On being judged for holding my kid down for his flu shot

I’m pretty sure the guy who gave my four year old his shot at the drive-thru flu shot place was low key judging me after I climbed into the backseat to hold Jeffrey’s arms and legs down, and when it was my turn he turned to Jeffrey and said, “Do you want to come hold Alizabeth down while she gets her shot?” (to which Jeffrey said, no.)

I kinda get it, and I definitely appreciate his helping make Jeffrey comfortable by asking him who his favorite super hero was and getting Jeffrey talking about batman. I really appreciate that, and I’d rather take a little bit of judgement along with a gentle, kid-friendly approach than no judgment and a no-nonsense attitude.

But here’s the thing. There is no easy way to handle something like shots, especially for a four year old who is old enough to understand what’s happening but young enough to not really appreciate the reasons why.

Personally, I always tell Jeffrey if something unpleasant is coming up, whether that is getting x-rays at the dentist or getting a shot. I let him know earlier in the day and we have discussions about dentist visits and doctor visits and shots as they come up on Daniel Tiger or Curious George or other times. Jeffrey knew we were going to get a shot, that it might hurt a little, and that afterward we’d get some food together. He didn’t want to come and told me as much, and I said, I know. You don’t have to want to come. I’ll try my best to make it quick and so that it only hurts a little, but it might still hurt. I know you don’t want a shot, but the shot is important because it can help keep you from getting so sick that you need to go to the hospital.

So we talked about it, and I knew he wasn’t down for it, and I was pretty sure that he would continue to thrash in his car seat indefinitely had I not climbed back to hold his arms and legs. I’ve sat in Doctor’s offices where I have heard a child screaming for a good half hour or so, not allowing anyone to give them a shot. Personally, I think that is more stressful than the actual shot, even if a parent a child trusts is holding them down. Certainly, I would rather be the one to restrain one of my kids than a doctor; my kids trust me, and if I’m the one holding them back as I tell them that I love them, I think they feel a lot safer than if I were to say something like, I wish you didn’t have to get a shot either but the doctor says you have to!

But even then, there is no easy way. Every parent tries to make it the best experience they can. We had also tried giving Jeffrey Michael’s phone to play a game on. He knew we would get food afterwards. There just is no easy way to make a child go through pain, whether for vaccines or any number of other medical procedures, even if it is brief and even if it is for an important reason.

That’s all.

My Favorite Wheelchair Dances

Shows like America’s Got Talent have long been my guilty pleasures–so, combine that search history with the many interabled couple and disability channels I follow, and the YouTube algorithms brought me the gift of wheelchair dancing.

Marisa Hamamoto & Piotr Iwanicki

Two of these dances come from Infinite Flow, an inclusive dance company in California. When I went to their main page, I also saw that they have a virtual Film Premier of Scoops of Inclusion this Saturday that you can register for on their website, which spurred me to write this post. I hope I can watch it after the allotted time (12 p.m. EST). I’ve loved all of their videos, and thought I’d share a few here (as well as some other wheelchair dancers).

Probably my favorite video, so far, has been of a dance called “Pliancy,” danced by Marisa Hamamoto and Piotr Iwanicki, and choreographed by Phillip Chbeeb. Marisa Hamamaoto founded Infinite Flow after having been temporarily paralyzed by a stroke, and Piotr Iwanicki has Spina Bifida. And I also had the added bonus of discovering Bishop Briggs for the first time, whose music I’ve also been binge listening to since. You can watch it here:

Florent & Justin

This dance originally appeared on France’s Got Talent, but I quite like the extended edition. From what I read on a Talent Recap, the story begins with a young man trying to befriend a man in a wheelchair, but the man is resistant. While that may well be the case, I thought this summary didn’t really do justice to the complexity of choreography and atmosphere, and had the potentially negative effect of stereotyping the disabled man as being generally curmudgeonly. I thought, rather, that the “young man” was quite accurately portrayed as being somewhat infantalizing and somewhat disrespectful in his initial attempts at initiating a friendship, and that the disabled man’s reticence was rather fair. But I also love seeing the friendship unfold throughout the dance.

Gabe Adams, Mia Schaikewitz & Marisa Hamamoto

This one (also from Infinite Flow) is a wheelchair dance, but it is also a Tetra-Amelia dance–Gabe Adams has no arms or legs. All three dancers have such good synchronicity and chemistry, and the levels work so beautifully. I thought it was rather delightful.

Julius jun obero & Rhea Marquez

I’m not sure which “Got Talent” this show is from, but the act is gorgeous, and you can find them on Facebook.

Infinite Flow Ensemble Collaboration

For this one, I’m not entirely sure who all is part of Infinite Flow and who all collaborated with them (or indeed if the dancers were the collaborators), but I rather love the ensemble.

Marc Lafleur & Dmitry Kim

Also from Infinite Flow, these two just have a really beautiful, moving chemistry, and this video also shows dancing in a wheelchair as well as dancing with a prosthetic.

Last, I thought I’d share the first wheelchair dance video I came across, which is a rather cute rendering of a Homecoming Dance proposal:

For now, that’s all. I hope you found them as gorgeous and fun and awesome as I did!