This is a guest article from Denise Goldbeck. Denise and I are leading Personal Parenting at The Haven Feb 28–March 2 (and again in October).
Anatomy of a Parenting Scene
INT. SCENE – DESCRIPTION
Crowded waiting room at a doctor’s office. Some people are making resigned sighs and shifting in their chairs due to the fact that they have been waiting a little too long. There are three health practitioners sharing the space and behind a long, high counter, there is an assistant interacting with the telephone, a computer and patients. At the counter there is a parent with two small children needing to book a follow-up appointment for one of the children.
PAT – A parent (could be mom or dad) with two young children – aged 4 and 20 months
CHRIS – a 4-year-old child (could be boy or girl) – tagging along
MORGAN – an 18-month-old child – (could be boy or girl) needs a follow up appointment
CAREY – a 24-year-old medical assistant (could be female or male) – single – no children
PAT (parent with two small children): I need to make a follow-up for MORGAN. So what are your hours?
CAREY (medical assistant): Well – Of course we are closed on weekends, but Monday is always 8 to 5. Tuesday is 9 to 4 – but then every other Tuesday we go to 6. Wednesday is 11 to 7 and so is Thursday but Friday afternoons we are closed. We take Friday afternoons off.
(MORGAN, 18-month-old child begins by pulling at PAT’s leg. PAT tries to ignore the pull.)
PAT: Uh, what did you say – Monday?
(MORGAN begins pulling PAT’s coat hem to amplify the plea as PAT’s body leans to one side in response.)
CAREY: 8 to 5.
PAT: (Checking wildly about for CHRIS, the 4-year-old, notices with a gasp that CHRIS has discovered the water cooler in the doctor’s office). The days you have evening times…
(MORGAN whimpers, then whines, then adds some stomping, which gains in intensity until it looks like a dance designed to attract demons. Pat beginning to feel a little demonic thinks it might be working.)
PAT: NO! MORGAN!! CHRISsss! Uh … sorry. (It is unclear whether this sorry is intended for Carey, the medical assistant or for the room).