Little Miss Modesty

My daughter had her five-year exam on Tuesday. She wasn't thrilled to go, so I plied her with a snack beforehand. Needless to say, I didn't tell her that she was likely to receive some immunizations at this visit. In additional to a reluctant child, I also brought along a form from the school district that needed to be signed by the pediatrician in order to enroll A in Kindergarten.

As is the custom, she was weighed and measured before the exam. I can't remember her weight offhand (38 pounds, maybe?) but her height was 40.25 inches. She grew exactly three inches since last year's annual exam. While this still puts her in the 10th percentile, her doctor says she's fine as long as she is, in fact, growing. I did a little calculation this morning. Let's say she will grow three inches per year for the next eight years (assuming she will stop growing when she hits puberty). That would put her adult height at around 5 feet 4 inches. I have maintained all along that even though she is petite now, I don't think she's going to be a remarkably short adult. I just hate to see her fretting about her untall stature now.

Dr. Alexander examined the kid and asked her a few questions. Then he asked me if I had any concerns. I mentioned that I've noticed she still has a slight lisp but that I wasn't too worried about it at this time. I really couldn't think of anything to ask. I have always felt incredibly fortunate that my daughter is so healthy.

Finally, when I could stall no more, I broke it to A that she would need a couple of immunizations. To be honest, I actually found the process easier when she was a baby. There's no point in explaining hypodermic needles to an infant, so you don't. The baby cries and then, if you're lucky, crashes early that night. Five-year-olds, however, understand needles. When the nurse came in, I did my best to play up the fact that A would receive a couple of band-aids. She is obsessed with band-aids, so I thought this might sweeten the deal a bit. I can't say it was that much of an incentive after all. I held her hands while she got a couple of quick pokes and 90 seconds later she was wiping her eyes and digging into a bag of loot the nurse gave her (bubbles, crayons, etc.) Dr. Alexander saw her in the hall as we exited and tried to wave good-bye, but she just gave him a foul look. I advised him that he'd slipped several points in the polls after this visit.

The real fun came when we left the exam room. She picked a sticker out of the sticker bin and then headed into the waiting room, where she trotted up to the first random family she could find. She lifted her dress all the way up and pointed to the Tweety Bird band-aids on her thighs. "I got shot!" she exclaimed. The mom frowned and expressed her sympathy, while the dad probably wondered if he should be looking at a little girl's Minnie Mouse underwear.

As I loaded her into the van, I called her dad so that she could tell him about her traumatic experience. We then drove to the post office so that I could mail a Mother's Day gift. A woman was walking out of the building as we were headed in, so A stopped her to show her the band-aids. Then she displayed them to a man who came out after that. "Why couldn't I have insisted she wore pants today?" I wondered to myself. Once inside the post office, we stood in line for a moment before a postal employee waved us over to his window. He started to ask me the "liquid/perishable/hazardous" question about my box, when my adorable little cherub again threw her skirt up and showed her band-aided thighs to the man who was weighing my box, as well as displaying them for the postal employee at the next window. "I got shot at the doctor!"

The second man leaned over the counter. "You got shot at the doctor?" he asked. "I thought people only get shot at the post office!"

"Ha ha! Industry humor!" I responded.

He handed my daughter a "priority mail" sticker to go with the Dora sticker she'd selected at the clinic. She proudly slapped it onto her chest next to the other one. We then left the post office, and, fortunately, did not encounter any additional strangers on the way home. She couldn't wait to get home and show her near-fatal wounds to her dad.

"How did it go?" he asked as she burst through the door from the garage.

"Well," I responded, "Do you want the version with her flashing strangers or without?"