She was waxing poetic about Bionicles or something like it. I couldn’t see the title of the book she was reading (again) to her three-year-old in the pediatric ophthalmologist’s office yesterday morning, but I know it had “super strong creatures” and “lots of good guys” in it. Also, some sort of “transformer vehicle.”
She was my hero.
Nobody wanted to be in that waiting room. It was crowded and loud, filled with little kids playing with various toys, bigger kids trying to disappear into the chairs and grown-ups pretending not to watch Madagascar on the TV. (We couldn’t help but chuckle at “All hail the New York Giants,” betraying our feigned disinterest)
There were too many patients for just one doctor, and not enough distractions for the three-year-old with the Bionicle book. But his mom kept on trying.
“How about this book?” she offered cheerily. Her son nodded, and she began to read a book with no plot, just lists of fire engine equipment.
“Fire hose. Hatchet. Look at the fire chief’s car!” she delivered like a QVC saleswoman. Her son cooed. My 10-year-old kept on watching the movie, while I checked my e-mail.
“Don’t you want to read the book?” she asked as her three-year-old patient’s patience began to wear thin. He scooted off her lap and revved up a whine. She didn’t even flinch.
“I know…” she said. “Ten little monkeys jumping on a bed. One jumped up and bumped his head. Momma called the doctor and the doctor said…”
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” her son finished, his whine morphing into a smile.
“Nine little monkeys jumping on a bed,” she continued. And continued. And continued until there were no more monkeys jumping on the bed, and I started wondering where the nurses kept the pain relievers.
My son sighed and asked when his appointment would start. Just then, a nurse called his name. As we got up from our seats and left the waiting area, I heard:
“Ten little monkeys jumping on a bed…” as though it was the very first time she’d said it.