Friday, July 29, 2016

Benjamin at 4 years

Approximately four years ago, Benjamin said goodbye to bottled oxygen and apnea monitors and we unplugged him for good. It was amazing and thrilling and a little bit nerve wracking, but he's done pretty good at remembering to breathe these past four years so obviously everything turned out just fine.

Today I took him in for his four-year-old well-child check and I'm pleased to announce that this once-slow-growing child has taken off like a weed. He measured in at just over 40 inches today, plopping him in the 40th percentile for his age. FORTIETH!*

Last year he was only in the 5th percentile (and practically forever before that he was in the 0th percentile) so this was a huge leap for him. We're quite pleased to see him finally making an effort to catch up (kidding, obviously; we're still pleased but realize kids just grow when they grow).

Zoë wasn't too pleased to be back at the doctor's office; she was reimmunized last week and that was fresh enough in her memory for her to completely lose her handle on life when the nurse—the very one who'd administered Zoë's shots—called Benjamin's name. She started crying the minute she realized we were following her (the torturess) and didn't stop until she realized it was Benjamin's turn and she was safe (though she waited to really relax until the nurse was gone completely).

Benjamin was given a clean bill of health, but started to get nervous when shots were mentioned. He'd fished out a package of fruit snacks from the diaper bag and asked if he could have it.

"Not until we're done," I said. "I brought it as a treat for you to have after your shots."

"SHOTS!?" Benjamin cried.

"You did the hard part of my job for me," the doctor said. "Yes, Benjamin, you need to get a few vaccinations today to help you stay healthy so you can keep swimming as long as you'd like."

"You don't need vaccina...mmmm...shots to go swimming," Benjamin sagely informed his doctor (swimming was the first thing out of his mouth when the doctor asked about what Benjamin likes to do; Benjamin goes swimming a lot so he's practically an expert on whether or not you need shots to go swimming and, as it turns out, you don't—duh).

"But you do need shots to stay healthy," the doctor said.

"Nuh-uh!" Benjamin adamantly said. "I wash my hands all the time and that's how I stay healthy."

"Washing your hands is one part of keeping germs away so we can be healthy. Vaccinations are another part. We need to do everything we can to stay healthy," the doctor argued his point well, but not well enough.

"I don't want any shots," Benjamin insisted.

"I'll go have the nurse prepare his vaccinations and she'll be in to administer them shortly," the doctor said to me, completely giving up on reasoning with Benjamin.

He should try living with that kid. Oh, boy!

When the nurse walked in Zoë dissolved into a puddle of tears and Benjamin knew his fate was sealed, but he took his shots like a pro. I held him in a "hug" while the nurse gave him his vaccinations and Zoë writhed on a chair.

It's impossible to know who screamed louder: Zoë or Benjamin.

"She remembers me," the nurse pouted.

I'm pretty sure pediatric nurses have the saddest job on the planet. Sticking babies with needles all day long? No, thank you.

"You can take as long as you need," she said as she sneaked out the door. "Just remember to check out on your way out."

I snuggled both of my poor screaming babies on my lap for a few minutes until they were able to collect themselves, then we packed up our things and headed out.

"Can I have my fruit snacks now?" Benjamin asked.

"Sure," I said. "Let's get buckled up and then you can have your fruit snacks."

"But I wasn't even brave," he sniffed.

"You were brave!" I said.

"But I screamed," he pointed out.

"Just because you screamed doesn't mean you weren't brave," I said, and much later when I was telling Andrew about this (over dinner), Andrew pointed out that unless Benjamin had to have two other nurses come in to help hold him down and was foaming at the mouth because he was screaming and fighting so hard (as we experienced with four-year-old Rachel) that he was brave.

"I didn't do that," Benjamin said. "I just screamed once and then I cried."

He really was pretty good, and by bedtime he'd nearly forgotten about the experience. If it weren't for the lingering pain, I don't think he'd remember at all. "I hurt here and here," he told me, touching each of his thighs in turn.

"From your shots?" I said sympathetically.

"No," Benjamin shrugged. "I don't know what from. My legs just hurt here and here."

"That's right where you got your shots," I said.

"No. It's just that they hurt."

"Dude, feel under your pants where you're touching. What do you feel?"


"Yup. From your shots."

"I don't think that's why my legs hurt."

"I do."

"I don't."

"I do."

"I don't."

"Fine, then," I said, and then completely gave up trying to reason with Benjamin.

You should try living with this kid.

*BTW: He's 33 lbs. 8 oz. (in the 25th percentile, so not bad, not bad at all).


  1. "I'm pretty sure pediatric nurses have the saddest job on the planet. Sticking babies with needles all day long? No, thank you." -- for real

    Glad Benjamin is growing well. I'm so glad his legs didn't hurt last night *because of the shots!* :)

  2. I am sorry for laughing at somebody else's pain and frustration, but you do tell it so funnily, Nancy!