By SHANKARI CHANDRAN.
There comes a time in a young child’s life when they are suddenly old enough to realise what’s going on around them.
For parents, this is a sad and difficult day. You can no longer take your children to parties in that cute Ewok outfit you found on eBay. They are old enough to assess fashion.
Just as an FYI, this post is sponsored by Vaccine Hub. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
You can no longer encrypt messages to your husband by spelling them. Your children are old enough to phonetically sound out “s-e-x-l-a-t-e-r?” even if they don’t always know what it means. You are way too tired to spell that message backwards and your husband unfortunately doesn’t speak Pig Latin (emember-ray at-thay?)
And worst of all, you can no longer take your children for their scheduled vaccinations without a Tactical Response Plan (TRP), necessary to distract kids during vaccinations. While they might not be old enough to realise that you’re doing it for their own good, they are old enough, even at two-years-old, to look at a needle and know that they are about to be on the receiving end of something sharp, pointy and not very comfortable.
I remember the moment my daughter became aware that an innocuous outing to the GP was in fact an ominous outing for an inoculation (try saying that in Pig Latin).
I am a seasoned watcher of CSI, Criminal Minds and Law & Order SVU, so I pride myself on a relative lack of squeamishness.
But there is something unnerving about the moment when tempered; sterilised steel enters the soft, pudgy thigh of my child. I flinch.
On this particular(ly), ill-fated vaccination day, I also expected my small daughter to flinch, whimper and be distracted by the usual, fast-paced-yet-soothing rendition of Incy Wincy Spider.
I was wrong. Her pain swiftly turned into fear and outrage as the GP prepared a second injection for her other thigh. She issued a blood curdling cry and ran out of the surgery, into the waiting room, screaming “Help me, help me, they’re hurting me!” It was downhill fast from there.
Subsequent vaccinations of my daughter and other three children have involved the following TRP. These simple steps are guaranteed to distract kids during vaccinations:
1. Deception – a child psychologist once advised me that when dealing with children’s anxieties, lying to them is not a recommended strategy. The psychologist suggested reasoning.
Hmm. I just can’t see myself saying to my daughter, “Darling, there are children all over the world who die from preventable diseases – I don’t want you to be one of them. Fancy an injection?”
Nope, it’s not gonna fly. I flat out lie as the first part of the plan. My daughter is told that I need a check up and she is merely accompanying me to the doctor. I pop in, meet the GP, who is forewarned and forearmed with an injection, locked and loaded. My daughter is then brought in and the games begin.