Turning four was a much-anticipated event for Alex. He literally counted down the number of sleeps. The day dawned and went off without a hitch. From the morning present-opening, to the cake-making, to the Spiderman party in the park with his 8 friends, he loved every second of it. It made my heart glad to share in such a simple yet all-encompassing joy.
Now that he's been four for a few weeks, he throws around statements such as, "I liked that when I was 3 for a while..."
I took him to a superhero workshop at the localy Toys'R'Us last Saturday, and when the fairy lady asked him his name, he replied, "Peter Parker." She duly wrote Peter Parker on the list, and his superhero certificate was, quite aptly, awarded under this pseudonym. (Peter Parker being the alias of Spiderman, in case you were wondering). Apparently, 'Alex ' is so two weeks ago. "When I was 3, my name was Alex, "he blithely informed me today, "now I'm 4, and it's Peter Parker. I've got brown hair so every one will know it's the same guy."
It's fair to say that the Spiderman obsession is still going strong.
But Spiderman couldn't help him yesterday - the day had come for his 4year old immunisations. I'd left what I thought was a respectful distance between the actual birthday and the injections, so as not to taint his happy memories with pain. I tossed up the idea of taking him to the doctors and springing the needle on him so as not to endure the agonising lead-up, but decided that the betrayal he would feel would be too great. I broke the news as we left the house. "Come on, we're going to the doctors." His standard response: "I'm not getting a needle am I?" He has been asking this on each trip to the doctors ever since he got the swine flu injections (four weeks apart) which had followed a particularly traumatic IV insertion in hospital (the doctor took 5 attempts to insert the thing, he had to be held down). Suffice to say, he had reason to be wary, although I'd never tricked him into it.
"This time, yes we are going to get a needle, because you're four, and it's the last one for a while, and it's to stop you getting sick." I stayed calm, but he wailed the whole way to the doctors, refused to come inside for 10 minutes, and when he finally followed me in, protested, "It is SO RUDE to do this to kids!" to a packed waiting room.
Once inside the doctors rooms, Alex could take it no more and hid under a chair. At this stage Maya joined in the wailing (figuring, if you can't beat 'em...) and the doctor called his receptionist in for back-up. She later informed me that she faints at the sight of needles so was a reluctant participant. After dragging him out from under the chair, and putting him in a kind of head/arm- lock, the deed was done. Ten seconds later, with me and the doctor visibly shaken from the ordeal, Alex was munching on a Freddo and sauntering out, cool as you like. We then went to a friend's where he jumped on a trampoline for an hour and scoffed a banana. Aside from a moment where he apparently couldn't move his arms due to the soreness (which lasted around 10 seconds) it seems as though, as with many things in life, the build-up and anticipation was so much worse than the event itself.