Today was a day for performances.
I was having a nice breakfast with some girls from work this morning. As clearly this is not the sort of thing life thinks I should be allowed to enjoy, a car slowed down outside the cafe and beeped. It was Tracey and my five youngest kids.
“We’re off to get some blood tests,” she told me cheerfully. Miss9, Master8 and Miss6 are each being looked at for gluten intolerance and the doc thought a good place to start was by draining them of their life’s blood. I felt a little dizzy myself but I know my daddy duties.
“I’ll just let the girls know and I’ll meet you there,” I said.
“I’ll be fine,” said Tracey.
I looked in the backseat. Master8’s bottom lip was already shivering and he was gently rocking back and forth, his eyes pleading through the window at me with an adorable ‘save me, Daddy’ look on his face.
“Really? What are you basing that on?”
It certainly wasn’t any past blood tests any of my kids have had. We have a bit of a reputation up at the clinic. Even as we walk up to the automatic doors to go in I can usually see the receptionist pick up the phone and call in some reinforcements. Sadly, it’s not just our kids who have helped build this reputation. I started it long before they came along. One of my most humiliating moments was when a nurse asked me if I was going to faint. It wasn’t her asking which embarrassed me so much as realizing I’d never considered passing out as an option and suddenly I’d have given my left nut to be able to do it.
Tracey glanced in the mirror and saw Master8 was starting to lose it. “Maybe you should come,” she conceded.
Unfortunately, my kids phobias aren’t helped by the fact they have bad veins. The nurses were ‘pumping’ the blood our with the needles because it just wasn’t flowing in properly. In fact, between the three kids there was only one good vein, and that was on the second arm they tried of poor, little Miss6.
Even before they stuck a needle into Master8 he’d developed another tick – his legs were jiggering like they were keeping beat with a fast song, sped up.
“Settle down,” I told him. The last thing my kids need are new ticks and twitches. They’re odd enough.
“I don’t want to settle down,” he replied. “They’re going to stick a needle in my arm! They’re going to make me bleed. On purpose! If I said I was going to make someone bleed on purpose at school they’d send me home. I want to go home.”
Thankfully the nurses were very good and knew just what to say.
“This is going to hurt,” they assured him.
And from the performance he gave I can only assume they were right.
‘Best Backflip’ award of the day goes to Miss6, for her almost seamless transition from ‘It’s only a needle’ to ‘ARE YOU CRAZY! IT’S A NEEDLE!!’ with nothing but the screams from down the hall where the nurses were (assuming, from the noise) killing her brother brokering the change.
The only child who wanted a blood test really, really bad was Miss3, who was quite put out at not being allowed into the torture chamber like her big brother and sisters. Although I assume this was due to a number of factors, such as each of her older siblings coming out with lolly pops clutched in their trembling hands, and her not understanding, at all, what a blood test is.
Still, even without a needle, she managed to out scream and out perform her older siblings and trust me, that was no mean trick. We finally settled her down by promising a blood test just as soon as we can find an excuse for her to have one.
I can’t wait to remind her. Neither can her brother and sisters.
I probably won’t get to finish my breakfast that morning either.
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