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A new friend

Zippy had to accompany me to my eye exam today. Which made me quite nervous. He's not great at entertaining himself, unless it's by doing something mischievous or dangerous. He's not a bad kid, but he's curious and adventurous -- not often content to sit and play or color alone, preferring instead to climb a bookshelf or jump off beds or plan in the sink. Imagine all the implements and solutions and expensive equipment he could destroy here at the eye doctor!

But today at Dr. Steinbach's office, I was reminded of two things that I've learned with Kid Two that I didn't fully grasp with Kid One: First, it's okay to accept help when it's offered. And second, it's okay if my 2-year-old acts like a 2-year-old in public.

The half-hour we spent there went down like this:

The receptionist and assistant persuade me to leave Zippy with them in the waiting area, convincing me that they "do this all the time." It's a hard sell, because in my head I'm thinking, but you've never met my kid. But I realize that my exam will not go well if I am constantly chasing the kid, and my tenseness and anxiety and frustration when Zippy doesn't listen to me will only make everyone else tense, anxious, and frustrated. So I should just accept their help.

I walk back with her into the first room and lean into the first thingamajiggy eye-measurer device. My eyesight stinks, but my ears have perked up like a mama wolf, listening to any sign of mischief...but nothing. I  sneak a peek before walking  into the second room with the second thingamajiggy eye-camera device, and Zippy's just sitting there staring at "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" like he's never seen that magical light-and-talk box before.

"You don't let him watch much TV, huh? I can tell," says the doc's assistant as she leads me away from my babe. "Mm-hmm," I nod, thinking if she only knew how much TV he watches, she'd gasp in horror and slap me.

Within 2 seconds of settling into the real exam room, waiting for the annual personal failure that is my eye test, I hear Zippy's little feet padding down the hallway:

Zip: Mooommmeee? I right here, Mommy! Where you go?
Me: I'm here, buddy, come on in and sit down next to me. Watch the letters on the wall.
Zip: No, mommy, I make friend.
Me: Oh, yeah? A new friend? Ellen is a nice lady.
Zip: Not lay-deeee. Friend! Read a book! See? Hi-ee, my friend!

I look up, and there's a tall gray-haired man in the exam room door. He smiles sheepishly and says, "Hi, I'm James. Your little guy just climbed up on my lap and handed me a book. So we've been reading together. I hope that's okay with you."

Squinting through my eye-droppy, over-dilated eyes, I watch speechlessly as Zippy calmly walk over and puts his hand in this stranger's hand. I see a certain sadness in James's eyes, but a warmth and delight in being chosen by my son. "Bye, mommy. We readin' books." And he leads James away, but not before James turns to me and says, "Your little boy is a delight, and you should be proud. You're blessed."

Yes, James, I am. And evidently, so are you. "Thank you, James," I smile. "Thanks so very much."

I lean back and the doctor comes in. "See?" she says. "He's a beautiful kid. You're a good mommy. And you're both making James so happy."

Okie dokie, then. Zippy picked a friend, the friend likes Zippy. Now relax, accept and soak in this moment of grace, and read the tiny letters on the wall.


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