Tricky is almost 18 months old which in my schedule meant he was due for his 12 month vaccination. Extenuating circumstances (living in Country Town, various colds and viruses, mother’s general fear of needles and dislike of seeing sharp things poked into baby flesh) had prevented these happening at an earlier time (like say, 12 months) and now, with his pre Christmas weirdness seemingly gone, it was time to visit Dr Jab.
Dr Jab explained that the 12 month vaccination consisted of not two but three needles. “Some people…” he said blithely, “only have two at this point and come back for the third but I say well, the baby’s already screaming so...”
“Mmmm,” I said. “actually I think I will be one of those people. I would prefer for him to have only two needles for this visit. Not because of the screaming,” I hastened to add, “I can handle that perfectly well, but because three seems an awful lot of vaccine in one day.”
Last time Tricky was vaccinated he was glued to my breast at the time which seemed to comfort him quite effectively but since the milkbar had its glorious farewell tour some weeks ago (albeit with a couple of surprise comeback appearances) he was instead seated on my lap, my hands holding his, one chubby thigh at a time gripped between my own.
And so, since the Magical Breasts Of Comfort were no longer available, I had him facing his father instead of me because I didn’t want to see that look of hurt betrayal in those big brown eyes and also so that I wasn’t in his firing line when he began his kicking screaming tiny fingernail clawfest.
I expected the furious shrieks, I expected the tears and the sobs.
What I didn’t expect was that he would stop almost immediately after the second injection and then seem perfectly calm from then on.
I was so surprised I almost told Dr Jab to go ahead and whack that third one in.
I guess that means it really was about the screaming after all.