Ava had her five-year check-up today, because well, she's five now (don't worry, the massive birthday post is coming). The five-year-check-up is a run-of-the-mill (could I have more hyphens in this sentence) appointment: weight, height, heart, lungs, etc. But, it also includes shots -- three to be exact. I told Ava a while ago she'd needs vaccines at this appointment. She seemed okay with it. We've discussed vaccines, why they're necessary, that they hurt for only a moment, yadda, yadda, yadda. Going in to the appointment she was fine, even telling the nurse she knew she needed shots but wasn't worried because she had said a prayer to help her be brave. Jax, meanwhile, was a basket case. Just last month, Jax had to get two steroid shots for pneumonia and since then has been mortified of the doctor's office. I thought taking him to Ava's appointment would be great, it would be a chance for him to see Ava get a shot and see it really isn't that bad. To say that was a bad call is an understatement.
As soon as we got in the exam room, Jax began whimpering saying he wanted to "get out of this place." Ava and I explained repeatedly that this was Ava's appointment and that she was the one getting the shots. He calmed for a while, until shot-time. As the doctor went over with me which vaccines Ava would be getting, he started freaking out, pacing the room and loudly reminding us that he didn't want a shot. Then, I noticed the panic on Ava's face. All of a sudden, it became a reality and my brave little girl started crying. Oh, but this wasn't the end, when the nurse walked in with the needles, pandemonium broke out. Jax started screaming and crying, Ava began crying and trying to slide off the table. So, I climbed up, sat next to her and held her arms in place. One shot. Screaming. Jax tries to take off out the door. So, here I am, 22-weeks pregnant, my arms around Ava, desperately trying to stretch my legs and catch Jax with my feet before he runs out of the room. Second shot. I catch him in the nick of time, he's still hysterical, as is Ava. With each shot she screams, so then her brother does. Third shot. Jax is frantically pacing the room shrieking, Ava is yelling for the nurse to stop and all I could do was laugh. An I-can't-believe-this-is-really-happening, barely able to hold it together kind of laugh. All I could think was, "Is this real?" It was like an over-exaggerated skit about the worst thing that could happen at the doctor's office with your kids, but it wasn't a skit, it was reality... and these were my kids. Once I pulled it together, I noticed Jax had stopped freaking out. Ava's shots were over, as was Jax's screaming fit. The nurse handed the kids stickers and suckers for their "bravery" (HA!) and sent us down the hall to the lab for a hemoglobin test. I knew what that meat, a finger prick. Not a shot, but a little tiny finger prick. Ava had one when she was two. She was fine. I told her the needle was like a hummingbird getting nectar out of a flower. At two, she loved watching her blood go into the tube. At five, not so much. I chose this time around not to tell her what she was about to face, although I don't know if not telling her was any more effective. The nice lady called Ava back to sit in a chair. Ava immediately recognized it. It looks just like the chairs at my OB/GYN's office. The ones surrounded by needles and tubes, she knew what was coming. "What are you going to do," she asked with hesitation and spite in her voice. "I'm just going to give you a little finger prick," the nice lady responds. Ava screams and tells me she won't do it. I give her the hummingbird spiel. She doesn't buy it. I get down on my knees and look at her, "Honey, it will be so quick and it's very important she checks your blood." Ava nods her head then begins to walk to the chair, although I don't know that she ever intended to actually sit in it, because my normally uncoordinated child made like a superstar basketball player, faked me out and ran in the other direction. I make like a lion going after a gazelle and pounce on her, scoop her up and place her on my lap and myself in the chair. The nice lady asks for her finger. Ava clenches her fists. I pry those little boogers open, explaining to Ava that it will be so quick, hold out her finger, cover her eyes and count to three, "1, 2, 3" PRICK! Ava yelps as big crocodile tears stream down her face. Before this happened I had sent Jax into the waiting area with a nurse, I thought he might be better off there. Good call, Mom. The nurses squeezes Ava's finger a few times to get some blood in a tube. Ava's cries and tells me she's miserable. When all is said and done she gets an Iron Man band-aid. Probably not the best choice for a little girl, but whatever. At this point she could have stuck a cotton ball and a piece of Scotch tape around her finger and called it good, I think we just all wanted to get the heck out of there. So, we make the long, grueling walk back down the hall. Ava still crying, Jax telling all the nurses he passes that he doesn't need a shot. We head back out into the waiting room (which is ALWAYS full) so I can check out. Ava sits down and wimpers. Jax walks to the front of the waiting room and loudly announces, "Kids, you might have to get a shot!" I pick him up and we haul rub out of that place. I don't turn around for fear my son has just created chaos and panic in the waiting room.
The good news is, Ava doesn't need another vaccine until she's 11 (although she'll need a flu shot every year. I'll wait to tell her that). The bad news is, I have to do this all again with Jax in about two months.