Friday, July 10, 2009


Bambina has seasonal allergies. She has also been having headaches for a few weeks now. So we took her to the doctor to determine if she has additional seasonal allergies causing the headaches or whether they were a side effect of the meds she was taking for those allergies. At the visit, the doctor decided to do a blood panel to test for specific allergies. Well, let me tell you a story, friends, about that green piece of lab paper.

As soon as Bambina heard the doctor say, "blood test" she immediately began saying, 'I'm not doing that. I'm not doing that. I'm not doing that," as if repetition would make the grownups say, "Oh, okay. Never mind, since you're not doing that." I felt rather bad for her because it took the doctor some time to fill out the green form after having uttered the B word. So the threat was just hanging over her for a good five to six minutes as we sat there watching him write, during which time she kept alternating between, "Mama, do I have to get a needle?" and "I'm not doing that." When he finally finished the sheet, we walked to the lab. Cue the tears, the begging, the pleading. At the lab we encountered MORE waiting, which only gave Bambina more time to perseverate on her impending needle-induced doom, which made her cry louder, start screaming and swaying and generally just lose her shit in the waiting area.

When we were finally called, all hell broke loose. She ran for it. I had to drop my purse and chase after her, I kid you not. Then when I fireman-carried her back, I sat her on my knee in the lab chair. She thrashed and rocked and screamed like she was being abducted. I swear to god, I have never seen her so insane, so feral in my entire life. I had my arms all the way around her body and arms, with her legs stuck behind my legs so she would stop kicking the (rather useless with children, might I add) phlebotomist lady. It was hell on earth. She thrashed so hard I had to let go of her for fear that I might actually break her arm if I held on. I decided that today was not our day and said that we'd return when our heads weren't spinning 360 degrees and we weren't barfing pea soup on a priest.

I realized as we drove home (with an exhausted Bambina slumped asleep in her car seat) that I had violated the Prime Directive of Raising Bambina: No Surprises. This child can do anything if she is mentally prepared. Need to remove a splinter? I have to talk her through it for 15 minutes before she'll let me do it. The entire time I'm saying, "My love, if you'll just let me near your finger we can have this done in 10 seconds..." But she can't and won't do it. She needs to process it and accept it before she can let it happen. Then and only then can I take my 10 seconds and remove the splinter. Same with the dentist. We went for an x-ray and all of a sudden they had her in a chair to do a filling. I could see her Capital F freaking out and I told the dentist we'd come back another day. I'm sure they thought I was some indulgent mother feeding her child's fears, but the truth is that I just simply know what my kid can handle. That filling was not going to happen. One way or another, Bambina was going to sabotage that situation, and I didn't want it to happen post-novocaine or god forbid mid-needle.

But I forgot all of that until my child went rogue at the doctor's office and I painfully realized my error. So we went back two days later. I'm not going to insult your intelligence and say that she was happy, but having had a couple of days to process it, she accepted that this was her fate, that the blood would be taken. She still screamed, but did not kick and thrash. I told her not to look at the needle, to look at me, and to count all the way to 100, because if we made it to 100 we were going to the gift shop to buy one of those cool-looking $2.50 starfish she had been coveting. So there we were, me: "eleven, twelve..." Her: "THIRTEEEEN! FOURTEEEEN! Whimper! Scream! FIFTEEEEEEEEEEEN!" It was still a scene. But not a rout.

I dealt with the whole blood situation with a mixture of shock, horror and pride. I was shocked at the intensity of her reaction and of her physical resistance. I was horrified that she was running--RUNNING--away from me, screaming, in public. I was proud of her because (as I said to the BBDD that night) "this kid is not going down without a fight." Think about it. This 30 pound child outwitted, outlasted and outthrashed two grown adults. Two adults could not hold her. She was like Rodney King on PCP. I was proud because it spoke to a survival instinct; one that I never want her to lose. I told the BBDD, when the revolution comes, this child will not be against the wall. She will pummel the damn wall down and run for the hills. She will survive where others perish, because if this is how she reacts to 80 seconds of a needle, I can't fathom what she's got up her sleeve for something truly serious.

I have a little notebook in which I write to her, about her. It contains all of her first words, her first steps, and other milestones she'll perhaps want to know when she's older. In today's entry, I told her this story and finished with:

"When some people see you, they will see a cute, sweet, tiny, petite pretty girl. Those people will underestimate you at their peril." I sure did.

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