A Fish Tale

4th birthdayI can’t believe that we will be celebrating my son’s fourth birthday this weekend!  Where has the time gone???  Keeping that in mind, I want to share a recent story about my sweet little guy with you all!  This post is a little bit more personal than informational, but the message of vaccines is clear and present at the end!

I spend the majority of my days talking to an almost 4 year-old and a 19 month-old and I often wonder how much of what I say actually sinks in.  I notice more often than not that my instructions and motherly pearls of wisdom seem to go in one ear and out the other…that is if they are not ignored completely.  Then, once in a blue moon, a ray of light!  Something I say actually sinks in!  This past fall we took our kids to the neighborhood Halloween carnival.  As soon as we got there my son immediately found the one activity we were hoping to avoid.  That’s right, the dreaded opportunity to win a goldfish.  I tried my hardest to point out all the candy and prizes surrounding us but I had lost the war long before the battle had even begun.  The next thing I knew I was standing in the cold holding a plastic bag filled with water and a fish he so lovingly named “Pumpkin.”  Long story short, Pumpkin did not survive the night, but my husband and I did not have the heart to tell our son.  So we did what any parent would do; we snuck out early the next day and bought him “Pumpkin #2” (who magically morphed from a goldfish into a red Beta).  He was just happy to see his fish008 swimming happily on the island in the kitchen.  A few weeks later I went to feed our new pet only to find him floating on top of the tank.   When my son saw his scaly friend his eyes began to fill with tears and he asked me what was wrong.  I couldn’t tell him the truth.  Instead I opted for a very ridiculous story about fish being sick and telling him that we would take him to the doctor first thing in the morning (obviously intending on buying yet another fish).  With a big smile on his face my son looked up to me and said “Mommy, we need to get him shots next time so he won’t get sick again!”  What was that?  Has all the talk about the importance of vaccinations with our friends, family, and yes, even our children actually sunk into the mind of my child?  I was beyond proud to know that I had passed this message along to him.  Sure, it’s a very elementary level of understanding, but you have to start somewhere, right?

So what’s the point of this little story?  Talk to your kids about vaccines.  Even if you think your kids are too young to understand, they might surprise you with a few wise words of their own.  Moments like these inspire me and make me realize that my words can make a difference.  I love the innocence behind my son’s comment and I look forward to having more conversations with him in the future about the live-saving power of vaccines! Happy 4th Birthday to my favorite little man in the world and thank you for inspiring me every day!  Love you buddy!

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