I know, I know, it is for his own good, and in the long run it’s better to get the vaccines now rather than face a serious illness later. All that logic doesn’t help when my sweet little Tuco is crying so hard that little purple spots are showing up all over his head.
He did pretty well at the pediatrician’s office. He took an oral vaccination, and he didn’t cry. He just had a what-in-the-wide-wide-world-of-sports-is-a-goin’-on-here look on his face as he swallowed it down. The crying came when the nurse stuck him, first in the right leg and then in the left. He did calm down shortly afterwards and seemed fine, but the real crying didn’t start until the end of the day. It was close to his bedtime, and he was getting crabby and seemed uncomfortable. We decided to give him some Tylenol to help with any pain, so he could get a good night’s sleep.
As I put the medicine dropper into his mouth, he started to cry. It was as if something in his brain recalled the oral vaccination in the doctor’s office. He shot me a look as if to say, “You’re going to stick me in the legs next, aren’t you?” The crying intensified, and we couldn’t calm the poor guy down.
Eventually, my husband had Tuco in his nursery, trying to complete his bedtime routine by giving Tuco his last bottle for the day. I stood in the doorway watching and feeling absolutely terrible about everything. My husband seemed to be soothing Tuco, but having me in the room was a distraction for the little guy. I’m not sure if the sight of me was making him cry or if the distraction from the calm my husband was trying to create made him cry. I was affecting him in some way, and eventually my husband came over to me and said, “Sorry, I’m just going to do this” as he closed the door on me. Ouch. But I understood. Tuco was crying for a long time now and we needed to get him to go to sleep. Me pathetically lingering in the doorway wasn’t helping Tuco at all.
Tuco did go to sleep that evening, and the next day both he and I woke up just fine. His little Tweety Bird band-aids on each of his legs made me sad (see picture). They reminded me not only that the shots caused him pain, but also that he went to the doctor’s office thinking everything was all sunshine and lollipops. He smiled at everyone he encountered in the sweetest way as if they were his best pal. He had no idea they were going to stick him in the legs with needles. Seems like an early, heavy lesson that I don’t want my four-month old to learn.