Ella wanted a shot yesterday. She definitely had a strong feeling she needed it to save her life...or at the very least an appendage.
Ella's desire to see a licenced healthcare professional was the result of Ana's waking up yesterday in the wee wee wee hours of the morning with a bad earache. I told her to come to me. I was sprawled out on the recliner, pinned beneath a nine-month-old baby. I soon had to send her down the hall to her papa, however, because she was crying, and Mama's comfort wasn't enough. The baby needed to sleep, and she needed medicine which I was unable to get for her.
In the morning I made an appointment to see the pediatrician in the afternoon.
"Does your ear still hurt?" I asked sweet Miss Ana when I got off the phone.
She looked at me with her pale face and fever eyes and made a little shrug. "A little," she said timidly.
"My ear hurts," said Ella clearly to her Papa and me, not one inch of her face pinched or puckered with pain.
"Competing for attention," I whispered aside to Matthew. Then to Ella, "Where does it hurt? Show me."
She pointed to her earlobe.
"Earlobe," I whispered to Matthew, practically rolling my eyes, before saying to Ella, "Come here. Let Mama see."
As soon as she came close enough I reached out and gave her ear a good tug. No reaction. I turned to find Matthew giving me a look like, Really? That's your great motherly diagnostic skill?
"What?" I asked defensively. "If her ear was really hurting, she would have made a face or yelled or something. She's fine."
Matthew picked her up in his arms and leaned his dark head against her much fairer curly head.
"Are you sick?" he asked.
"Yeah. I need to go to the hospital."
(I gave her that line for free. I'm always telling her that if she jumps on the bed or eats toothpaste or something, I'll have to take her to the hospital.)
"Really?" said Matthew. "Do you need a shot? They'll probably give you a shot."
Clever, I thought, applauding his cunning in my head. Ella paused a long moment, looking away from her papa and then back again. Then she straightened in his arms and looked him full in the face.
I laughed. You had to give it to her. She wanted that attention bad. And it's not like she doesn't get her fair share, but in Ella's world any time spent worrying about, cuddling with, or talking to other children is a sheer waste of precious parental resources that should be expended on her. This means if one of the older two complains of a sudden stomachache, Ella will come and sit on Matthew's or my lap and say pitifully, "My tummy hurts!" If we're talking about Berto's allergies, we might feel a little tap on our shoulder and turn to find Ella who says, "I've got an allergy."
"No, you don't!" we tell her.
"Yes, I do," she insists.
Ella doesn't even like that her siblings are ahead of her in the teeth department. Recently, she told her Papa and me that she had two loose teeth and lost them both. Then sticking out both index fingers and holding them up one at a time, she said, "And the tooth fairy brought me a dollar...and another dollar. Two dollars!"
"No, she didn't, but she will," I told her. Then I bent down to her level and said gently, "Someday, Ella, you will be a big girl, and..."
Ella turned her back and walked away. She wasn't about to let me rain on her parade. "Two teeth!" she called back. "And two dollars!"