Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Count on it

My older two sons are a tough bunch with their special needs. So, having a third son whose challenges are mild has been a nice break. We were at his four year checkup while the pediatrician quizzed me on his milestones.

"Stands on one foot? Jumps up and down? Climbs stairs without using the banister?"

Check, check, check. He was on target and I was relieved. We went through a long list of questions. Then,

"Knows what it means to count, beyond rote recitation?"

The fact is, he's pretty good at counting. And he knows his alphabet, and can read some short words. Problem is, I am not used to "typical," so I don't know if he's ahead of the game. In our family, he is. I'm just.. you guessed it... relieved.

We got to the end of the checkup and she announced that he would need five shots. I cringed. I am not in the "no immunizations" camp, for that is too extreme for me. But my mothering instinct tells me that there is some weight to a few of the claims that the extremists have made. I am near the middle, in the "space them out over time" camp. The doctor was very irritated at me for holding my ground, but I held her to just two shots at this visit. She warned,

"You'll have to pay another co-pay at the nurse visit for his next shots."

"I know." I can count. Bring it on, lady! Like additional co-pays would dissuade me when we have autism in our family history. She stopped short of rolling her eyes but respected my position as the mother.

The nurse came in with the syringes and I performed the oh-so-horrible job of pinning my son's arms to his sides as I allowed her to stick him twice. Nine years of this and it still pains me. He cried more than usual so I held and rocked him for a while.

Usually I reward my kids with candy from the grocery check-out line. Having an immunization is the only time that they get such a treat. Today, though, I was hungry, too, so I whispered,

"Would you like to go get a doughnut?"

His crying subsided, though the sniffles remained. His head was buried in my chest and he nodded. Sniffle, snort. Whimper. He paused, then asked meekly,

"Can I have two doughnuts?"

Yes, doctor, he can count.


Lindsay said...

I always love reading your posts. You have a way with tugging the heart strings! - Lindsay

Faith said...

I have said it before, but I want to restate it: you could fund their college education with a memoir. Get volume one out now and then follow it up with the next ten years. :D

Susan said...

Good for you, standing up for your boys! My baby, who is 18 and not afraid of anything, is terrified of needles after 6 shots to get into public school.

ctarbet said...

With your family history of autism, I think you made the right call. Good job!! Congrats on being able to answer "yes" on all the developmental questions!!

Valerie said...

love you my friend. i love "catching up with you" via your blog.
i fired my pediatrician after having issues over the shots. i'm not anti-vax...but seriously there's no way that can be safe for those little tiny bodies to have 5 shots at once! ridiculous. luckily i never have to fight anymore because i found a doc who totally respects that i am the mom and i know best for my child. (or at least i think i do). in fact, today, lexi had her 18 month check up and they just asked, "are we doing any shots today"? no pressure. such a relief!!! good job standing up for your baby.