Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's So Funny?

On Monday, I felt like the most horrible of horrible mothers.  Let me explain...

Ethan had his kindergarten physical and much to our chagrin, we discovered that he was due for several shots.  Being the safety and security cherishing person that I am, I'm big on vaccinations.  While I hate putting my kids through them, I think it was much less painful than actually coming down with any of these oh so attractive sounding diseases like pertussis, diphtheria or tetanus.  And Ethan knows it.  Last week when I started to prepare him for the doctor's appointment, his first question was, "Will I get shots?"  When I didn't immediately answer negatory, he looked concerned.

His terror reached a breaking point when three nurses came in the examination room, one to hold him in her lap while two others simultaneously delivered the injections.  Ethan knew his worst fear had been realized and I felt awful for him and I promised him that we would go out for ice cream afterwards since he was doing such a great job.  But, the moment the nurses wiped his arms with the antiseptic wipe, he screamed bloody murder and I lost it.  I started laughing.  Not really the good mother response.

I was immediately swept back to the time when my dear little sister, Stefanie, was the unfortunate injection victim at one of our check ups.  I'm the oldest of four children and we were all really close growing up and so many of my childhood memories involve all of us.  This time was no different.  We were all getting shots for some reason and when it was Stefanie's turn, although being older than Ethan currently is, she still had an acutely hard time with needles.  So much so that she screamed like a banshee the moment they tried to clean her arm with the wipe as if the antiseptic had been the actual needle.  The poor girl was then subjected to teasing for months (probably years is more accurate, really since I am currently writing about it more than 15 years after the incident) about how scary those wipes at the doctor's office are. 

The idea that my son shares this connection with his aunt was just too much for me and I entered into bad-mother-lacking-empathy territory.  So much for appearing to support him in his fear.  While I really did care and held his hand through the whole thing, I'm sure my not being in the moment with him undermined my concern.  I know all moms have major fails but it never feels good while you are in one even if it is a little funny (or maybe a lot funny, as I giggle right now just remembering the scene with my siblings).  I'm entirely thankful for grace and the silver lining of being able to share with Ethan how he is like his dear auntie in this way.  And, I'm going to take him out for ice cream twice, I think.

I must note as a disclaimer, my sister does not remember this alleged incident quite as I do.

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