This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
Although I wouldn’t admit it to MJ, I had been dreading today for awhile. We took Will to the doctor’s office for his 2-month visit. And you parents know the 2-month visit means lots of shots.
This sounds awful, but I was hoping Will would be in a terrible mood at the doc’s office. That way if he was already in a bad mood I wouldn’t feel so terrible about sticking him with needles and making him even more irritated. But of course, Will was in the best mood I’ve ever seen this morning. He was happy as a clam laying naked on the exam table. He was making his happy sounds and grunts, smiling huge toothless grins and kicking his chubby legs to his heart’s delight. And then, minutes before the nurse came in to give him his shots, he laughed! It was his very first laugh. At first I thought it was a hiccup but then I realized it was different. His mouth was wide open in a delirious smile and he was was making a “HA! HA! HA!” sound in short, punctuated bursts.
I should’ve been overjoyed at his first real laugh. But instead I just felt guilty. Poor little guy had no idea what was in store for him. It was like an old dog wagging his tail and giving you puppy eyes right before he gets put to sleep. Sure it’s necessary and it’s what is best for him, but I felt like I was betraying him.
MJ had already made it perfectly clear she was not going to hold him down during the shots. That left me and I was none too happy about it. Secretly I had planned on making MJ hold him down so I could sneak over to him later and whisper “Sorry about that needle big guy, but your mom insisted.” But she beat me to it and I had to man up. So I walked over to him and he flashed me a huge, dumb grin. That was just salt in the wounds since I already felt guilty. He looked confused as I held him down, as if to say “What kind of game is this? We’ve never done this before.”
Now please note, I’m deathly afraid of needles. And sure, the needle wasn’t going into me, but I think it was actually worse watching them give it to Will. When the first one went into his leg he didn’t flinch at first. I immediately thought “Oh thank God, he’s so strong it didn’t even bother him! That’s my boy!” But alas, it was a delayed reaction and two seconds later his face went crimson and then turned a deep purple. He face puckered up like he had eaten an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids, and the cry was so severe it was silent. You parents know that is the worst. He couldn’t even get the cry out of his throat for the first 30 seconds. And when he did get his voice back….sweet God he screamed! And screamed some more.
I laughed and chuckled as I held him close. What he doesn’t know is I was laughing so I didn’t tear up. Even though the nurse was doing her job and protecting my son against diseases that could kill him, I wanted to smack her. Seriously, I wanted to hit her with a shovel and shout “GET THE HELL AWAY FROM MY SON!!” I know Will is going to get hurt as he grows up, but the desire to protect him from pain and injury is so strong.
Of course he was fine. We had given him Baby Tylenol beforehand and five minutes later he was asleep in his carseat. I think the shots are far more traumatic for parents than the child.
But now the cool news…
Will is still getting HUGE! He just under 10 weeks old and weighed in at 14 lbs 8 oz, 24 inches tall. That puts him in the 90th percentile in height, and the 95th percentile in weight. Our doctor took one look at him and said, “So have you gotten the call?” MJ and I looked confused and asked what he was talking about. He said “The call from the Patriots. They’re going to want to check him out.” There’s no way this kid isn’t going to be an athlete of some sort. I’m beyond excited. I can already see myself forcing Will to live out my dreams of athletic glory, putting far too much pressure on him and getting thrown out of his Little League games.
I can’t wait!