Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kindergarten Shots!; Or, How to Get Your Five-Year-Old Vaccinated Without Losing Your Mind

Will is an unusual five-year-old.  At least, that's what his pediatrician kept informing me as she stood there, shaking her head exasperatedly, watching him kick and scream and flail his arms in the examining room.  

"This is really unusual behavior for a five-year-old."

More kicking and flailing.  Louder screaming.  More head-shaking.

"This is really unusual for a five-year old. Really, really unusual."

Okay, yeah, thanks.  I get the idea.  An interesting observation, but not exactly helpful to a six-month-pregnant mom struggling to hang on to a 40 pound kid intent on getting out the door and as far away as possible from the two nurses waiting in the doorway to give him his kindergarten shots.  Was she trying to tell me that most five-year-olds sit calmly smiling as they get stabbed four times in the leg with needles the size of light sabers? (F.Y.I.: That is the needle size as described by Will, who admittedly may be exaggerating somewhat).

Actually the whole thing hadn't started so bad -- Will held my hand and skipped across the parking lot toward the clinic, anticipating the promised incentive (read: bribe) of a treat in the pharmacy if he handled the situation calmly.  I was even waxing a little sentimental, thinking *sniff* how grown-up my little boy was getting.

Next thing I knew I was dragging him through the lobby of the pediatrics office, howling and shrieking (Will, not me -- though I felt like joining in), with the nurses looking at us like they'd like to run for tranquilizer darts.   

The pediatrician couldn't even finish the exam (even with a stethoscope, I'm sure she couldn't hear his heartbeat over his yells) and with more of the aforementioned head-shaking and staring like Will was some kind of bizarre cross-bred animal at the zoo, she escaped and left the poor nurses to the mercy of my screaming hyena/howler monkey.

Well, to make a long story short, less than thirty seconds after being pinned down by two nurses and a mom and stabbed by four (light-saber-sized) needles, Will was sitting teary-eyed but quiet, contentedly investigating the bandaids on his thighs and asking what kind of treats they had in the pharmacy (I didn't see where the nurses went, but I'm guessing they left to see if the pharmacy served any alcoholic beverages).

Unusual behavior?  Maybe.  But not for a five-year-old.  Or a nine-year-old (my sister-in-law just told me about chasing her nine-year-old down a busy highway last November trying to get him in for a flu shot).  Or even a thirty-one-year-old mother of two -- it was all I could do to keep from screaming bloody murder and running down the street when I got my last epidural.

And Will did, in fact, finish the exam.  His dad took him back this morning and swears he didn't make a peep (though he says the doctor and nurses were backing away warily as they walked into the office).

So I guess the moral of this story is, if you're six months pregnant and thinking of taking your five-year-old for his kindergarten immunizations, think again -- and send him with his dad.  Or just invest in a few tranquilizer darts.

Note: Here are a couple of  helpful sites on actually preparing your child for shots ... unfortunately, I found them after the fact.  Of course, I get to go through this all again in about three years, so... let me know if any of it works! 

Pumpkin Soup

An easy soup that my kids love to help me make.  They can help with everything except heating it on the stove.

1 tsp. onion powder
3 T. butter (melted)
1 can unsweetened pumpkin
1 can chicken broth
1 C. half-and-half
1 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 T. brown sugar or honey
1/4 t. yellow curry (if you like curry)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot but not boiling.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

This is a Russian recipe that usually uses "Tvorog" or farmer's cheese.  I can't find any in my area so I just use cottage cheese, and it works fine (though it doesn't taste exactly authentic).  My kids help me mix them up, and I fry them up.

1 C. cottage cheese
2 eggs
3 T. sugar (Jack's favorite part!)
3/4 cup flour
dash of salt

Combine ingredients and drop by spoonfuls into a frying pan coated with oil or cooking spray.  Brown on both sides and serve with butter, jam, or even sour cream on top.

Easy Peach Dessert

Another fun recipe to make with kids -- just toss in ingredients, mix, and stick it in the oven.  

1 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
1 can peach slices
1/4 C. brown sugar

In a baking dish, combine flour, sugar, egg, soda, vanilla, and salt.  Mix in peaches.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes.  Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.