June 21, 2012

Stab Me: A Jab With A Twist

My four year old was jumping around like the Energizer Bunny.
“Next week I’m going to get my im-moon-eye-zisha!” she told her sister gleefully. “It’s going to be so excited!”
“Excited?” my eleven year old asked, and turned to me in concern. “Um... Mum? Does Boo actually know what an immunisation is?”
I nodded. “Oh totally. I told her she was getting medicine put in her arm. She knows. She’s fine with it.”
My daughter looked doubtful. “Um... Boo?” she asked her little sister. “Do you know how the medicine gets into your arm?”
Boo danced towards her. “They rub it in?”
“MUM!” The eleven year old looked at me accusingly. I winced in shame and slunk sheepishly away.
I couldn’t tell my baby the truth about her session of pain immunisation. Boo considers Going To The Doctor to be one of life’s most agreeable activities and I couldn’t burst her naive little bubble. As she’s been beautifully healthy for most of her life, her experience with medicos has been limited to all of the fun stuff – things like eye tests and ear tests and playing with stethoscopes. She sits in the chair, grins from ear to ear as she is pronounced the most well child in history, and then gobbles down the jelly snakes offered for ‘being so brave’. She thinks doctors are her playmates, only tall.

And now one of these playmates was going to jab her in the arm. Both arms, to be precise. The trauma would be immense.
Still, perhaps my daughter was right. Perhaps the trauma of being betrayed by her mother would be worse than the pain inflicted by the needle itself.
I had to fess up.
The night before the surgery immunisation, I sat Boo down on a chair.
“You know how you’re going for your immunisation tomorrow?” I asked her gently.
“Yes!” she cried, then bounced up and down and clapped her hands. “I can’t wait! I LOVE im-moon-eye-zisha!”
I felt sick. “Darling,” I said. “I have to tell you – the immunisation is going to hurt a little bit.”
Her eyes widened.
“Not a lot!” I added quickly. “Just a bit. A tiny bit! And then you can have a treat. A BIG treat!”
“Okay Mummy,” she said in a tiny voice. My big, brave, scared girl.
The next morning, I felt sick with dread as I led my baby into the doctor’s surgery. Boo, however, didn’t seem to share my concerns. She grinned as we chatted to the doctor, grinned as she climbed on my lap, and grinned as the torture device injection was prepared.
Okay, so this wasn't the exact needle used....

And then it was time for the moment of truth.
“Here you go, quick sting,” said the doctor, and in plunged the needle. I tensed and shut my eyes. Boo opened her mouth and screamed.
And then I relaxed and opened my eyes. Because Boo hadn’t actually screamed. She’d definitely made a sound, but it wasn’t at all the sound I’d expected. As the needle left her arm Boo giggled. The child GIGGLED. And she giggled through the next needle too.
It was unbelievable. My daughter had proven herself to be the Bravest Girl in the World. She munched happily on her snake and that was the end.
I, however, am still shaking. Thank goodness she is my youngest, because I couldn’t go through that trauma again.

18 comments:

  1. Wow! Bring on the giggles. That's great!

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  2. OMG she is a Legend. My five year old boy has to go in for the noodle chop next week (circumcision). I figured i'd tell him on the way, but I have a bag full of new toys to appease my guilt....I mean distract him. xx

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  3. my 2nd eldest was the same, she still giggles whenever she is hurt - I don't get it!

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  4. I took my four year old in May. Totally dreading it. She was so bouncy and happy before (I didn't have your courage to tell her before the time what was going to happen). She cried her little eyes out, but sat still and then gave the death glare to the doctor after it was done. She would not accept a sticker, a lolly - nothing. She wouldn't talk to him afterwards.
    We live in a small town and even now, she glares at him if she sees him. I think she's broken his heart :)

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  5. I took my four year old in May. Totally dreading it. She was so bouncy and happy before (I didn't have your courage to tell her before the time what was going to happen). She cried her little eyes out, but sat still and then gave the death glare to the doctor after it was done. She would not accept a sticker, a lolly - nothing. She wouldn't talk to him afterwards.
    We live in a small town and even now, she glares at him if she sees him. I think she's broken his heart :)

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  6. i take mine to the local immunisation clinic so i don't have to deal with a child who hates the doctor afterwards … and they are fast, efficient, can often give both needles at the same time AND hand out jelly snakes.


    and WOW, Boo … have you checked that child has a pain response? xt

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  7. Ha- Noodle Chop. What Kerri said!

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  8. We did this last year at one of the regular Council Four Year Old Immunisation 'parties'. There are roaming entertainers for those waiting and treat boxes with helium balloons attached for the victorious. All went ok, until a random, post-traumatic-stress outburst of tears a fortnight later. "Mummy- you SAID it wasn't going to be awful!! *sooooooob*" :( Just when I thought I'd gotten through that one, Mummy guilt took hold and sent me straight to the supermarket for some dreaded rainbow icecream.

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  9. I took my boys on Tuesday. W said 'ouch' for the first jab, then nothing at all for the second. E on the other hand had tears burst from his eyes like a cartoon character after the first one, had to be restrained for the second one and cried for an hour afterwards.


    Thank god they don't have any more until they're 15.

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  10. Wow,she's braver than me! I had to have a blood test the other day and nearly fainted. I am quite pathetic. My 8 yr old had to have blood tests every few months from birth until 2 years old for a thyroid problem, which thankfully corrected itself, and he was braver than me too. Not to the point of giggling though. That's amazing. Or nuts lol

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  11. City of Glen Eira. They hold them at the Health Centres on rotation, send out calendars and its a big fuss. I even took photos of Missy with the balloonologists and facepainters.

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  12. Wow! Glad it's over - for both of you (for now anyway... am sure there are more to come?) It reminded me of this though - I read on a site called Zen Habits! http://zenhabits.net/infuse-play/ Deb

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  13. When my girl was little I was so anxious about the dreaded needle I would take her beforehand to the two dollar shop and she could pick something she could have after the event.She was able to sit with it on her lap while the terrible deed was done and then she would unwrap it or take out of its bag with a big smile on her face.Mean while I had made myself sick with worry.Chocolate shared by the two of us usually made everything better.xx

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  14. http://goo.gl/uWRET

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  15. With three down, I have one more child to get through, and I can tell you I am getting braver with each each child! The children you ask? Oh, they are totally fine, hardly made any long lasting traumatic impression (so far anyway) me?? Oh, I need a good cup of tea and a lie down........... or perhaps something a little stronger!

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