Shots for Mario

Mario made it through his shots yesterday…barely. You would have thought he was undergoing major surgery. Jon and I debated about whether to tell him the night before: Jon was adamant against telling him and I was for it. Of course, I did it and Mario had a complete meltdown. He threw himself in my arms and pleaded for us not to take him. Patty got to witness the insanity since she spent the night with us. I can’t believe how anxious and stressed he gets over shots. For being Mr. Tough in every other area, he sure takes a hit in this area.

I rubbed his back and scratched his arm (he loves when I scratch from the top of his arm all the way to his fingertips) and he eventually went to sleep.

The next morning he woke to the fear of heading to the doctor. He again pleaded to not go for another week. He cried to Patty hoping she’d intervene (which she would have if he didn’t absolutely need his shots). We let him play on the iPad until we had to leave.

“I want everyone to come with me” he begged as we got ready. So Jon, Patty, Maria and I all went down to the doc’s office. He went back and forth between Patty and me while waiting to head back – looking pathetic as ever.


Meanwhile, Maria sprawled out on the couch and gave Mario orders to get her water to try to take his mind off of the shots. When he brought Patty and I water and none for her, she exclaimed “What?! None for your big sis?!”


We walked back to the room and as soon as we stepped in, Mario cried and begged to leave. Maria again tried to calm him down by pointing at the used needles and saying “Look Mario, the needles aren’t that big!” Way to go Ri. He cried harder.

Jon promised him $5 if he made it through being a brave boy.

The nurses came in and had Jon sit on the table and bear hug Mario. I stood behind Mario and held his elbows. Mario wailed. He pleaded “let me tell you one thing!” He told them to wait a second. They did. Then he pleaded “let me tell you one more thing.” They did. He asked if the shots would hurt. We reiterated that they would be over quickly. He pleaded again “let me tell you one more thing!” We said “this is it Mario. What is it?” He looked at Jon with big old tears and said “I don’t know I just want one more thing.” He knows how to procrastinate.

The nurses and Jon and I caught eyes and knew it was time and boom – shots in both arms and we were done! They put band-aids on and it was over… but not for Mario. He wailed on the floor and on the table about how much his arms hurt. Then, after the drama and as Jon was about to leave, he sniffles out “where is my money?”

We knew we were back to the old Mario.

Splinters, shot, needles, oh my

Round two on the splinter front yesterday. Sweet sweet Mario is ridiculously scared of anything sharp – needles, tweezers, shots…if it’s pointy, he wants it banished.

When we drove home from the farm on Saturday night, Mario started crying in the back seat. Jon and I asked him what was wrong and he stuttered out one word: “shots.”

“I don’t want to get shots when I turn 8.”

“Mario, that’s a long time from now.”

“I don’t care. I still think about it every day and can’t stop.”

“Baby doll, you will be fine. We all get them.”

“I will do anything mom. I will stay 5 forever. I don’t want to get older because I don’t want a shot.”

Jon: “I have to get shots a lot, Mario. You will be ok.”

“They hurt me though, dad. Can’t they just give me the spray?”

Mario has gotten the spray flu vaccine for the last two years and now thinks any shot can come in spray form. I had to hold his hand from the front seat for fifteen minutes until he finally calmed down and fell asleep.

So when he came into the bedroom Monday morning and announced that he believed he had a splinter, my heart sank. I dreaded the thought of trying to get a splinter out of his foot. Last time, it was all out hell with Mario kicking and screaming and bawling. Jon and I left him with David Monday morning and both prayed for a miracle. The splinter would somehow inch its way out.

Not so lucky. He was up in his bed when I got home. He screamed for me. I walked upstairs with the tweezers and safety pin behind my back.

“Please don’t hurt me, mom. Please don’t touch it. You can only look.”

It took fifteen minutes and Jon holding his hand for Mario to let me look at his foot. It took another ten for us to convince him to let us poke at it. It also took both if us promising him $5 each if he was brave and let us get it out. He held onto Jon and watched Spongebob on the iPad. As soon as I poked the pin at his skin he jumped and pleaded for me to stop.

“Please wait mom! Please let me tell you something!”

Funny how he is so polite during these moments. Jon and I listened to him and comforted him and listened and comforted. But finally we had to hold him down and dig in. I barely poked at the skin but if you heard him you would have thought we were cutting off his leg.

I got it!

I announced that I got it out and he looked stunned, relieved and dazed all at once. The horror was over. He promptly sat up in his bed, reacged out his hand, and smirked “ten dollars, please.” Yea, he will do anything for money.

Shots and donuts

Mario survived.

It was a trying ordeal but he persevered after counting to 100.

Yes, the dreaded doctor’s appointment is over. He’s only been sick about it for weeks. When we got to the office, he was initially excited about getting weighed and measured (25th percentile height (he’s got his Grandma Ionno in him!) and 60th percentile in weight). But when we got in the examination room, he turned on us.

“I’m scared mom. My stomach feels funny because I’m so scared.”

Maria chimed in before I could speak.

“It’s ok baby boy. You are going to be brave just like your big sis. You are just gonna get those shots and act like nothin’ happened to you buster.” She pinched his cheek just like your eighty year old grandma would do.


He tried to stay stoic. He began counting to 100. Ri continued to try to make him laugh. The doc eventually came in to look him over and he impressed her with his counting and his spelling of “Mario.” She gave him a clean bill of health and then told him he’d only need two shots. We had told him four because that’s what Ri had gotten at age five so we thought he’d be relieved. But instead he took the opportunity to bargain.

“How about just one shot?”

The doc laughed. Maria looked dejected. She wanted him to get all four and be brave.

“Can he get three?” she asked. “And can I get an examination done on me after you are done with Mario?” She’s the only kid I know that enjoys visits to the dentist and doctor.

The doc left and it seemed like an eternity until the nurses arrived. Mario asked every 30 seconds when they’d be in to give him his shots. Maria rolled up both his sleeves and kissed the top of both of his arms.

“Grandma Ionno’s mom used to kiss her on the place where she was going to get a shot so I’m keeping up the tradition, Mario.”

He let her kiss him with the hopes that this ritual would somehow lessen the pain. The nurses finally stepped in and Ri and I held his hands while they inserted a shot in each arm.

He screamed. And cried. I held him.

Maria repeated “you are our strong baby boy, yes you are.”

Five minutes later we were driving to Giant Eagle to get the donut we promised him.

When Ri and I were getting ready eraly that morning, she had wondered what we could do for Mario after his shots as a reward for being brave.

“It was easy with me because all I ever wanted was ice cream or spaghetti. Mario doesn’t like food like I do! We may need to buy him a toy!”

But then as she stood in the mirror brushing her hair, she shouted “Oh duh! Mario loves donuts! We can get him lots of long john donuts!”

And so it was decided. He’d get a donut and Ri, by default of being with us, would get one, too. I have a feeling she set me up for that one….