My three kids got flu shots today. The whole thing went as well as could be expected, and by that I mean only 67% of them cried.
“I wish they still had the nose spray!” Madison lamented when I told her she’d be taking a flu shot today. “They said it doesn’t work,” I replied. “I know! That’s why I missed four days of school and had to stay in for recess for a week or so!” she shouted. Welp. “Why do I have to go first?” she asked when we arrived at the doctor’s office. “You have to go first to show Cole and Avery how to be strong and brave,” I said. “Yeah,” Lynnette said. “But they’re sleeping!” Madison countered. She was right. But still. Madison hopped up onto the bed and everything happened so fast that I barely had time to snap this picture. I was hoping for fear or pain or something, but she’s too old for that already. “That’s it!” the nurse said and Madison hopped off the bed at lightning speed. It was as if she was worried the nurse would change her mind or something.
Cole was asleep when Lynnette rested him on the bed. The nurse counted to three and a moment later Cole woke from his slumber in a really bad mood. I always hear people use the phrase “rude awakening” in the figurative sense or in reference to the late “Ravishing” Rick Rude’s neck-breaker finisher, but today Lynnette, the kids’ doctor, and Madison all used the phrase literally. This is the kind of thing that an English major/teacher dork like myself would observe and feel obligated to write about. Anyway, Cole took it like a champ and stopped crying in under a minute. But then I guess he had flashbacks because he started crying again when we got into the parking lot. “Man, Cole holds grudges,” Lynnette said. Possibly. He was crying in the intense manner that is usually reserved for hunger, pain, hunger pains, and losing his binkie in the darkness of night.
Like Cole, she was pulled from her sleep by a needle to the thigh, but she stopped crying almost immediately and never restarted – unlike her brother. In retrospect it makes sense. What can a flu shot do to her? After what she’s been through, I bet the flu shot wanted to make her laugh. If she could talk, I imagine that she scoffed at the needle and employed an apostrophe by addressing it directly with the swagger and contempt beyond her years:
C’mon, dawg. You seen what I’ve been through, right? You best believe a single needle is a minor inconvenience at best. I got poked like that on the daily back in the day. You need to bring that weak stuff to Phil. That clown’s still afraid of needles! Can you believe that? I know, right? Supposed to be my dad and stuff and the guy can’t even-
And it’s at that point I would have thanked the needle for coming and said “See you soon!” without meaning a word of it.