halfway there

I love how Daniel runs into his preschool class every Monday with a huge smile on his face. Most of the time he doesn't even turn around to say "Good-bye" to me. When I pick him up later, he runs to me with an equally big smile and a brief report on what their project was for the morning. Today they made butter, each kid taking turns shaking a big jar of heavy cream until that magical moment when it separated. Then they made pancakes, and according to one of the teachers, Daniel ate so many she was pretty sure he wouldn't want lunch.

She was right, and it turns out I was glad because while Daniel was in his class, I had spent twenty minutes on hold with our clinic trying to schedule H1N1 vaccinations for him and Anya. There's a shortage now, as you probably know, so only the high-risk groups are getting the vaccine. Children under the age of five are among those on the priority list, so when Nurse Kathy (we luuuuurve Nurse Kathy) said they had three doses left and we could have them, I scheduled appointments for right after Daniel was done with school today. When Anya and I went to pick up Daniel, I was trying to rush him into his jacket and down to the parking lot (rushing a 3yo is NEVER EVER a good idea, by the way), and I explained that we had to go get flu shots. "I don't want a shot!" he protested meekly, but he didn't make a big issue of it, fortunately.

On the way there we passed a fairly large cemetery. "What are those things sticking up?" he asked. I answered as directly as I could: "When people die, they are buried there, and those things are called headstones, so we can remember them." This prompted many more questions that I was, frankly, not ready for. I think it's important to address these things as head-on as you can; besides, I wasn't prepared with any kind of fluffy story or explanation of headstones and cemeteries. But after about the fifth time he asked, "Why do you have to go there when you die?" I changed the subject back to shots. I know he doesn't understand; Daniel's experience with death is thus far limited to witnessing day-old roadkill and stomping on ants on the sidewalk. Still, I plan to avoid driving by the cemetery until I'm better prepared for these questions.

Anya fell asleep on the way downtown to the clinic. She didn't wake up when I unbuckled her. She didn't wake up when I pulled her out of the car. She didn't wake up while we checked in at the reception desk where everyone in front of us in line, hacking and puffy-eyed, was delicately handed a mask with pinched fingertips and directed to the walled-off area of the waiting room reserved for people with a "fever, cough, or sore throat." She didn't wake up when we took the elevator to the next floor, sat in the next waiting room, or walked back to the exam room where Nurse Kathy asked if Daniel might be able to take his vaccine via the nasal spray to save the shot for a younger child. (He couldn't. We tried to teach him how to sniff, but he just wrinkled up his nose and exhaled every time we tried to practice.) She didn't wake up when Daniel got his shot. She only woke up when I placed her on the exam table and gently pulled down her britches for her own shot, and by the time she got it, she was too groggy from her little nap to complain. I'm proud to say neither kid uttered so much as a whimper, so we went to a nearby café for a reward of cocoa for Daniel, a cookie for Anya, and a latté for me (we had an early start this morning).

We're only halfway there, of course. Kids as young as mine have to get the H1N1 vaccine in two doses, so around this time next month, I have to call the clinic again to see if they have enough doses that day to finish up. By then they should have enough seasonal flu shots for us all as well (our county ran out of the seasonal flu shot a month ago.) I hope it goes this well next time around.


Claire said…
I find it funny that you were trying to rush Daniel out of preschool by telling him he was getting a shot. That would have BACK. FIRED. with my 3-yr old! Glad things went well! I get mine tomorrow since I have a child younger than 6 months. I hope I can do the nasal spray.
Suze said…
Claire, that's a VERY GOOD POINT. And funny that I never thought of it until you pointed that out. Jeez. I should clarify that only the kids got vaccines. There aren't enough for healthy adults like me.
Anonymous said…
Years ago we took you and your little brother to see Snow White and were blindsided by your questions regarding death. Insistent questions, I might add, that we were not prepared for. An innocent Walt Disney movie, who would have thought?

Jessi said…
We live near a cemetery and we like to take walks there in the evenings. Brynna loves to go up there and look at the stones and the flowers. She knows that each stone represents a person who has died, but I'm not sure she understands that their bodies are under those stones.

Since we all had H1N1, we don't have to worry about the shot. And that makes me happy. It's about the only thing about our sickness that makes me happy.
Steph said…
I'm glad you finally got the shots (or half of the shots, anyway).

I love your new header picture!!

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