My little guy had to go to the Doctor today. This was his first time being at the doctor in a year and 3 weeks. I consider this amazing as we all know how often kids get ear infections, stomach bugs, etc and it seems when kids are young doctor visits are a constant thing. We have been extremely blessed with Grant's health and that is not in the least bit taken for granted. I am thankful for it every day.
I have struggled with how to approach doctor visits with Grant. Whether to tell him as little as possible or explain everything and risk him getting scared and throwing a fit. Since his previous trips were so long ago I knew he didn't remember what going to the doctor entailed, and I could never fully explain everything for him to understand due to his age.
This trip was different. Grant talks all the time and understands so much more now that he is 3. I originally thought he was all caught up on shots and this would be a routine, "how's he doing", visit. Then we got there and found he needed a few different immunizations. I immediately started trying to decide if it's better for a child not to know or be warned ahead of time. I opted to tell him he was going to get shots. I thought maybe if he knew he wouldn't fight it and would trust what I tell him in regards to future visits. I explained every aspect of shots even that they would hurt. I told him they felt a little like when Sophie pinches him. I even warned him he was going to have to lay down because for some reason he starts to freak out a little when he has to lay down and someone he doesn't know is near him.
To my surprise he handled all the information great. He asked questions, "why do I have to get a shot?" to which my answer was "because these shots make us not get sick". "Why do they have to give me a shot in my leg?", to which my answer was "because little boys and girls have small arms and the shots would hurt more if they gave them to you in the arm". Even forewarned he didn't like laying down (no tantrum about it though) and he cried when they were finished. It breaks my heart every time but I try not to make a big to-do about it. I love on him a minute letting him know I understand then quickly try to get his mind off of it after letting him know how great he did. For him calling his dad and telling him all about it always makes everything better.
Now he complains of his legs hurting and wants me to hold his hand for a minute to make him feel better. It's one of the sweetest things. He is growing so fast and has such a unique personality. I think every mom struggles with how to tell their kids things. Obviously a doctor visit and shots is a small stepping stone to the many other much more important bigger conversations we will have but I think it's important to let Grant know I will tell him the truth even when he may not like it. I don't ever want him to feel like I won't give him the whole story.
I think sometimes we under estimate our kids and what they can handle because we so desperately want to protect them. This trip reminded me how quickly Grant is growing up and how important it is to start early talking to him, explaining things, and discussing things.