“No shots!” Natalie bellowed. She crawled under the table. “NO SHOTS!”
I sighed. We were about to leave for Natalie’s four year checkup and she wasn’t making it easy. Maybe I shouldn’t have told her about the shots. But what else was I supposed to do? Lie? Act as though she were just going to a regular appointment and then BAM, needle in her thigh?
“Natalie,” I said, squatting down so I could peer at her from beneath the table. “The shots will be quick and—”
“NO SHOTSSSSSSS!” She tilted her head back, drawing out the S so that she sounded like a snake (a poisonous one, naturally.)
My first instinct was to grab her ankle and pull her out. But suppose she told the doctor that her mommy drags her around the house?
I checked the time. We had to get going. Since her appointment was at the military hospital we had to show 15 minutes earlier than the actual appointment time.
“Fine, Natalie, no shots today. We’ll do them another time. Deal?” I said. I knew it was probably wrong to do, but I didn’t have a choice. In a military hospital the immunizations are in another room so you could opt to have them done whenever.
Natalie scrutinized my face. She was checking to see if I was telling the truth. I guess she made the conclusion that I wasn’t lying so she slowly emerged from underneath the table. I stuffed her arms into her coat and carried her out to the car before she could change her mind.
“No shots, remember?” she said firmly as I buckled her into the car seat. She even pointed her little finger at me. She reminded me of Donald Trump. With better hair.
“No shots today but you’ll eventually need to have them,” I explained.
We drove to the clinic, checked in, and waited in the pediatrics area. I was digging through my purse for some gum and Natalie tugged on my arm.
“The baby keeps looking at me,” she whispered.
I looked and sure enough there was a kid who looked to be about one gazing at Natalie with interest.
“Say hello,” I suggested.
“I did. It keeps LOOKING at me,” Natalie said indignantly.
Well, now she knows how I feel. Sometimes both kids stare at me, waiting to be entertained. I hate it.
Thankfully we were called back a few minutes later. Natalie was weighed and measured (she’s at 30.8 lbs and 39.5 inches) and then we waited for the doctor.
“The doctor doesn’t need to check my ears,” Natalie said, covering them with her palms.
“Yes, he will. He’s checking you all over to make sure you’re healthy,” I replied.
“I am healthy,” Natalie insisted.
“I know, but the doctor needs to see that.”
When the doctor came in, Natalie allowed him to look her over. I was worried that she’d scramble under a chair and refuse to come out. Before the doctor checked her ears he asked what he might find in there.
“My brain,” Natalie answered.
“Ahh, how funny,” the doctor said.
After the exam, the doctor went over some things that I might expect from a four-year-old. Like being afraid of the dark, stuff like that.
“And four is an easier age since they’re over the terrible twos and threes,” he continued.
He looked taken aback.
“Oh, it’s just, Natalie still uses her lungs.” I thought back to an hour before when Natalie was carrying on about no shots.
“Well, they can be defiant at this age,” the doctor agreed.
Sometimes I feel like I should change Natalie’s name to Defiant.
“She’s very healthy and good to go,” the doctor finished, standing up. “You can take her in for shots…”
“NO SHOTS!” Natalie shrieked, so he got to see what I meant about her lungs.
“We’re coming back for those another time,” I quickly said. Natalie had fallen to her knees, in position for a meltdown.
“Okay, sounds good,” the doctor said and then we were able to leave.
“No shots?” Natalie repeated as I put her shoes back on.
“No shots. I already told you.”
“Then I’m happy again!”