Treat time

No one likes going to the doctor for shots, but I'm lucky that, so far, Nora doesn't protest too strongly.

She's always a little nervous going in -- her only doctor visits in recent memory have been for checkups (thank goodness), which means she's gotten shots every time. So in her mind, doctor = shots. She gets fussy before the shot, then cries lustily during and for a few seconds after it, but then she settles down by the time the band-aid is on and seems to have totally forgotten it by the time we get back to the car.

I know other kids don't recover so quickly, so I try to reward and reinforce her courage with treats after our doctor visits. At Nora's age (2 1/2), treats are simple. Treats are whatever thing she's been talking about constantly that day. So on our checkup day last week, the treat was making her lunchtime milk chocolate milk, which provoked squeals -- actual squeals! -- of delight.

And it brought a smile to my face, too, because it reminded me of post-vaccination treats I used to get from my mom.

I can't say I remember what the treats were when I was Nora's age, but when I was elementary-school age, the tradition became a trip to McDonald's for a milkshake. I was probably too cool by then for squeals of delight, but I do remember being excited about that milkshake all day, and savoring it in the moment, and being happy about it clear through to bedtime that night.

And even then I knew it wasn't the milkshake itself that was the best part. My family didn't eat fast food a whole lot, but it wasn't so rare that the post-doctor visits were the only time I had those milkshakes (which even then I think I knew weren't all that great, in the grand scheme of things).

I think what I basked in most was the one-on-one time with my mom and the knowledge that she was proud of me. So I hope Nora got a little taste of that, too, while she was guzzling her chocolate milk.

To this day, by the way, I crave a reward after I get any kind of shot. My mom lives several states away, so unfortunately I have to treat myself. But I do, every time. And sometimes it's even a McDonald's milkshake.