She was singing a jaunty little tune in the shower when I told her that she needed to hurry. She slid opened the shower door and said, “Why?”
“Well,” I said, “Today you’re going to to the doctor for your kindergarten check-up.”
Water droplets dripped from her hair. She smiled a tiny smile, said, “Oh!” and slid the door closed.
A moment later she popped her head out to ask, “Am I going to get shots?”
She accepted her fate without tears, but a lot of talk. I thought that my 15-year old son was the chattiest person ever, but she ranks right up with the most verbose of them all. I told her only twenty minutes before we had to leave, which cut down on some of the angst, but she informed me that she did not want to get shots and “why do I have to get shots?”
I told her that the shots were keep her from getting some bad diseases. Like what, she wanted to know. Like polio and mumps. “And chicken pox?” she said.
Well, no, because I opted out of chicken pox immunizations. But let’s not quibble over the finer points of vaccination exemptions.
She looked so cute in her pink-polka-dotted tank top and blue jean shorts. She brought along a stuffed animal, “A leopard?” I said and she said, “No, it’s a tiger.” But it really was a snow leopard no matter what she thinks.
At last we were ushered back to the doctor’s office. She regarded the scale with some distrust, but stepped up. Almost fifty pounds. She’s in the seventy-fifth percentile for her height and her weight. Perfectly proportioned, the doctor said.
She climbed onto the examination table with its covering of crinkly paper. She answered the nurse’s questions and asked an endless stream of her own questions. I could tell she was just waiting for the shots, ready to get them over with. So I explained that the shots would be last. The nurse did her thing, the doctor came in and did her thing. Oh, the nurse asked, “Do you smoke, Grace?” and Grace looked at her in silence. Then she smiled, like it was a joke. I guess they have to ask that question of all patients. They also must ask, “Does anything hurt?” and I thought maybe Grace would mention that her toes are sore from dragging along the bottom of the baby pool. But she did not.
Finally, after all the preliminaries and a long stretch of waiting while we listened to a baby crying in another room, the nurses returned with three shots. I held Grace on my lap, facing me, and the nurse swabbed her arm, then inserted the needle. Grace didn’t make a sound. Then the second shot on the second arm. Still, no response. Then the last shot, which the nurse mouthed, “This will sting. Hold her firmly.” So, I did and after that, Grace cried.
I held her close and said, “It’s over. You can cry as much as you need to.” And so she did cry a little.
We followed up that milestone (kindergarten shots!) with an early lunch at iHop (we never eat there and the service was terrible so we probably never will again). Then to GameStop to search for very old video games to go with the very old Nintendo Entertainment System we got at a garage sale. Then to Target to buy a toy since Grace was so brave. We returned home three minutes before I started working at 1 p.m.
Throughout the rest of the day, she commented about the diseases she will not get: “Molio, and what else again?” she said. “Polio,” I said, “and mumps and measles and the coughing disease.” We will speak endlessly of diseases for the next few days, I’m sure.
* * *
Grace amazes us. She dove off the diving board tonight head-first, a regular dive. She can also swim underwater from one side of the pool to the other (the short side). She’s turning into such a social creature, which is stunning considering how clingy and shy she was for her first three or four years of life. Now, she chats with anyone she deigns worthy of her attention. (And not everyone is.)
[Add your own brilliant concluding sentence here to tie up this blog post in a witty and entertaining manner.]