05 May 2008

Freya Goes Boldly Where Most Children Dare Not Tread (and with good reason)

I have issues with immunizations. Yes, I'm one of those freaks, I'm just going to put it out there before I tell this story because, well, because it's a big part of it. Matilda had a tetanus shot when she was three, and the rest of her shots when she was five, leading into kindergarten. Freya hadn't had any yet (until today). I'm not totally opposed to them, I know that immunizations have saved thousands of lives, I'm not unaware of the risks of choosing not to immunize my children, it's just that the idea that something could go wrong freaked me out.

Specifically that something could go wrong when they were so little I'd never be sure what caused it - I mean, they want to give every baby a Hep B shot 12 hours after birth, hello, my kid's not using the hard drugs yet, it just got here! What if my child was diagnosed as autistic at age two and had been getting shots since she was born? How would I ever be able to know if autism was just part of who she was, or if it was caused by something I gave her?

It wasn't something I took lightly, I did a lot of reading, but Steve and I both agreed that the way to go was just to hold off - we'll immunize, we said, just not yet. Give them a chance to become strong first, then we'll shoot 'em up.

Cut to Today
Matilda's been complaining that her ear hurts off and on for about five days. Neither of my children have ever had an ear infection, but after five days of complaining, I decided it was time to drag her to the doctor's office. I gave her the day off of school and she and Freya and I drove over to the doctor after lunch.

In the car Freya said, "I want to get a shot."

This is something she has been saying for a while now. I've been thinking the same thing, so I assured her that I'd see what I could do.

In the waiting room the girls busied themselves with Barbie books until Matilda's name was called.

Matilda looked at me, not wanting to go in, but closed her book and stood.

Meanwhile, Freya dropped what she was doing and ran up to the nurse. In a loud, clear voice she said, "I want a shot."

Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at us. The receptionist practically vaulted over her desk to get a look at my crazy kid. "Did she really just say that?" she exclaimed, "That's definitely a first!"

As we followed the nurse down the hall - Matilda reluctantly, Freya with eager anticipation - I could hear them already telling the story of the little girl who wanted a shot, to whoever had missed it.

In the patient room we waited, read more books, waited. Then the doctor arrived.

"I want a shot," Freya said firmly.

The doctor looked a little taken aback, "Well," she said, "I think I should just take a look at your ear first."

I explained that there was nothing wrong with her, that actually her sister was the reason we were there, and after she looked at Til and told me what to do for her, we moved on to Freya.

Freya was very clear about what she wanted. "I want a shot." She wanted a shot. And since I had been thinking about getting her started, we decided there was really no reason to wait.

The nurse came in and she sat on my lap, still completely convinced that this was what she wanted.

I don't know what she expected (after all, she had come with Matilda for plenty of her shots) but whatever it was, the reality of getting shots was all wrong.

Man, was she pissed! She screamed and writhed like a little hell beast!

And who can blame her? All that anticipation for something most people grit their teeth and bear. Poor kid. She'll know better next time, and so will I. It's one thing when she decides she wants to do something, it's quite another when she then decides she never wants to do something again. Ever.

With chocolate ice cream, and a mini stuffed dalmatian puppy that matches one Matilda already has, I am pleased to announce that Freya made a full recovery.

What's that? Matilda was the one who was sick? Oh yeah. She'll be fine too, after all, she's the wise older sister who offered to hold Freya's hand, and shrugged knowingly when she was turned down.


Annika said...

So, which one did she get?

Annika said...


Cathy said...

I bet the doctor's staff was still reeling when you left -- a child actually requesting -- no DEMANDING -- a shot!!

Krista said...

That's freakin' hilarious! Thanks for the laugh (no smirk is the best I could do) on a day that has just SUCKED.
And I'm totally there with you on the waiting for immunizations. I wish I hadn't let them start. Although now I'm slightly freaking out about some kids in our area with measles...

Ewokmama said...

Perhaps next time she'll ask for more details before jumping in. ;)

Your kids are so utterly hilarious!

Jen said...

I wonder what she thought the shot was going to be like. Did she have some idea in her head that it was going to be enjoyable or was she just wanting to try something new?

Stepherz said...

She's such a sweetie! What a brave girl. I feel kind of like you do about immunizations. I think waiting is a good idea, at least until they can develop a little bit. We're not going to do the chicken pox vaccine at all.

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

You're not a freak. Had I to do over again, I would definitely wait and spread them out. It's too many all at once.

And your girls, they are so unique, which is why I love reading about them.

andi said...

That is hilarious. Depending on what was in the shot, I may consider getting one too. :)