Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Flu Shot

So, is it better to be the parent who honestly tells her child the truth about everything , including that the day's agenda includes a trip to the Dr. for a flu shot? Or is it better to be the parent that sort of withholds juicy bits of truth in the interest of keeping household peace?

This was my dilemma this week. After 2 weeks of Ava and I coughing up various shades of green stuff (sorry this post will be graphic) I decided that since we will be A) traveling internationally and B) bringing a new germ monger into the house this winter (our darling new baby Olivia) I simply do not want to have to deal with any more creeping crud than absolutely necessary. It is only the beginning of October after all...1 bout of the gasping green goulies is enough in this household per season.

I promptly called the pediatrician for a flu shot. Now my kid is pretty tough, but I don't know any little 3 year old who would happily skip to the Dr. for a shot. Thus the ensuing dilemma..tell her ahead of time and patiently explain what would happen and why. Risk upsetting her with worry about impending needle in arm. Or simply make up something, whisk her into the office lift her little arm and console later. In my head I am hearing my friend offer her suggestion, she never tells her kid anything until it is a completely done deal. She says this helps with the toddler disappointment factor. And then I am also remembering what this book I am reading says about honesty and bonding and unconditional love. Picture the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other both offering advice.

I compromised, or ehh weaseled. I told her we would be going to the Dr. to get her ears checked for wax. (Which I fully intended to do that too.) She said, "What?" See, this is why I need to get the kid's ears checked for wax. Then I quickly added we would also be there for immunizations. "Immuna WHAT", she said. I skirted the issue saying I only want her to be healthy this winter when baby Olivia comes home. What made me think I could fool my 3 year old with a big word?

Off we went and she did indeed take her shot like a trooper with minimal skreeching. To make sure I was following through with my reason for being at the Dr. in the first place I then asked the nurse to check her ears for wax. No Go. Apparently a nurse can inject my daughter with live flu virus but she needs 4 years of medical school, 4 years of residency and $100,000 in education debt to peak in her ears for a little wax. Strange but true. If I want the wax professionally scraped out I will have to book another appt. and I am assuming pay another $15 co-pay.

I gently explain to my newly immunized child that there'll be no ear check today. She seems fine with the fact that she can get the heck out of dodge and scampers tearfully to the door.

When we get in the car she turns that frown around and says, "Hey, my bandaid is sparkly." I guess I fretted about parenting techniques 101 a little too much on this one.

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