November 22, 2006

The Age of Not Believing

Have you ever tried to explain a rectal thermometer (sight unseen) to a three-year old?

I have, and it doesn't work.

The background: last week we took Emily in for her checkup, and Laura was going to get a flu shot. They were both (well, all four of us were!) sick--and the nurse wanted to verify that, in fact, we were dealing with fevers--so she used one of those quicky ear thermometers on Laura. She's never seen one in action (well, maybe when she had to go to the ER as a baby, but not since then). They had the fevers, they didn't get shots, we rescheduled that part.

Monday we're driving home from practice, having one of our long car conversations ("Mommy, don't drive FAST. You're going TOO FAST!" Not, mind you, because she doesn't like the speed, but she knows that if I'm too focused on driving--as when I need to go 55 or so--that I'm not going to talk very much.) We were talking about how we needed to go back to the doctor's office today to get the shots that were postponed, and she said she was scared of the doctor's office. We established that it was "the ear thingy" that she didn't like--it beeped at her, after all!

So I was explaining that it was a thermometer, just like the one we have at home (which generally gets used under the arm, though we tried having her hold it under her tongue just for kicks a few weeks ago). "The monitor?" "Thermometer." Since I was only doing 45 or so, I went on to explain that there are lots of different kinds of thermometers, and that sometimes--especially with babies, there are some that go "right into your poo-poo."

This is where the conversation broke down.

"No, mama, that's not right. You don't put the monitor in the baby's poo-poo!"

"Really, they do. Sometimes babies are too wiggly, or they need to get a really accurate temperature, so they do take their temperature that way."

"NO! Mama, you don't put the temperature in the poo-poo! You WIPE the poo-poo."

And so it goes.

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