Posted by: Kate | September 18, 2008

Parental Treason

Jacob had his four-year check-up today.  He’s a healthy guy, growing and learning and just doing his Jacob thing, so low-key that we completely forgot to schedule the appointment until more than a month after his birthday.

I was reminded that there’s very little in parenting that brings about quite as intense a guilt reflex as taking a child for immunizations.  I believe they’re important, for kids and for public health, and someday we can get in a big to-do about whether immunizations cause autism, and I will end up pissing you off because I believe such a concept is complete and utter hooey, created by anguished parents desperate for a culprit when the reality is that we don’t know where autism comes from.

Anyway, I feel strongly enough about them to have both kids regularly vaccinated, on the doctor’s schedule, for everything they recommend.

And yet there’s guilt, because I know it hurts, and I feel horrible sneaking that kind of hurt upon my child.

Jacob wasn’t scared in advance; we talked about getting shots, he knew it would sting, and he knew that kids who get shots get to go out to Friendly’s for lunch.  So he was in a good mindset going in, and was even pretty low-key about the odd posture and hold on my part to keep him still.

But four shots?  All at once?  It’s a lot for anybody to take, and he bore up manfully whilst allowing the escape of a few well-deserved moans and tears.  He was smiling again within moments and ate lunch like a pro, but I still feel like a traitor, walking him into that room knowing full well what was waiting at the end of the appointment.



  1. I am completely with you on the immunizations. I have to take Campbell for his tomorrow, and it just kills me, especially since he’s not yet old enough to understand why I’m letting the nurse hurt him on purpose.

  2. I remember taking Annie for her “kindergarten” shots, and we had prepared for it much the same way you did. But I was NOT prepared for her face to scrunch up, turn purple, and for her to say, “but you didn’t tell me it was gonna sting so baaaaaaaaaad”. Just rip my heart out and stomp on it, will ya?

    Bad thing now is that you can’t even tell them “well, this is it until you’re 11,” or whatever. I made that mistake and then discovered a whole new slew of shots that are required.

    Sucks to be a grownup sometimes.

  3. I can’t comment on this too much anymore. Since Derek’s transplant his shots have definitely decreased I think he got 1 for his 4 year check-up. But I really have to bite my tongue when I see someone turn in their state form declining immunizations at the school!!! I am sure I will feel even more strongly about it when I have to hospitalize Derek to take precautions because of exposure to Chicken Pox or now Measles (we have an outbreak in S. Arizona of that disease that all but gone thanks to a “hole in the herd.”)
    Monet will be 4 soon enough and I am sure I’ll be bawling my eyes out too. Ice Cream vibes to Jacob from me.

  4. The immunization shots do stink, but what I hate worse is trying to pin my 10 year old down. I’m glad Jacob was such a trooper.

  5. Four at once! That seems a little excessive. These days they ‘bundle’ them into one. What did he have. Between birth and 2 years, we immunise with triple antigen then up to Hepatitis B, mumps, measles, rubella, polio (sabin syrup), meningococcal, chicken pox (varicella), tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), Diphtheria and Haemophilus Influenzae (Hib). But not all at once! Poor little possum he must feel like a pin cushion!

  6. Guess this won’t work with the boys.. but I got my ears pierced as a reward at my 5 year visit.

    Now that I think about it… two more sticks as a reward… I think I got gypped.

  7. I am familiar with that brand of guilt! It is kind of worse with my older kid than my toddler, because she asks in advance if she’s getting shots. I had her all geared up for her flu shot, and then when we got there they told her she could have the nasal mist. She felt like she’d been let out of jail!

    And yes, it seems like study after study keeps debunking the link between autism and vaccinations.

  8. I agree with you about the autism thing. In my school, there are quite a few families that have chosen not to immunize. It irritates me to no end. Thanks for benefiting from the rest of the kids who have gotten immunized.

    LouLa chose to get a shot at her four year checkup. She will get the big group in April, when she turns five, but there was one that she could get at the 4 year checkup, or wait until the following year (chicken pox booster, maybe?). I asked her if she wanted to do it then or wait, and she wanted it then. I’m pretty sure she regretted that decision.

  9. Little red just went through the same procedure, but she didnt even get lunch out of it.. I’m a bad, bad mom lol

  10. Talk about torture? Take your kid in for allergy testing…. What a nightmare. But I can say I’ve never felt guilty. I feel like I’m doing the right thing by my kids. I do feel compassion and pity, and wish I could take the sting away..but never guilty…But then…I’m a guy…so that’s how we roll…

    Good mom I say…you leveled with the kid, building trust for the future visits. He knows you have his back, and that will go a long way… give yourself a cudo’s!!!

    And Friendly’s? Wow…what a blast from the past… Glad to see they’re still alive and kickin!

  11. I’m a little more sadistic.

    The picture on my cell phone is of the 3 boyz, sitting in a row on the table in the dr.’s office, sans shirts, getting ready for their flu shots last fall and NOT happy about it.

  12. Oh yes the dreaded shots. And now there are lots more shots than before. When I took the Caboose in for his 2 month there was an extra one the other two hadn’t had. I wasn’t happy to watch him get 5 shots. I wonder just how much of it is truly necessary? I know I’d rather them suffer the 5 seconds of needle pierce than the actual disease, but WE didn’t have that many shots and we were fine, right?

  13. I always have this weird, paradoxical response of hysterical giggles at my DD, the drama queesn (she’s 13) when she has to do this. She used to be fine, and she’s always fine AFTER, but I have to get it together for the Gardasil series, and I’m less than sanguine about it…

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