Dr Grumpy told us about his kids getting shots their flu shots today. I feel for his wife, because I have had very similar experiences with my own children.
One incident that I recall pretty vividly was when my middle kid had to get his 3 year old booster shots. I took him to the immunizations clinic with his siblings in tow. I had told them all beforehand that Numbah Two was going to get some shots, and nobody, Numbah Two included, had a problem with it. When we were called back to the treatment room, Numbah Two clambered up onto the exam table and asked if he was going to get a sticker and a Marvin the Martian band-aid when he was done.
"If you're a good boy, yes" I said "and you can even have a sucker and a cookie if you're extra, super-duper good".
He was fine until the nurse pulled the first syringe out; when he saw it he started screaming and held on to the exam table so tightly his knuckles were white. His screaming started the other two screaming – even though they weren't getting any shots – and made other kids in the waiting area start screaming too.
The nurse asked me to sit him on my lap and roll his sleeve up. I managed to roll a sleeve up and pry one hand off the table, but had to let go of the free hand to try and get the OTHER hand off….and he just grabbed the table with the free hand. The nurse called in two male techs to come help. When we got him off the table he made a break for freedom and ran towards the door. One tech grabbed him before he could exit, but he caught hold of the door frame and clung to that like a drowning man clings to a life raft. The second tech had to peel his fingers away from the frame and it took the two of them to deposit him in my lap. I held his head against my chest and the techs held his arms still: it took 4 adults to give one 5 year old a shot, and I think we all lost some hearing that day. I don't know if you've ever been in an enclosed room with 3 shrieking, screaming kids, but it's LOUD.
Once the needle was in his arm, he held his breath for an alarmingly lengthy amount of time. I swear I have some hearing damage from the shriek that he let out; my ear was ringing for a day and a half afterwards. That frightened his brother and sister even more and they raised the intensity and decibel level of their screams to match those of their brother.
All 3 of them were given stickers and Numbah Two got his Marvin the Martian band-aid and TWO suckers, but there was no placating any of them. The screamed their way back into the waiting room shrieked down the hallway, cried on their way out of the front doors and sobbed as I strapped them into their car seats.
"Was it REALLY that bad?" I asked. "Really? It was just a little shot, it can't have been SO horrible…did it hurt that bad?"
"No, mama" said Numbah Two as he licked a sucker "it didn't hurted me at all, not eben one liddle bit!"
"So why were you screaming like that? You scared your baby bro and your big sister and other kids, too."
"I dunno, mama. Can I have my cookie now? Look FTS, I has a Marbin Martian band-aid on my owie!"
And just like that, the hysteria was over. All the screaming and shrieking was forgotten and all that mattered was the sucker and the promise of a cookie.
I made his dad take him the next time he had to get shots.