For the second July in a row, I have a kiddo with strep. She goes the entire school year without catching anything and gets strep in the summer. The doctor offered us a one-time shot as an alternative to 10 days of antibiotics, to which I immediately answered, “YAAAASSSS!”
The object of the shot — my 9 year-old — did not agree.
And thus began the parenting dance of comforting, threatening, and ultimately: bribing. None of which actually worked. When your kiddo is a 60 lb. tween you have to have her buy-in when she’s going to get a shot. She scoffs at the goofy faces and redirection that worked when she was a toddler getting her routine vaccinations.
The nurse and I became a team against my protesting child. I could feel my new friend getting as frustrated as I was, yet she didn’t let it show. Taking a cue from her I toughened up as well and held my daughter’s hands across her torso and talked to her while the nurse was at her legs. I gave my nurse friend the go-ahead and engaged my child, who was now tense with anxiety and fear, in some inane subject.
“One, two, three,” and Nurse Friend put the needle in my child’s thigh.
“Ow. Ow! Ow, Mommy it hurts! It HURTS!”
Oh, baby girl. You don’t even know hurt yet. But she doesn’t know that.
So I won’t be hard on her for freaking out over one shot. I won’t tell her she needs to act like a “big girl”. I won’t do anything to make her feel bad for being scared. I will remind her that she did it. I will remind her how deep breathing helped calm her. I will celebrate with her as she proclaims she feels better.
And when she tells me, “Mommy, it hurts” I will hug her and smooth her hair and say, “I know, baby.” Because one day she will know real hurt.
And I want her to tell me about it.