Resigned to the inevitable, Willem came out of his room and sought to arm himself with information.
Will it hurt?
How long will it take?
Where will they do it?
Will I scream?
"No, you won't scream. You might say ouch! ouch!" I said, smiling and keeping my ouches lively, as though I were being bothered by some minor nuisance. Willem must not have remembered the day Nels had those shots: his thigh muscles were so tense, it was like trying to stick a needle into a marble statue, and he screamed bloody murder.
When the big moment arrived, the nurse had Willem sit on my lap with his legs hung over to the side. I wrapped my arms around his chest and held his arms close. I think we both found this comforting, even though the nurse's sole aim was to prevent him grabbing for the needle. (Can you imagine? Apparently kids do that all the time.)
Prick. Prick. Prick.
Willem sat utterly still and silent until the nurse set everything down, and it was clear that she was done. Only then did the sound leak out, a low hiss that turned into a quiet moan, and he began to shake. He took a few moments to collect himself, then looked at me with triumph in his teary eyes.
"See, Mom? I didn't even say ouch! ouch! like you said I would."