Friday, January 29, 2010

The Scariest Thing in the World

What is it with kids and shots (or adults and shots for that matter)? I have had A LOT of shots in my life. The Marine Corps has joyously given me as many as 7 shots at once. WooHoo. And drawn vial after vial of blood. And yes, I am a mature (*ahem*) adult, capable of rationally and calmly getting shots. But even as a kid, I had no problem with shots. I remember my mom calmly explaining to me that shots barely hurt as much as a good pinch. Would I scream and cry and freak out if someone pinched me? No. Would I rather be sick and throwing up for a week? Would I rather have my throat scraped? Or just a little pinch? And, of course, my dad had to jump in to point out just how much tougher I was than other kids who would wine and cry like babies. And oh how impressed the doctors and nurses were when I just sat calmly and took the shot.

Apparently, I was a freak as a kid. Apparently, reasoning like this typically just does. not. work. Now, Punky is 7. So it may seem like I’m coming to this realization somewhat late in the game. I knew that kids freak out about shots. I know Punky used to flip right the frig out at the mere mention of a shot. But, I mistakenly thought that shot drama was on the downslide.  I was told that she was brave enough to deserve chicken nuggets for her bravery a few weeks ago when she needed a shot (and I'm sure you all know what a big deal chicken nuggets are to me as the food nazi and during our push toward vegetarianism).

I wasn't there for that shot.  But I was there for the H1N1 shot she got the other night.  And I was so sure it was going to go nice and smoothly.  We walked in.  She was calm.  We went through all the paperwork process.  She was fine.  We waited in line while other kids got their shots.  Cool as a cucumber.  Sat down in the seat where next to the nurse.  Starting to look nervous . . .  And BAM.  She LOST is.  0 to spaz in 1 second flat.  Screaming, crying, litterally trying to run away from me.  Holy Cow.

This took my completely by surprise.  Punky is an amazingly calm and well behaved kid.  This is not just a mother's pride.  Punky is impressive.  She has outstanding manners and maturity.  People comment on her behaviour to us on an almost daily basis.  She isn't free of behaviour issues, but she is a darn good, calm, mature kid.  She gets dramatic once in a while, but it's been years since I've seen her flip like that in public.  Lost. It. 

Wouldn't sit on my lap, wouldn't look away, and just wailed the whole time.  Granted, the whole time lasted about 6 seconds, but it was a loud, vicious 6 seconds (and I think she was so concentrated on screaming that she didn't even realize the actual moment she got the shot).  And that wasn't the end of it.  She stayed ticked after that for a good few minutes.  Apparently, shots are still not ok with Punky.

Now, for the disclaimers:  Punky is a kid.  She wasn't misbehaving, she was just terrified, like many kids are about shots, and even though we had been talking about the shot beforehand, I'm not sure it really registered to her that she was getting one until that moment.  It broke my heart to see her so scared.  Even more so because it waws such a minor thing.

There has to be some psychological reason that so many kids flip out so royally at even the idea of a shot.  I'm sure if I delved into it I could come up with something - fears of expected pain worsened by images in the media and so on.  The question is, if I figure out what this psychological reason is, can I use it to keep Punky from loosing her *ahem* mind next time she gets a shot?  Somehow, I doubt it . . .

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