"Mama. Where are we going today?" Myla asked intuitively, as she usually does each morning. She likes to have an idea for the days' agendas. I thought to myself... there isn't much sense in dancing around the subject with her... she's too smart. Maybe I'll leave out the word "shot", and see where it leads... "We are going to the doctor today - so we can make sure you don't get the icky-bad flu and get real sick!" She looked at me like I had just spoken pure evil. (Uh Oh. See. Too smart.) "But Mama, I don't want a SHOT!!" Hm. Okay then... now that the elephant has been outed... "Sweetie, it'll be super fast, and you'll hardly know it's there. Addie didn't even cry when she got hers! Can you be a big, brave girl for mama today?" She retorted, "But it might HURT, mama." I tried to be as reassuring as possible without lying to the poor thing. (I'm terrible at lying anyway - since I just don't do it - unless there is some absolutely necessary reason (usually only justifiable to me when I'm protecting others - and still rare... This case does not apply!) "Well, it might sting a little, but it'll be very fast! I can promise you that!! Addie didn't even cry!!" (One more try with the little "baby sister" NOT crying!) Then I decided to add, "PLUS. If you're a brave girl and get your special shot so you won't get sick, I'll give you some CHOCOLATE." Now her eyes brightened again, and she smiled a small smile. (Yes!) "Can we bring it with us and eat it in the car?" Sure!
Every few minutes for the remaining couple of hours that led up to the big event, Myla would inquire about it again. It was clear that she was afraid, but that she was actually focusing more on the positives... like chocolate. (God bless chocolate!)
In a desperate attempt to avoid the other bugs and viruses that surely lurk in the waiting-area, I clung tightly to Addie and forced her to stay on my lap (or Myla's - which gave them each a sense of comfort.) I used the chocolate bribe on her too. "If you are a good girl and sit nice on mommy's lap, I'll give you some chocolate!" To my amazement, she sat completely still, and pointed out the decorations that adorned the unfamiliar walls around her. I reminded Myla not to touch anything. Ooops! Hey - hand-sanitizer. God bless hand-sanitizer!
We're on time for once, and so of course, we wait 20 minutes for the "nurses meeting" to end. While we sat, my girls and I bonded. They sat remarkably well for that duration, and I was beyond pleased with this unexpectedly relaxing experience. Myla winked at me and did my little "tongue-click" that I perform with my winks-at-them. I reciprocated, and she hugged me saying, "Mama. I LOVE you. You are my BEST mama." What a memory!
Myla was becoming anxious and began to ask, "When is it our turn?" - Just then, her name was called. We made our way back to the room, and that's when her apprehension suddenly settled-in. She realized some things at this juncture: This is a stranger. She is being too darned nice. That's right - I'm getting a shot, and this is it! AHHHHHHH!
Poor thing began to literally tremble, and tensed every muscle to avoid being 'pried' apart and placed into any shot-injecting position. She cried, and I tried to reason with her, reminding her about that yummy CHOOOOCOLATE... Now, she screamed - and wanted nothing to do with chocolate. Drat. My plan was foiled by this exceptionally nice nurse bearing a needle and a band-aid. The nurse held her legs down, and I hovered over her - talking and singing into her ear while holding her hand. About 2 seconds later, when it was over, she bellowed, "But I don't WANT a shot!!" Hm. That's funny - because you don't have to have one anymore... You already did! I then reminded her that - because she got her flu shot - she also gets to have........ CHOOOOOOCOLAAATE!! Her eyes widened with wonder again at the realization that the scary part had ended, and the part she'd been waiting for all along had finally arrived. I didn't even care that the mess was something to be reckoned with by the time we pulled into the driveway at home. That messy, goo on everything-Addie, and on some-parts-Myla, made this ordeal really only about 2 seconds long. That - I could live with! Hmmm.... Now I need some chocolate!
TIP! Chocolate is actually good for you! (In case you hadn't heard.) So why not use it for an occasional (regular!) bribe when necessary. I mean, when you have to pull out the big dogs... you might as well go with it. I think I can be bribed with chocolate for the most-part myself! (Shhhhhh.) If you can convince your little one that the fear is scarier than the shot, it could work to your advantage as well.
A QUOTE: "Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small." ~Ruth Gendler
WHIDFML: I kicked-butt bowling last time! Not sure whether is was pent-up stress, pure luck, or some newly attained muscle mass (rock-hauling, anyone?) - but I'm looking forward to trying again tonight! [No Fear!] ;)