Thursday, September 6, 2012

Brave Jacob At 4 Years Old

This morning my big boy had his 4 year check-up. I told him before hand that he might have to get shots. I was expecting screams and protests but, instead, he looked at me and said, "It's ok. I'll be brave. I'll only cry for one minute!"

Jacob watched Ryan get his shots last month. I think this helped a lot. He had remembered that Ryan only cried for "one minute" and that Ryan got sparkly band-aids at the end.

Jacob was so sweet when we arrived. He's usually really outgoing and will approach strangers and volunteer the most random facts about himself. But lately, he's been showing us a shy streak. When Spiderman came to his birthday party, he BEAMED from ear to ear. But he was SO SHY. He just looked up at Spiderman with a perma-smile and stared. But he refused to talk. He was this way today for both the doctor and the nurse.

He was a very good listener and did everything the nurse asked...until the nurse asked him to stick his tongue out and say "ahhh." At first, he only complied with the first half of this request and wouldn't say "ahhh." He was too shy to do it alone, so we both did it together. It was really funny. Then we followed the nurse to a separate room where they checked his vision and hearing. He was supposed to look through a box and tell the nurse when he saw animals. He saw the animals but was too shy to talk. The nurse had to coax it out of him. Who is this quiet boy?!? Certainly not my Jake!

We got back and Jacob had to change into a gown. He looked skeptical at first. But I told him it was a costume and that made things go much more smoothly. He played nicely with his legos and talked with me while we waited for the doctor.

When the doctor arrived, at my initiation, Jacob told her all about Spiderman with great enthusiasm. Tangent: by the way, I absolutely LOVE our doctor so much! I lucked out and just went with the doctor on call the day Jacob was born. I did ZERO research and had ZERO stress over the whole thing and we ended up with an amazing doctor, who I just discovered, also raised a boy. She is very down to earth and understands my philosophy of parenting-- stress-free and child-led rather than complying with a set of strict guidelines.

The doctor told us that at 37 pounds and 40 inches, Jacob is in the 50-75th percentile for both weight and height. Then when the doc wasn't looking, I snuck Ryan on the scale. He topped off at 16.5 pounds :)

After the doctor did her thing, the nurse returned with Jacob's shots. I leaned over Jacob as he lay on the exam table. We started to read a book as the nurse got her needles ready. After making it past one page of the Lion King, Jacob let out a yelp as the first needle went. Then a second, third, and fourth needle. He whined and his eyes filled with tears. In that moment, I had flashbacks to Jacob's babyhood. When baby Jacob got his shots, I would lean over him much the same as I was doing then, gently hold his hands, and watch sadly as his eyes filled with tears and he let out a cry. How can this tall, leggy boy be that same baby?

As Jacob predicted, he only cried for one minute after his shots. Then he put on a brave face as he limped out of the exam room (he said his legs hurt- poor guy). He got to pick out 4 stickers, one for each shot. Before I knew it, he was cheerily chatting up the receptionist and telling her all about Spiderman. I can't get over how sweet and brave he was today. Man, I love that kid.

Since Jacob turned four one short week ago, I've already noticed amazing behavioral changes in him. Jacob was an easy 2 year old. Too easy, in fact. I let out a huge sigh of relief when he turned 3, thinking we had escaped the terrible twos, unscathed. I was feeling very smug about having an awesome kid when the terrible threes hit. Oh man, I was IN for it. Three was a very trying and challenging age. Many times I thought my sweet boy had been consumed by a monster, never to be seen again. But, as soon as he turned 4, the temperamental tide changed, BIG TIME. It was as if a light flipped overnight and my sweet boy returned to me.

Maybe it's wrong, but I really like this whole new shyness thing. When he's feeling shy, overwhelmed, or uncomfortable, Jacob looks to me for comfort and guidance. His big green eyes catch mine and seem to say, "Help me Mommy. Show me it's ok. Be with me." I love that. It's proof that my tough guy still needs me.

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