I’m not afraid of much, spiders – meh, heights – ok they make me a bit woozy, needles – no not at all. I’m desensitized now after having so many for travelling.
Taking my own babies to get their shots however, is truly unnerving. I remember the first time I took a wee baby BB to get his. I was an emotional mess. As soon as I sat down in our appointment I started to cry. My tears turned my face into a puffy, streaky, scary thing out of Guardians of the Universe. As the snot dribbled from my nose the lovely nurse who was clearly used to this fed me jelly babies and handed me a tissue, reassuring me the whole time that this was very normal…the mummy crying that is. I did not feel any better.
We got on with the job and BB gave a small cry and then he was just fine. Such was the tradition over his first few years of getting needles. What was I so worried about?
FlutterBug, well she is more vocal by nature so for her there was a significantly louder and more drawn out cry but again, over pretty quickly. By this stage I was again desensitized to the cries so while I was sufficiently supportive and empathetic I was used to just getting on with the task at hand.
Fast forward again and we need needles to head overseas for our scoping trip before Christmas. The children are older and I was curious how it would go. Our appointment was before lunch and I thought it would be quick – half an hour max. Oh no, the consult was almost an hour. So as the hands ticked around the clock, so my young became the ferocious feral young of the wild. You know, when they are deprived of a food source of any sort and their blood sugar drops and they start whinging, wining, crying, asking the same question over and over and over and over…..I dug deep into my mummy bag, deeper than I had dared venture in a long time hoping for a small morsel of something edible to ease their hunger. The rock hard stale sultanas, so hard they would break glass if hurtled from a distance were all I could find but they would have to do. All the while I am trying to listen to this very serious Doctor tell me about all the possible diseases we could catch – possible but not probable. When she got to the bit about ‘if we do move’, the Doctor started talking about getting the rabies vaccine. I looked at my children, now foaming at their mouths, making growling and groaning noises, and suggested they perhaps already had rabies so that might not be necessary….the Doctor did NOT see the humour in this and proceeded to lecture me in detail about the condition, taking up precious minutes in an already extraordinarily long appointment…
Finally we were off to the treatment room and I decided I should go first. You know, show the kids there is nothing to it. I am a brave WarrierBug and they are my brave SoldierBugs. While I got my shots, they just could not care less. New room, new exploring to be done. A jar of jelly beans to eat. SO not interested in what mum was doing.
BB was up next, my brave boy. Yeah, not so this time. I guess the days of the easy needle giving exercise were over. BB screamed. Not a little whimper. Not a normal cry. Not a normal scream. No, the blood curdling, ‘you are murdering me’ scream. The one that is heard out in the street, across the road, and down at the corner store….that was the first needle in the first arm….there were two more to go. Needless to say it was a most harrowing experience. BB was inconsolable. Through his cries he kept saying ‘ouch mummy, stop it, it hurts, no mummy you’re being mean to me’. No amount of jelly beans shoveled into his little hands helped. BB’s dreamy brown eyes looking at me with utter utter utter devastation and betrayal. And I felt like the most awesome mum in the world (that was sarcasm for those who weren’t sure).
FB was next and….meh….a bit of a cry but then she was over it.
BB sobbed most of the way home. By the time we arrived I was an emotionally wrecked, exhausted mumma bear whose once stoic heart about needles was now in tatters.
BB was still talking about this experience six weeks later.
And here we go again….we are moving, so we need more needles. I was bracing for this day for a long time. Thankfully all four of us had to go in so I had support. FB did not cope at all. I sat on the exam bed, holding her little body close to mine, pinning her little soft, warm squishy baby arm down to her side so she would not move. The weight of my arm crushing her so I could feel her tears through my shirt and her breath on my neck. Her eyes filled with that now familiar look of absolute betrayal. ‘How could my mummy do this? How could she protect me for so long then hurt me like this?’ You cannot really get an almost 3 year old to understand. Goodness knows I tried.
BB was next and he had heard the familiar screams and he remembered the clinic so he knew what was coming next. He started to cry when I came for him in the waiting room. He tried to hide under a chair, and I used my mummy strength to man-handle his 20kg frame into the exam room. I told SB I would take care of this, I was used to it after all. With the backdrop of FB screaming hysterically to her dad back in the waiting room, I crushed BB’s body to mine, feeling every heaving sob. As the needles went in, the sobs became louder. Then they stopped. It was over, and BB was okay again. No more tears, no more sobs. He just wanted to go back and play with the truck he’d found in the toy box. Okay then, good I guess….
We have to do this two more times.
Then we can leave to start our new life.