January 14, 2003 - Tuesday
I took Harry to the hospital today for a simple lead level screening. It's a test result required by his preschool, apparently by state law or something. The test involved - I expected and was correct about - pricking Harry's figure and drawing enough drops of blood to run it thought the lab. They used to do much the same to me when I would give blood and it took little more than a few seconds. But, of course, "simple" is a relative descriptor and with a boy of Harry's age, or at least Harry specifically, I really didn't know what would happen nor how simple an ordeal it would be. Going to the hospital itself was more of an adventure (that's a word I recently used with Harry that I think he first took as a negative, but I've been working hard to reinforce the excitement that can come from doing things never before done) than Harry really would be interested in. And, because I wasn't completely sure how the test would be done on a young child, and because I thought it might freak Harry out too much to talk about some unknown person taking blood out of him, I hesitated describing the pending event any more than saying that we had to go to the hospital for a quick test.
I did acknowledge on the short drive to the hospital that the test would be done on Harry and that didn't sit too well. But I steamrollered, saying it was just something we needed to do. And, amazingly, after that the whole thing could not have been scripted any better. Harry and Jeremy, who was along for the ride, behaved as well as I could hope; better really. Harry looked nervous, but he and Jeremy found some toys in the waiting area and that occupied them for the mercifully brief moments it took for the nurse to get ready. Once in the little room, the nurse asked that I sit with Harry on my lap. That made sense, of course, for him. But what of curious Jeremy, standing unrestrained in the corner of the little room? He looked around, and then some more, but touched nothing. Eventually he came over and hugged my leg. And, Harry? Oh brave Harry: forget all that stuff about him being a shy, scared boy. Today he was a champ, not whimpering once, even as a tear seemed to well up in his eye following the prick. He later admitted that it hurt a little, but I think he was proud of being so brave, although perhaps not as proud, or perhaps as relieved, as I was.