Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Point Taken

My wife and I got vaccinated this afternoon. There's been a recent outbreak of measles, and the school sent home an advisory recommending shots for those not previously inoculated.

While awaiting our turn at the health center, my eyes alighted on a pamphlet entitled HELPING YOUR CHILD WITH NEEDLE FEAR. I'm eager for advice on this, because the last time Abby had to have a blood test, she shrieked and flailed with alarming wild-eyed intensity and eventually had to be restrained like a jonesing heroin addict. (I guess the analogy doesn't really hold up, since a heroin addict wants a needle, but you know what I mean.)

Interestingly, my "2 Rs" method of dealing with the situation--ridicule and rebuke--is not in fact the recommended approach, at least according to this document. They suggest that I show understanding for my child's feelings and acknowledge her fear. Furthermore...
Express faith in your child's ability to cope: "I know this is hard, still, I think you can handle it."
What we have here is that pet bugaboo of English teachers everywhere--the comma splice. That's when two independent clauses (clauses that could stand alone as sentences) are feebly joined with a comma. The fix? Either insert a coordinating conjunction ("I know this is hard, but still, I think you can handle it.") or make it two sentences, each with its own terminating punctuation ("I know this hard. Still, I think you can handle it.")

Moments after pondering this, I was called in for my shot and--sonofabitch!--that needle stung. Still, I didn't even cry or anything. And the sticker and lollipop was a nice reward.