Yazoo
Herald. She can be reached
at 746-4911 or by e-mail at