In the imagination of my ten-year-old, flu shots hurt. He claims that his arm still aches from last year’s shot. “I have been in pain for years and years,” he cried today in a plea to skip his appointment.
Moms typically find no humor in public meltdowns. However, the ability to re-watch the scene through the eyes of his teenage big brother – twinkling with both awe and amusement throughout the scene – can turn drama into comedy.
The not-so-little-anymore ten-year-old began the appointment hiding under the chair in which I sat waiting for the nurse. Crying. Shaking. “I’m going to throw up!”
The baby wailing in the next room could not compete.
When the nurse entered, he stepped up his game. Screamed. Leapt out of my arms. Flew open the door, and raced down the hall.
By the time the nurse and I ran after him – big brother didn’t move, by the way – the waiting room showed no evidence of a mad ten-year-old in flight. She searched amid the quiet children and parents waiting their turn. People, like I used to be, who assume a modicum of sanity from their offspring.
I checked the bathrooms. Down another hall.
Where could he be hiding?
I found him outside in his socks.
“You don’t know what it’s like to be me!”
I talked him back into the doctor’s office. Threats of returning tomorrow with Dad. Waved at the nurse. Read to him while she recruited a colleague to help us pin him down.
He screamed to stick his left leg. “I need my right leg for sports. It’s my strong one.” Then….
By the time his doctor entered, he was finished with his fluorescent green ice-pop and riding an adrenaline rush that entertained her with stories of farting, bad school lunches, baseball and his struggles with spelling.
“Next year,” she said, “you get two shots.”
And his big brother grinned.