My name is Jen. I have a contagiously funny husband, three awesomely gorgeous daughters, a knack for design, a love for writing, an obsession with kids fashion, a secret desire to be a photographer and a curfew of 10 pm. WHO'S WITH ME?
OTHER PLACES I HANG OUT
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Being 5 is almost as hard as being 35. Except it’s not even close.
My sweet little 5 year-old mini-me isn’t overly sensitive. She doesn’t get upset over things like me telling her that she can’t have the latest Lalaloopsy doll or over another child cutting in front of her at a birthday party or even if she falls flat on her face while riding her bike. Generally speaking, she picks up and just keeps going. (Sometimes with bandaids. Most times with chocolate.)
However, if there is one thing she DOES do, it’s sensationalize to the point of panic.
I know that I am 100% responsible for this trait in her. My imagination hasn’t always lent to keeping me sane. I can’t walk to my car at night in the Target parking lot without rehearsing, in my brain, 6 different ways to silence an attacker. My head just goes there. So, if you’re going to Target alone at night, you better hope you’re going with me. Because I am a secretly trained ninja. Or maybe just insane. This amazing personality trait came from my father. So, really, I have him to blame for what happened on our car ride home today.
We had to take a ride to Chapel View to bring my sister something at her office and there was a RI Blood Center mobile unit parked in the lot. The girls spotted it right away and the ensuing conversation went something like this.
Lily: What’s that? A cotton candy place?
Me: No, that’s a blood donation unit. Why did you think it was a cotton candy place? Because it looks like the things at festivals that give out cotton candy?
Lily: No, because there’s candies on it that make cotton candy.
(Realizing that there are huge images of lifesavers plastered across the vehicle, I chuckled a bit and thought the conversation was over.)
Averi: What do they do in there?
Me: They take blood from you so that it can be donated to someone else who needs it.
Averi: Why does someone need blood?
Me: Sometimes, sick people might need some extra blood to help them get better. So that’s who the blood goes to.
Averi: How do they take the blood out of you.
Me: They use a small needle.
Averi: Where does it go after they use a needle?
Me: They attach a tube to the needle and collect it.
Averi: How do they get the blood inside another person?
Me: They do the same thing, pretty much. Use a needle and tube to put it in them.
I glance back and I see the tears forming.
Me: Are you OK? What’s the matter?
Averi: (shaky voice) I don’t want them to take my blood.
Me: No one is going to take your blood. You’re not old enough to give blood and it’s something that people do because they want to, not because they have to. You don’t have to. Are you OK? Why are you so sad?
Averi: (crying pretty hard): I’m so sad right now, mommy. WHY ARE THEY GOING TO TAKE BLOOD OUT OF ME?? Did you ever share your blood????
Me: Sweetie, no one is going to take blood out of you. Yes, I used to share my blood because I wanted to help sick people who needed it. It’s not a scary thing- it’s a great thing to do. But, I was an adult and decided for myself. I promise no one is going to make you share your blood.
Averi: (barely audible, hardly able to breathe) THEY PUT A NEEDLE IN YOU? THEY’RE GONNA PUT A NEEDLE IN ME, TOO. THEY’RE GONNA CUT OFF MY ARM TO GET THE BLOOD.
Lily: Averi, relax! It’s just a tiny needle. They don’t cut arms. You’re giving me a headache.
Me: Averi, didn’t I just say that they can’t take blood out of you without you wanting them to, plus, YOU’RE A KID. I promise I won’t let anyone make you share your blood. They don’t make you do that, anyway.
Averi: THEY’RE GONNA DO IT AT SCHOOL WHEN YOU’RE NOT THERE. THEY’RE GONNA PUT NEEDLES IN ME AND WHAT IF THEY CUT OFF MY ARM AND MAKE ME GIVE BLOOD? WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BLOOD AFTER THEY TAKE IT? DO YOU DIE?
Me: No, you don’t die! Your body is so cool that it just makes new blood. Honey, I PROMISE. Mommy won’t let anyone ever do that to you.
Averi: (Through never-ending tears): You made me get a blood test when I was a kid at the doctor. You made me do it.
Me: (shit, this kid remembers far more than I have ever.) That was a blood test to make sure you didn’t have anything in your body that would make you sick. That was so that I’d know you didn’t need any medicine.
Averi: I CAN’T BREATHE. MOMMY, I CAN’T BREATHE. I’M SO SAD. I DON’T WANT THEM TO TAKE MY BLOOD. I WANT TO COME SIT UP NEXT TO YOU WHILE YOU DRIVE.
Me: You can’t come up here to sit–you’re too young. You have to be 12 to sit in the front seat. (Which I made up on the spot. I have no idea how old you have to be to sit in the front seat. I sometimes make shit up when under pressure of the interrogation.)
Averi: HOW OLD IS DENNIS?
Me: Dennis, who?
Averi: THE MENACE. HE SITS UP FRONT. MOMMY, I. CAN’T. BREATHE.
At this point, I thougth I was going to have to pull over to calm her down. Just as I was signaling to get off the road, she spoke again.
Averi: Mom, did you know there was a glitch in Wreck-it Ralph and there were three mean ones and they said the glitch couldn’t race. Lily, do you wanna see The Croods at the movies? Mommy, when does The Croods come out?
Lily: Yes, Averi. But only if mommy comes.
And, just like that, the blood bath ended and we resumed regularly scheduled programming.
CHUCK COELHO, I’M LOOKING AT YOU.