When my daughter was little, I joined a moms group. At the first meeting, I met a woman who’d covered her home with note cards – on everything from toasters to toilets – identifying the object in both English and Spanish so her toddler would learn to read in both languages. Up until then, I’d felt pretty good that my daughter watched “Dora the Explorer” while I napped on the couch. She’s still not bilingual, but my girl knew what a backpack was by age three.
Acknowledging my less-than-stellar mothering skills has given me the freedom to accept some of my questionable choices. Case in point – Confession #583.
My daughter has an extreme fear of needles. To the point that she’ll stress for three weeks prior to a physical on the off-chance an immunization is required. The good news: heroin will never be her drug of choice.
At her last physical, the doctor ordered a routine blood panel which required fasting. After three months of her traumatic refusals, I decided it was time to take matters into my own, devious hands.
It was the long-awaited day she was getting her braces removed. A milestone event that would surely outweigh the horror of a needle prick. The ortho appointment was at 9 am. I explained we needed to leave early and take the access road to avoid traffic (truth). That we’d get Starbucks on the way (truth). I didn’t mention we were stopping at the lab beforehand (lie of omission).
It wasn’t until we pulled into the lab parking lot that realization hit. At first she laughed, thinking I was joking. Then the tears came. Then she screamed how horrible I was. How she would never trust me again and refused to get out of the car. I told her she had to. We had an appointment (lie), that if we didn’t show, we’d be charged (lie), and it would only be a minute (could’ve been a lie, but prayed it wouldn’t be).
Praise God, in twenty minutes, we were in, out and pulling into Starbucks. A few minutes of trauma versus three weeks of worry. I still think I made the right call. Halfway through our lattes, she admitted it was actually a good plan, even said I should do it the next time. Wow! Maybe I wasn’t so bad after all.
Later, as we headed into the orthodontist’s office, she looked over and smiled. “You do realize, thirty years from now, when you think we’re taking you to brunch, you may end up at The Home.”
Wasn’t it Crosby, Stills and Nash that sang, “Teach your children well?”
Oh my! I have a 13 year old son who despises needles too, so this story touches me. Not so many years ago I remember a shot he had to have where the nurse and I are cornering him in the room and I finally had to bear hug him to keep him still. And I can definitely hear my son saying the same thing to me after tricking him into a shot – he’s got that same wry sense of humor. He’s got one final shot coming up next month…wonder if I ought to try your trick?
All’s fair in the war/art/game of parenting.
LOVE this–and just think, if you can just keep ahead of your children (as in outrun them) you’ll always be safe! 🙂
As long as Netflix keeps running SNL and Law and Order SVU, I’ll be able to get away. Yeah, we’ve come a long way since Dora.
My daughter has a fear of needles, too. I never thought to try your tactic, but it probably would have worked!
Feel free to give it a go. Takes a village, right?
Very good plan. I’ll file it away to use on my grandkid.
Something tells me if they’be got your blood flowing through them, the fear won’t even be an issue.
We have the same problem here. My darling daughter will walk down a very dark, slippery slope in hearing there are shots of any type involved. I dread when someone tells her about possible shots (like the PE coach who reminded the kids recently of their shots / physicals this summer! – Thanks Coach for the 3 month trauma!!) You are an amazing mom 🙂
You are so gracious.
You’re fortunate, Chris. At least your daughter’s planning on taking you to a home. Mine are discussing euthanasia. 🙂
Probably because mine are too young to know how much “The Home” costs.
Well, I can tell you first hand that the sticky notes in Spanish and English never worked. Especially since one child flushed them down the “el excusado.” So maybe you’re on to something with this “trickery parenting.”
I knew you were perfect! Yet, so real. Love it.
On the contrary, I think this is excellent parenting. My kiddos are scared of shots, too, and my attempts to get them to keep a stiff upper lip have so far been… well, miserable failures. That’s my tactics, not my kids, right. Will try trickery and Starbucks next time. (Your last bit about The Home had me literally laughing out loud. Tricksy clever parents should probably expect tricksy clever kids.)
Starbucks does wonders.
Thanks for stopping by.
Love, love, love your sense of humor! I also think that you are a fantastic mom for not putting your daughter into 3 weeks of trauma.
We’ll see how the next trick works.
That might or might not have be fiction “the home” but that’s what Elaine used to threaten Mama!
Beverly. Sent from my iPhone
It’s a family thing. Miss Elaine’s been threatened a time or two.
Chris, remember your expertise in reading scenes in romance novels using different accents? I read an article about a therapist who helps people who are afraid of needles by having them use accents to role play the nurse or doctor who administers the shot. Usually the person starts laughing, and the next time they go for a shot the bad memory has been replaced by the new, funny one. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll have a scene that might fit in your next manuscript.-Jillian
Maybe we’ll just try speaking with an accent when we get to the office. My kids harass me mercilessly about my horrible attempt with accents. Maybe Mom’s foolishness in front of the doctor would embarrass/distract them. And BTW, the masters of story telling accents can only be found at National.
Oooh! She got you good. 😉 To your credit, genius plan with the Starbucks trip. Bonus: maybe your daughter will link Starbucks to her fear of needles and you’ll save her from a $20 a week caffeine habit down the road.
RIght! That’s not going to happen as she proved later that week. Of course the irony in all this is that I had blood drawn yesterday. SEVEN tubes. Not a problem there, but the worst needle pain I can remember.