Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fade to Black

Oh, the drama.

The emotion…the mixed signals….the hidden agenda.

The endless, endless questions.

I thought childhood was known as the simpler time…or was that just our childhoods??

Today was Connor’s dreaded mandatory physical exam before being allowed the honorary privilege of setting an 11-year-old foot in the hallowed halls of the local middle school.

He’s known about this appointment for about a month now. With my usual attention to detail, I’d completely ignored the first two notices the school district sent home reminding parents that this physical was mandatory, due to the requirement of several immunizations that the State of New York has deemed mandatory by age 11.

Did I mention that it’s mandatory?

Did you know that the State of New York knows how to write some pretty persuasive reminder letters?

The first one was pretty typical fare… “The purpose of this letter…reminder of requirement of mandatory immunizations for children who are 11 years of age…." yada-yada…..whatever.

The second one was a duplicate of the first one, which I’d stapled to “whenever” in my dayrunner, which is how I know it was an exact duplicate...‘cause now I had two. (On a side note, there’s a small, carefully written note in my handwriting that says “-Galves-FAIR-” on the bottom of the second notice. Anyone with a clue as to what this might mean is urged to contact me asap.)

The third one reiterated the first two, but included words like “…will exclude any student not meeting guidelines…..” and “…necessary for public safety…” and “…we strongly urge you to…” yada-yada.

Crap. FINE.

Of course, Connor’s pediatrician was booked through the end of the year…so I had to play the “get out of jail free” card, otherwise known as the “I’ve interviewed you twice for child-related articles and now it’s payback time, buddy” card. (I do not in any way shape or form condone this method of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants parenting…it should be reserved for emergency purposes only.)

The whole car ride over, Connor couldn't stop talking. He claimed to not be nervous, but he was suddenly ravenous for answers to some pretty monumental questions. He wanted to know why I thought the sky was blue. I thought I did a pretty good job of fudging the answer with something about the sky being a reflection of the deep blue sea, which I said covers something like 90% of the Earth’s surface, give or take, yada-yada.

He counters with something about "light refraction off water molecules"….says that’s what Mr. Jeannotte taught them in science. “So…why are you asking me then?!” I exclaim testily. He doesn’t bother with a response, but wails something about them “taking his precious blood”, then seamlessly dissolves into a rant about how this has “nothing to do with MY health…they’re just interested in everyone else’s safety”.

I’m looking at him with more than a little alarm when I realize we’ve arrived at the doctor's office. Of course, we were kept waiting for approximately 40 minutes in the (duh) waiting room, during which time we played “identify the contents of Mom’s purse” and an interesting game of Hangman, with Connor’s game resulting in the line “It’s my blood”…something that took me almost every letter of the alphabet to decipher.

By the time we hit the inner waiting room, he was DONE. I chose this time to activate the MP3 capability on my cellphone and then broke into spontaneous dance during "Accidently In Love" by Counting Crows. The doctor picked this moment to enter the room, causing Connor even further eternal humiliation.

A heavy debate ensued between Connor and the doctor on the merits (versus the ramifications) of contracting both the Chicken Pox and diphtheria, respectively. If anyone could have made a convincing case for “taking his chances” on both it would have been my son....although in the end, New York State got its way.

One physical examination and two immunizations later, he was deemed healthy and ready for the torture of middle school.

On the way home, we passed Wajmar and I offered to buy him pants….he was not amused.

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