Thursday, March 29, 2007


Yesterday was Jimmy's fourth birthday. He woke up excited ("Mom, it's my birthday and I'm four years old!") and his energy just continued to build. The difference between this milestone and those previous is his greater sense of self-awareness: age, autonomy, relationships with friends, and personal identity. I watch him play and see that even in his face, no traces remain of my first baby (except brief glimpses when he is sleeping); he is definitely a boy now, and one who is sure of himself and what he wants.

Today we went to the doctor for his four-year well child visit, which meant immunizations: diptheria/tetanus/pertussis, measles/mumps/rubella and polio. I deliberated about how to best prepare Jimmy for the shots, and in order to avoid having to wrestle him out the door, I waited until we were in the car. Surprisingly, he seemed unconcerned. He did great through the entire exam, cheerfully allowing Debbie, the nurse, to measure his weight (45 pounds), height (3 feet, ten inches), and blood pressure; and Dr. Herman to check his heart, lungs, ears and eyes.

Jimmy continued to be calm when Debbie brought in the syringes and had him sit on my lap, but as soon as he felt the first poke, it was over. I hate seeing him in pain, but shots are easier for me to deal with because I know the hurt isn't needless. What was really difficult for me was the sheer physical exertion of restraining him so that Debbie could give him the remaining two shots; Jimmy's a big boy, and strong. I knew we needed to get through it as quickly as possible, so I held on tight, and we did just that. Afterward, it took a few minutes of cuddling for him to stop crying, but within five minutes he had already moved on to figuring out which park he wanted to go to when we left the doctor's office. Oh, to be four!

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