Poor Monkey is terrified of needles. He’s never had a horrific experience with shots, well, not in reality. In his mind? Who can say what dreadful imaginings lurk in the brain of an eight-year-old boy?
Of course I don’t blame him for not liking shots, but as he gets bigger, his fight-or-flight response gets harder to manage.
In our house, we sometimes talk about the lizard brain. It’s that instinctual part of your mind that reacts like an animal’s. There’s scientific mumbo jumbo to go along with this term, and educated folks might even be able to point to this part of the brain on a diagram. I, however, would point to the entire brain and say something stupid like, “There’s the chocolate zone.”
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Monkey’s lizard brain. He looses all rational thought when confronted with the prospect of getting a shot and becomes a fifty-pound Juggernaut. He will do just about anything to get away, including:
• Pummel whoever is holding him,
• Fling shoes, equipment, whatever is in reach, across the room,
• Single-handedly fight off parents, doctors, nurses, technicians, and recruited bouncers,
• Wedge himself in a corner, four feet up the wall, like Spiderman,
• Hide under the waiting room couch (which had to be lifted off of him),
• Writhe, scream, and—between the time he finds out about shots and the time he goes into animal mode—bargain and promise like a politician.
Poor baby. He makes it so much harder on himself than it needs to be. But there is no explaining that concept to a lizard. Or a monkey. Or an eight-year-old.
This Saturday our whole family is scheduled for flu shots. Of course I haven’t told Monkey yet. But come Saturday morning, he’ll figure it out quickly.
We do have a fun surprise planned. No, not a straightjacket. If we all survive our shots, and don’t have to stick around for assault charges brought by the medical staff, then the whole family is going to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I’m hoping this dangling carrot will help Monkey retain some portion of his rational mind, and maybe, just maybe, we can get by without the hazmat crew.
Whatever the case, I’ve been assured that our doctor’s office will be prepared with extra personnel, protective gear, and tranquilizers.
Does anyone have any suggestions for me? When flu shot time comes around, do your kids turn into lizards? Ninjas? The Hulk? I’d love to hear how you deal with it.