Miles starts school this month. I haven’t written too much about it, save for a post about his desire for a Toy Story backpack, partially because writing about it means thinking about it and thinking about it means admitting that he is growing up and will one day soon be going away to college. And then partially because I’m not really sure to say about it and I feel like I should be able to write a post that will make everyone cry.
But I’m writing about it today because I want to ask you for advice. Yes, you. You right there, in the pajamas! Or maybe you, hiding your computer screen from your boss. You.
We had to make several doctors’ appointments for Miles before he starts at his 3 half-days a week preschool this fall, all of those school entry exams — a vision exam, a dental exam, and an exam/physical from his pediatrician. He had his vision exam with his regular ophthalmologist a few months ago and the other two appointments are scheduled. He goes to see the dentist later this month and the pediatrician is scheduled for next week.
Now those of you with older kids or kids this age (4) might already see where I’m going here. You know that there’s a certain something that happens at the four-year-old well child exam that parents dread. Moms and Dads tiptoe around the delicate subject while the kids are generally oblivious to what awaits them. We know it’s important and necessary but whyyyyyyyyyyyy? Whyyyyyyyy would science force me to deal with this and my increasingly whiny and dramatic child?? Why now??
Yeah. The shots. The shots are coming and I’m not sure how to handle it.
Before I go any further, I’m just going to throw this out there…*deep breath* Please fortheloveofallthatisbrightandbeautiful do NOT make this a vaccine debate. (And if you’re new to the Internet, yes people actually engage in CAPS LOCK BATTLE ROYALES over whether or not to vaccinate one’s children. But not here, my friends.)
The way I see it, there are basically two ways I can deal with this upcoming nightmare appointment. I can A) Ignore reality and just let it happen, pretend I’m just as surprised as he is that two or three nurses are charging the exam room to stab him with needles, or B) Gently inform him about the shots, perhaps show some selections of PBS Kids shows that might help him understand or might backfire and cause before-the-fact screaming on Tuesday. I’ve had the vaccine dread before, when the boys were babies and were so tiny and helpless. But now? I have to think about kicking, flailing, murderous threats, weeping and gnashing of teeth! Oh my…hold me.
I think it’s timely that I share the way this all went down when I was preparing for Kindergarten. I had never been to preschool and when we went to Kindergarten Registration, it seems I overheard (Oh let’s be honest, I was eavesdropping) my Kindergarten teacher informing my mother that I would need to get vaccines before I could attend school. Apparently I took this to mean they would be administering the shots right then and started crying. It turns out it might have been best to give the shots right then, because I think my anxiety was pretty high until The Day Of The Shots. My mom took me to the health department, a building neither she nor I had been to before, and though she doesn’t recall this, she was so nervous and flustered about the shots, she missed the health department entry at least twice before parking and going in for my appointment. I’m sure I was a screaming brat about the whole shot thing but the good news is that I’ve made a full recovery…from the crying anyway, I’m still a brat.
So here’s where I ask for your help: How would you handle the shot situation? How did you do it with your 4-5 year old and how did it go?