This week I decided that I couldn’t put it off any longer. I got my flu shot weeks ago, but I still had not taken the boys in to get theirs. Jacob is easy as he is able to get the mist, but for Peter it is quite the ordeal. Due to his airway complications, he has to have the injection. Unfortunately, Peter and needles have a very long history and an extremely confrontational relationship!
I was sneaky about it this year, which always makes me feel bad. But, telling Peter in advance over the years has not proved beneficial. If he refused to get out of the car when he was little, I was able to carry him into the doctor’s office. Now, however, he’s much too big for me to pick up and also much stronger. Plus, I don’t’ particularly enjoy the prospect of making a scene in the parking lot with potential witnesses. I’m sure no jury would take my side once Peter took the stand!
In my many attempts to help Peter, I have tried every approach you can think of—tough love, sympathy, reasoning, and everything in between. We have also been to a psychiatrist and consulted with Child Life Specialists on ways to cope with this fear.
So, this week, I cowardly took the boys to the pediatrician’s under the cover of needing Jacob’s ear checked. I know Peter was suspicious, and we did talk about how he needed to get a flu shot. But, I was totally noncommittal up until we were actually on the property! Once we got in the exam room, I sprung it on Peter that he should really get a flu shot since we were already there. What pursued was his typical hysteria.
Jacob quickly had his FluMist and was escorted to the waiting room with my iPhone for a session of “Angry Birds.” I regretted that I had not packed ear plugs to give him as well! A nurse and I then spent about 30minutes trying to calm Peter down. We gave him as many options as we could think of, including where he could have the shot (arm or leg) and how he could position himself. She also brought in a “shot blocker” that is supposed to make the injection hurt less. Peter wanted nothing to do with any of it. FINALLY, we made the decision (which is what usually happens) to hold him down and get the deed done. This time, instead of lying down, I told Peter to hug me real tight. As he did, I held his arms down while the nurse gave him the shot in his arm. As I’m hugging and holding him as tight as I can, Peter shouts, “Why does God have to give me all this shit?!” Why indeed?
Once the shot was over, Peter remained in my arms for several minutes. We talked, as we often do, about how life isn’t fair. We talked about how he has to endure a lot more medical tests and surgeries than other kids. And, we talked about how there are a lot of kids that go through much, much more. I told him that I wouldn’t be a very responsible parent if I didn’t make sure he got his flu shot, especially with his medical history. I know Peter is embarrassed after something like this, and I know, like me, he doesn’t understand why he can’t maintain just a little bit of self control.
Before leaving the exam room, I told Peter that I loved him and that none of us understands why God, to use his words, “gives us so much shit.” But, God also gives us the ability to choose how we react to those trials and live our lives. I also mentioned that if I ever heard him use that word again, he would be grounded from video games for a week. As he knows, Mom does not hand out free passes for saying bad words!