Come on scientists, you’re a clever bunch. I mean, I have a kettle at home which keeps itself hot enough to make a cup of nice tea long after it’s boiled, so what I’m calling for should be easy.
“I’m not going to high school,” Master10 told me, his arms folded tightly across his chest.
“You can’t just go straight to uni,” I reminded him. “You have to do high school first.”
“I’m not going,” he repeated. “And you can’t make me.”
It was a bit of an overreaction to a bit of a bad day his bigger sister was having. She’d arrived at the car dragging her bag and teary.
“Oh my God,” I said as she settled into the seat behind me. “What’s happened?”
Already I was playing through scenarios in my head which involved a shovel – I don’t like it when people make my kids cry.
In this particular case, however, I’d let my imagination run ahead of reality.
Adjusting the mirror I framed my girl so we could talk with a bit of eye contact. She was looking miserable.
“I got a needle,” she said.
“Oh,” I said, facing the front, adjusting the mirror back and starting the car. “Is that all?”
“Is that all!” squawked Master10. “A needle, Dad. She got a needle!” He turned in his seat to face Miss12. “Are you okay?”
This was just about the most concern he’s ever displayed for his sister. Needles is something he totally has empathy for.
“It hurts,” said Miss12.
“Was it a tetanus shot?” I asked. They’re my personal bugbear. Why haven’t they developed something which doesn’t leave your arm feeling like it’s been slammed with a bat? A tablet would be nice. Or eyedrops. A nasal spray. I’ll accept a suppository. I can only hope there’s a team of scientists working back night after night in a lab somewhere to fix this global indictment of the medical profession.
“It wasn’t,” said Miss12. “It was HPV or something.”
“Well, I don’t want it,” said Master10. “Look at her. She’s in pain!”
“It’s only one needle,” I said.
“There’s six altogether,” said Miss12 helpfully.
“SIX!” moaned Master10 loudly. He was rocking now.
But I had some good news for my boy.
“You’re a bit of a princess,” I assured him, “but you don’t have a cervix so you don’t need to have the HPV vaccination.”
He clearly didn’t understand what I was getting at, but his face was cautiously hopeful.
“It’s only for girls,” Miss12 finished for me.
“Oh,” said Master10 as that sunk in. He stopped rocking, unfolded his arms and chuckled in a guilty I looked a bit silly then didn’t I sort of way. “Well that’s okay then.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. Disaster averted.
“Yeah, that one is only for girls,” said Miss12, and from the smile on her face I could see not only was she fully expecting to enjoy this next bit, she’d also suddenly forgotten her arm was sore, “but the other five needles are for everyone.”
“FIVE!” screamed Master10, his arms forming a trucker’s hitch across his chest again. And then he effectively declared under the heading Education on his resume it would read Completed Year Six and not the degree in Astronomy he was recently so keen to consider- high school was now officially off the table for him.
You’ve got eleven months, you sciency types. I suggest you stop wasting your time trying to prove or disprove that silly string theory nonsense none of us can see, let along understand, and start working on those vaccination delivery alternatives.
I’ve done all I can. No pressure, but my son’s chances of getting into university now depend on you.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”