Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today I woke up at 6:30 so I could call the pediatrician's office RIGHT AT SEVEN, like they told me, so I could make an appointment for Malko to get two of the remaining four shots he's behind on, and after making the call I started some pancakes (very lumpy and then, after adding too much water, very watery) and went to wake up Lula and Joedy so Joedy could take Lula to the OTHER pediatrician for HER checkup/shots at 8:45, and while heckling Joedy about his speed, or lack thereof, in exiting the house, I forgot to give him Lula's shots record, so when they came home at 11 she still hadn't had her shots, so I made ANOTHER phone call, to Malko's pediatrician, for Lula in the afternoon, and after taking Malko there and coming home I picked up Lula and listened, in the car, to this:

"Is it going to hurt? I don't want to DOOO THIIIISSSS! I think I want to go home right now. Maman, can we go home now? Please, Maman, pleeeease?"

Given that the last shot Lula had, in December, provoked an all-out terror fit and required the firm grip of not one but two nurses, I didn't have very high hopes for the successful (i.e., calm) administration of these three shots. I tried to comfort her by saying that Malko hardly cried when he got his shots this morning, but she was unimpressed, and rightfully so: Malko is bulky. There's lots more cushioning on his body.

I switched tactics: "You know how I wax my legs, Lula? Remember how I said it doesn't really hurt anymore? Well, it actually does hurt, but I'm used to it now, so I'm not afraid of the pain--it's not as scary. You know what helps? Telling yourself it's not going to hurt. That's what I do. If you tell yourself something's not going to hurt, it won't. It's kind of like magic!"

She was quiet for a while, and then, in a perfectly normal, happy voice, asked if she could have a prize later for being good. I sensed that someone was being worked, but I didn't care who as long as the shots went well. "Sure Lula, you can have whatever you want," I said. Just don't bite the nurse!

We got to the doctor's office early and waited seventy minutes to be called, during which time we observed an extremely loud and bratty young man make a big fuss because he "got kicked, and tore his ACL, and now he needs surgery, and...what? They don't do MRI's at this clinic?! Well then"--to his friend--"what do I do now? Mary, you're the one with the knowledge about the medical world, WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST I DO???" I had a few suggestions for him, starting with coming over to my knee so I could give him a good spanking, and not in a "fun" way, but all I really did was pronounce very loudly in French to Lula that it's a good thing we speak French because we can talk about bratty people who need spankings without them knowing! We can talk loudly about them as they're trudging, on their spoiled-brat crutches, right by us! What FUN!!!

Right when I'd decided to throw in the towel and go home Lula's name was called and we followed a nurse down the hallway to the Shot Room, where Lula fell into an inconsolable panic. "No, I don't WANT TO DO THIS, nooooooooooo, Maman, please don't make me do this," she cried, hiding in the corner behind the chair, welding herself to the wall so I couldn't drag her out. "Maman, please, don't let her hurt me! Don't let her do this to me!"

Glancing at the nurse, who appeared unruffled--in fact, she seemed totally used to this--I grabbed Lula and flew, at warp speed, through every motivational tactic I knew, listing the presents, spankings, groundings, and ice cream she'd get if she'd just sit down, extend her arm, and be quiet!

It didn't work, and a few seconds later, while I held Lula on my lap, trying to get her to be still, for god's sake, so the needle wouldn't go into her eye, her screams alerted another nurse, and between the three of us we got her to be pretty still, although she was staring RIGHT at the needle coming RIGHT at her arm and she was hyperventilating, crying, saying, "Please don't be mean to me, please don't hurt me," when I suddenly remembered our conversation: "Lula, remember what I said? Tell yourself it's not going to hurt!"

Sobbing, she turned her face the other way, and, her voice cracking as the needles pierced the skin, said: "It's not going to hurt, it's not going to hurt, it's not going to hurt..."

And then it was over! The nurses left the room, we stood up, Lula asked about the ice cream, and then she said, of her own accord, "I'm sorry, Maman. I promise I won't cry so much next time."

She looked so contrite, and with her face all red and splotchy, her gangly little arms hanging at her sides, I melted and leaned down to give her a hug. "It's ok, Lula, just try not to be so...dramatic next time." She nodded, and I wiped my eyes. Next time is going to be in four years, when she's ten. We have a lot of time to tell ourselves it's not going to hurt.


Nadine said...

I just love that little girl of yours!

Kat said...

Awww, Lula...she is sooo clever!!

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