14 April 2007

Concessions and ice cream cones

Yesterday was spent running around and doing stuff. We hung out with Sheela and Cecelia (chickpea journal) and then dropped Freya off at work with Steve so I could take Matilda to her doctor's appointment. We have been taking a cautious approach to immunizations, not so much for religious or even moral beliefs as a deeply ingrained skepticism of huge pharmaceutical corporations who want me to shoot my babies up with a Hep B vaccine 12 hours after they are born.

But I am naturally selfish and don't really want to exercise my legal right of being a total pain in the ass and having to deal with people looking at me like I am a child abusing non-conformist freak every single year that my daughter enrolls in school for the rest of her life. Whew. So with kindergarten (and 1st, 2nd, 3rd grades, etc.) on the horizon, shots it is. Matilda was less than thrilled, as you might imagine, and the anticipation was killing her. I spent the car ride talking non-stop about how being scared and doing it anyway is what being brave is all about.

The check-up part went well, and our new doctor is very good about listening to me and soothing my many, many fears and anxieties about the whole immunization issue (which is why we switched to her practice a year ago, but that's another, longer, angrier story). Then she left and told us that the nurse would be in shortly. That's when the anxiety really set in. Matilda curled up in my lap and was looking at me with those humongous eyes that she has. Then she said, "Mom, when Laura throws the log back in the fire she was really brave because she was scared but she did it anyway."

It was a perfect example. We've been reading Little House on the Prairie for about three months (not the whole series, just that one book - a chapter every week or so) and I was pretty thrilled that she made that connection on her own.

During the actual shot, which lasted all of 2 seconds, she screamed bloody murder and clenched every muscle in her body, but as soon as it was over, she was fine. I had made a deal with her in which I would provide ice cream if she was brave, and although I had intended her demonstration of bravery to not include screaming, I held up my end of the bargain anyway. I know, I know, and next time I will be a stone cold bitch and not give in, but I was just so glad that it was over, and really, she was pretty good.

I hate feeling like I'm giving in when I should stand firm. If I told them I was going to do something, I should do it, if I made a deal, I should stick to it. Before I had children I worked in an upscale toy store where I watched parents say no, no no, yes to their children and swore up and down that it was the one thing I would never do when I had my own.

But I didn't take into account that it is always more complicated than it appears to the girl that works at the toy store, or the supermarket checkout clerk, or the girl at Bev's ice cream. There are exceptions, like your daughter figuring out what it means to be brave, and trying really hard to do it, even if she falls a little short, that are worth a concession and an ice cream cone.

1 comment:

Annika said...

Hmm. I think you can be brave and still need to scream a little. And I also think I want some ice cream.