Like, he had legit anxiety over it. The minute we would step foot into the doctor's office, the panic would set in. Crying, screaming, shaking... uncontrollably. It was absolutely heartbreaking. It started when he was about 18 months old. For most of my prenatal appointments when I was pregnant with Easton, I would drop Bennett off with my Mom because I just couldn't handle his panic attacks throughout my checkups. And I made Philip take him in for his 2 year appointment. So... needless to say... it's been a source of anxiety for us all.
A few months back, I called his doctor and made an appointment for when he turned 4. I probably wouldn't have, except there were a few vaccinations I wanted him to get, and since he's started school, I really didn't want to put them off. I had my Mom come over to watch Easton so I could put all my attention on Bennett for the appointment.
The morning of the appointment arrived, and I prepped Bennett by telling him that we were going to go see the doctor, and she was going to examine him to make sure he was healthy. I also explained that he would get a couple of shots but that they would only hurt for a minute. He seemed actually OK with it. Huh... okay?
We arrived at the office, and we hung out at the fish tank as we checked in and waited for the nurse to call us back. When she called us back, he happily grabbed my hand and walked straight into the examination room, even greeting the nurse with a smile. (usually by this point, he's already crying and upset). The nurse took his measurements, and asked if she could take his blood pressure. I was surprised when he said yes and hopped up onto the table. At this point, I was wondering what the heck was going on, what happened to his anxiety??
Next his Doctor came in, and he immediately got nervous. He shrunk into the seat and clammed up a little. We went through the routine questions, meanwhile he was just sort of ignoring the conversation and holding onto me tightly. Dr. Spence asked Bennett if she could look in his eyes & ears, he didn't respond, but instead, he looked to me for support. I assured him it would be alright, and to go sit on the table again. He sort of nervously walked over and then climbed up on the table again. When she came near him with the otoscope, he quickly batted her hand away. I could see the anxiety building in his body language. Honestly, I was afraid this was the beginning of a major meltdown. But, I kept telling him not to be nervous, it wouldn't hurt him at all. He started sort of whimpering but he let her finish the exam. Afterward he quickly jumped down and ran over to me.
The doctor told me that given his past anxiety, we could put off the shots until his 5 year appointment if I thought it would be easier on him. I thought about it for a minute, but decided to just go for it now. I was unsure how he would respond but I just felt like he could handle it.
2 nurses came in, gave him a sucker to suck on and I got him ready for the shots. He willingly laid down on the table, I told him that he would feel a couple of really quick pricks, but that it would be over very fast.
I asked him to trust me.
The nurses approached, he looked left & looked right, he saw the needles in both of their hands and he just put his head down and looked into my eyes. I could see that he was fighting through the fear and trusting me, that everything would be okay. As they quickly gave him the shot -- he hardly even flinched. No tears, no panic, nothing. He just sat up and said "all done." And then he proceeded to thank the nurses. He THANKED the nurses for giving him a shot.
Who is this child?
The reason I'm writing all of this is to document that although this may seem like a small thing, this is monumental for Bennett. He has come SO far in the past 6 months, with his ability to overcome his fear, and turn it into bravery. His courage and capacity to trust in me has just blown me away. Much like his experience with his first time on the school bus a few weeks back.
If you would have told me last year, or a few months ago, that my little boy would happily sit through a doctors appointment, and not only that, but would breeze through his vaccinations without so much as a flinch or a tear -- I wouldn't' have believed you. Not even a little bit.
This small, but significant experience has taught me a valuable lesson.
And that is that we should never underestimate our children. They are capable of SO much more than we give them credit for sometimes. We need to trust in them, the way that they trust us. They deserve our faith in them. They deserve for us to believe in their abilities.
OH and his official 4 year stats:
Weight: 42lbs (85%)
Height: 3'9" (off the charts)