She had escaped.
I had a pretty good idea where she was. I walked into the dining room and squatted down.
“Natalie,” I said to my daughter, who was hunched underneath the table. “We have to go.”
Natalie shook her head as she hugged her knees to her chest. “I don’t want shots!”
I sighed. She had told me this all morning. “Darling, we have to get them. They’ll keep you healthy.”
“Natalie, we are going. Do you want hepatitis A?”
“Yes! I want hepatitis!” Only she pronounced it “hep-eh-TIT-us.” So now people were going to think my daughter was being vulgar. Fantastic.
“We’re going,” I said firmly and reached under the table. I managed to grab onto her ankle and pulled her out. She tried desperately to claw at the carpet to no avail.
“No SHOTTTTTSSSSSS!” she bellowed dramatically. She was going crazy, shaking like a maniac as I carried her to the front door. She almost climbed on top of my head. Her foot kicked me in the mouth and I thought, “Yeah, this is my life…” I brought her out to the car and wrestled her into her seat.
“You’ve known about these shots for days,” I reminded her as I struggled to buckle her in. “This shouldn’t be a surprise.”
All week I had asked if she was going to be brave when she got shots.
“Yes,” she had lied.
“And no crying?” I probed.
“No,” she had lied.
My lips were tingling from being kicked as I got behind the wheel. Now I was going to look like a bad version of Angelina Jolie. Or Jessica Simpson, when she got that awful lip injection and claimed that nothing was amiss even though her lips were like 3 inches from her face.
“No SHOTTSS!” Natalie whimpered. Her shouting was tapering off; she knew she was defeated.
“They keep you healthy,” I repeated. “Despite what some parents might think, I believe shots are a good thing. I personally wouldn’t want whooping cough or measles but that’s just me. Although, everyone has a right to choose what is right for their children, which is the beauty of America. Understand?”
Natalie blinked at me. She was probably wishing I was one of those parents who didn’t make their kids get shots.
“The shots will be quick, I promise.”
“Will it hurted me?” Natalie sniffled.
“It’ll feel like a pinch,” I replied truthfully. I wasn’t about to lie. If I lied, then Natalie would shout, “YOU BIG LIPPED LIAR!” as she got the shots.
“I don’t want a pinch,” Natalie cried.
“It’ll be fast.”
At the base clinic, I picked Natalie up so she wouldn’t take off. Her fingers were entangled in my hair as we walked into the immunization room. I thought she was going to pull a chunk of hair from my scalp. That way I’d have a gigantic bald spot to go with my oversized lips.
Surprisingly, Natalie sat nicely as we waited to be called back. I thought I might have to put her in one of those leashes and tie it to the chair.
“I want hep-eh-TIT-us,” Natalie informed the doctor who called us back. She gave me a surprised look.
“Hepatitis,” I corrected. “And I didn’t have a lip injection, my daughter kicked me.” No, I didn’t say that last part. I wanted to, because the doctor kept frowning at my mouth as if to say, “What’s going on there? Should I ask, or would that be rude? Probably rude.”
I had to sit Natalie in my lap and hug her arms against her chest as the doctor put the shots in her thigh.
Naturally, Natalie screamed….into my right ear, which immediately started to ring. By the time she moves out, I swear I’m going to be partially deaf. She’s made my ears ring more times than I can remember.
“All done!” the doctor called out and Natalie’s screeches immediately ceased. She glanced at the band-aids the doctor had left on her thighs.
“I like,” Natalie said, running her thumb across her band-aids with Charlie Brown on the front. It was like the shots never happened. A wide smile was across her face as she hopped down from the exam table.
“Can she have a lollipop?” the doctor asked me.
I nodded and Natalie squealed with delight as she picked a pink one.
“I like this place,” Natalie told me. She narrowed her eyes at the doctor. “I don’t like the shots though.”
We left after that and I let out a breath of relief as we stepped outside. We were done with shots. Hallelujah!
Until next year, that is.
I’ll make Tom bring her then.