Today my daughter has a well-child doctor appointment. She’s healthy, growing well. She finally eats more nutritious things so I think I can say with confidence we’re out of the phase when the only fruit or veggie she’d eat was applesauce and the occasional banana. I have no doubt that she’ll get a glowing report of her progress since her last well-child check up.

The problem is kindergarten.

Princess Teacup starts kindergarten next month.

Unless you’re a conscientious objector and fill out the correct forms, all kids must have their immunizations up to date in order to start kindergarten.

Immunizations mean shots.

There’s no “maybe” about it. I know for a fact that she’s due for them and that she’ll get the shots (probably four) today at the appointment.

When I mentioned it to her in passing two weeks ago — you know, just let her know the possibility of shots was out there for her as part of the milestone of starting kindergarten — she turned red and tears filled her eyes. She promptly ran to her room, hid under her covers and shouted, “I just want to be alone right now!”

You can see why I haven’t brought it up again.

Princess Teacup on bike

This has made me weigh different options in my mind. Princess Teacup has two older brothers, and in the past I’ve tried to keep them informed of what to expect, how to handle getting a shot, etc. with a lot of lead time so they could get used to the idea and we could talk about how to get through it.

That didn’t work so well.

The oldest specifically said he wished he hadn’t know about the shots until they were about to do them. This comes from a kid who tends to worry, so by the time the shots came, he had built up the event until it was a scheduled amputation rather than a round of immunizations.

I think I’ve tried to block it from my memory but if I try hard I can remember a couple nurses holding him down during that appointment.

Things with the second are a little foggy, but I’m pretty sure I told him about his appointment a few days before. I remember saying I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but shots were a possibility. I felt a little more comfortable with some fuzziness around the edges of truth on that one (I knew full well he was going to need shots) but not all the way willing to tell him he wasn’t going to get shots.

Princess Teacup is our last person to enter kindergarten. Will I lie and assure her she will not need shots as we enter the clinic? Will I soothe her with falsehood as we sit in the waiting room and watch the fish tank? Will I look her in the eye and feign shock when, during the appointment, the nurse or doctor informs us immunizations are necessary?

It’s a strong possibility.

One thing I’m totally sure of: there will be huge amounts of ice cream afterwards. I’ll bring her favorite stuffed animal to the doctor’s office so she’ll have it if she wants it. I’ll have suckers in my purse and she can play games on my phone all she wants.

Bribery? Guilt offering? Soothing my guilty conscience?


But I’m okay with that…for today.

Do you have any vivid memories of getting shots as a kid? If you have kids, how do they handle difficult doctor’s appointments? Concerning stressful events, do you think it is better for kids to have a lot of information ahead of time or not much, and why?