I opted out of school photos this year. I KNOW. I’m such a rebel! Every year, I get guilted into it, thinking, what kind of mother am I if I don’t participate in this timeless childhood tradition and capture every single one of my little ones’ school years with dozens of identical, retro-looking staged photos? A smart one, that’s what.
I refuse to believe that in this day and age of digital photos, filters, and cloud technology, there is no better system than pre-paying for a photo that you see for the first time weeks later, when it’s too late to do a damn thing about that crazy cowlick or visible booger. I have drawers full of overpriced photo packets missing one or two 5×7’s that I sent to the grandparents. I’m done with it, I tell you. I’d rather pay for one of those professional family photo shoots of us frolicking through a meadow or something.
The next thing I’m bitter about is daylight savings time. I HATE it. I have never understood the point of it. Farmers? Crops? Whatever. For urban families with young children, it’s absolute hell. It gets dark now at 5 p.m. 5 P.M.!! That means that our desperately needed afterschool outdoor playtime gets cut drastically short, forcing us inside before anyone has expended even a fraction of their pent-up energy.
Before I know it, I’m serving dinner at 5:15, we’re done with homework, baths, and books by 7 p.m., I’m serving a SECOND meal because everyone is hungry again, and we’re twiddling our thumbs and getting on each other’s nerves because we are still nowhere NEAR bedtime. It’s a broken system, people.
Lastly, I am bitter about flu shots. Look, I’m beyond grateful to live in a place with easy access to excellent healthcare. With that disclaimer, let me just say that taking my children to get shots is one of my all-time least favorite parenting duties, ranking below cleaning vomit off of Thomas the Tank Engine sheets and above taking an infant’s temperature rectally.
This year, I tried to take the easy way out: the kids’ school was offering the flu mist to anyone who wanted it. I filled out the forms and returned them the same day: done! Then came the bad news: there was a shortage of flu mist and the school wouldn’t be getting it till at least December, if at all. I couldn’t wait and chance it. So I called around to the pediatrician, walk-in clinics, everywhere. No mist.
With no choice but to get the shots, I decided there was strength in numbers and that the element of surprise could work in my favor. So I picked up the kids after school, whisked them straight to the clinic, and announced that all of us would be getting our flu shots right then and there. I really should have waited till everyone was strapped into the car because my 6yo took off running through the parking lot, wailing and sobbing.
Once I caught up with him, it took all my strength to drag him into the clinic. It was ugly. I would NOT like to see the security camera footage of that incident. So we made our way loudly and tearfully to the front desk, where it took them — NO JOKE — 40 freaking minutes to check our insurance and fill out our paperwork, even though we were the only patients there. You’re KILLING me, Rite Aid RediClinic!
Well, 40 min. with an anxious, irate first-grader who needs a snack is like 6 hours of jury duty sitting next to someone with B.O. on the scale of unpleasantness. When we were finally brought back to the exam room, my brave fourth-grader volunteered to go first. Thank god for that kid. If I’d had TWO runners … Next up was me. BTW, I also hate shots. For a while, I would faint every single time I got one. I once ended up in the ER with a lump on my head the size of a kiwi. Now you know why I don’t give blood.
But I’m a mom now so I’m not allowed to do selfish things like have an involuntary physical response to needles. I sucked it up and got my shot. By this time, my 6yo son was shaking and rending his garments. He was actually trying to hide inside his shirt. Kicking and more wailing ensued. I forcibly restrained him as the nurse – who was at this point writing her resignation letter in her head – poked him with the dreaded needle.
Afterwards, when our heart rates had returned to normal and I’d pacified everybody with processed snacks, you know what that child said? “I barely even felt anything.” I can’t even …
But when I was putting him to bed, he told me something else. Apparently, his class motto is “Do hard things.” The teacher goes around the room and asks the students to share any hard things they’ve done that week. He would share the Flu Shot Story, he said. He seemed pretty psyched about it, actually. So there you have it, the positive outcome to a truly horrendous experience. BTW, that flu shot hurt like hell. Where’s my cookie?