Last week I took the kids to get their vaccinations; Kat's behind, and I thought Gabe was missing a set from when he was five but apparently not. Let's get one thing straight right off the bat; while I might be a liberal hippie feminist, I'm not anti vaccinations. Kat's behind because I'm disorganized. So over the next year we'll be getting her finished and ready to go to school in the fall. She was excited to go 'see the doctor' at the local clinic and wanted to go first, and after a lengthy wait while the nurse figured out which shots she needed, we indeed let her go first. Gabe tried to warn her saying it would hurt a lot, and I said she'd feel a big pinch, but no talk of getting super powers so she wouldn't get sick, or that it was just plain necessary, was enough to prepare her for it. It HURT. Kat squirmed and cried and the look of utter betrayal on her face nearly undid me.
"Why you do that?! Why you hurt me?!"
And then the second needle.
"NO! DON'T PUT THAT IN MY BODY!"
I froze for a second and then, but then, it was done. More tears and wailing and betrayal. I said I was sorry for hurting her and so did the nurse but she wanted nothing to do with me. Ryan took her and held her and brought her away from the cubicle while Gabe got his last shot and I stayed with him.
Since day one with my kids I've taught them about their bodies, respected their bodies, and taken care of those bodies. That's pretty much job #1 when you're a parent; make sure your kid grows up healthy and whole. My kids are happy and healthy and will stay that way in part because of vaccinations. But I'm still having flashbacks to her telling us, very clearly and loudly, to not put that needle in her arm. She's too young to know, to even be taught, how important vaccinations are to her health and to the health of people she loves. She's too young to make this decision on her own so as her mom I have to do it for her. These moments are the price we pay for happy, healthy kids. Sometimes we're the devil and our kids reject us for keeping them safe but that's ok. I can take their anger and hurt. She can scream at me all she wants because I wont let her run down the hallway with scissors in her hands, or not have icecream for breakfast, or spend ten hours a day playing on my phone. It's my responsibility to be as tough as I need to be and ensure they have as strong as a start to life as I can give them.
But I don't think I'll ever forget last week's vaccination visit.