Wednesday, April 22, 2015


The sound of crayons being digested slowly crackled in the background, and the smell of rubber nipples was tangible through the phone.

“You have to come with me,” the voice said. 

“Yeah, okay sure.” I made a wild guess and assumed I was speaking to my oldest daughter, Heather, who needed me to go somewhere with her to do something. “Where, when, and why?”

“The Doctor’s. Monday. Because I took the kids with me to vote and people kept glaring at me and mumbling the word ‘babysitter’ like a voodoo curse.”

“How’d the kids do?”

“Great, I threatened them with death and told them if they were loud they’d get thrown out. They wanted to know if we were going to the library.”

“Okay then, a trip to the doctor’s office on Monday, you and the gang.”

“And Mom, we’re all getting flu shots . . .”


By the time we barreled the double stroller past the elevators and into the doctor’s office, the only kid not suspicious was Zachary (aged three months.) Zachary was busy doing his baby lemur impression.

Conner (aged four) was the first to formulate a theory.

“I hate shots. I will try [cry].”

Zoe (aged six) smelled a rat with a hypodermic. Zoe had dressed herself in an orange ball cap, rainbow knee socks, purple striped skirt and matching shirt, fuzzy boots, and green messenger bag. It’s hard to get one over on Zoe.

“Are we getting a shot today, Mom?”

Heather wrestled Kip (aged two) out of his clothes for his physical and said, “Yep!”

And the plotting began.

Conner talked me into taking him to the potty, which he claimed was not the “right” potty and that he needed another potty, presumably by the elevators or Atlanta.

I stood in the hallway arguing with a four-year old. “Conner I’m pretty sure that is a potty; I recognize a toilet when I see one.”

Conner’s doctor walked by and said, “That’s the restroom, lady. Careful, you may have a runner; I predict he’s going for a high speed escape.”

“What’s escape mean?” Conner asked.

“It means to run away.”

“Let’s try that, YaYa.”

Zoe suggested we turn the lights out and stay really quiet. Conner crawled into the diaper bag compartment of the stroller and started to eat pretzels and babble. Zoe climbed under a chair and attached herself to it like a limpet. Kip spun himself in circles until he fell over. The baby drifted off to sleep in the middle of flu shot hysteria.

“See why you needed to come with us?”


We talked Conner into being brave by telling him that Uncle Aric, who is a soldier, gets shots all the time. In fact, he’s had so many shots he’s going to be the only one in our family who survives the influenza zombie apocalypse. True fact. We did not tell Conner that bit.

Heather tried to pry Zoe out from under the chair, but she’d already started to secrete a hard coral shell. I went in for the capture, but Zoe kicked me with her fuzzy boots and sent me rolling across the floor like a brittle marble. It took two large bodied nurses, one YaYa, and her mom to get her flu free. She screamed her head off and acted like an idiot.

Conner got to play computer games with Poppy for being brave.

When Zoe wanted to know why she didn’t get to go play video games too, her mother said, “Because you screamed your head off, acted like an idiot, and you kicked people with your fuzzy boots.”

Zoe countered with, “I was screaming for my life.”

Man oh man, there’s a lot of that going around. I hope it’s not catching.

Linda (Flu Shot Approved) Zern

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