My mother-in-law came with me to the doctor’s office this morning for Baby’s 6-month vaccinations. Can I put my daughter’s name out into cyberspace?? I will call her by her nickname, Lulu.
Lulu is my first child and my mother-in-law’s first grandchild. We share a common fascination with everything Lulu. Grandma and I watch in delight as Lulu sits like a big girl on the exam table. In just a diaper, she keeps busy waving her arms, smiling, making cute noises, laughing and crinkling the protective layer of tissue paper beneath her. She reaches for the nurse’s stethoscope and stares at the nurse’s bright red hair with big eyes full of wonder. I want to grab her and take a bite of her I love her so much.
The nurse measures her little head with a paper tape measurer. 43.75 centimeters (75th percentile).
We carry her out to a scale and she is happy to be checked for her weight and height. She weighs 20# and 10 oz which puts her in the 95th percentile and she is 27 and 3/4 inches long which also puts her in the 95the percentile.
The doctor comes in to check on Lulu. He is super cool. He is in his mid-forties with silver hair and wears collared shirts and dress pants with athletic shoes. At her four-month check he was wearing Converse sneakers and today he has on grey and lime green Puma’s. For some reason his choice of footwear makes me more comfortable with him in general.
I ask about Lulu’s perpetual cold/congestion. I ask about her disdain for rolling over. I ask if it matters that she isn’t moving and grooving as much as my friends’ babies. (My one girlfriend who had a baby two days after Lulu posted a picture of her daughter doing the plank position on facebook. When I put Lulu on her tummy, she just kind of lets her face hit the blanket and sighs). Back to the doctor. He tells me she is normal and healthy and I like him even more. Lulu likes him too. She is waving her arms again and excitedly breathing in and out. She likes this office and all the neat things on the walls.
She has no idea what is about to happen.
The nurse with the red hair (not a natural red but a funky, dyed red) comes back in with three big needles and a plastic thing with clear liquid. The nurse gives Lulu the liquid stuff while Lou is sitting on my lap and she kind of scrunches her face but doesn’t mind this vaccine so much. I put Lulu on the table again and lay her back for her shots. I try to distract her with my scarf. I know she is about to get three big stings.
I start thinking about the pain she is about to feel. I take my scarf out of her face. I don’t want her to associate it with pain. Then I start thinking about her associating my face with pain and move behind her. I want her to look at the lady with the really red hair. She’s the bad lady, Lulu, not Mommy. I want her to know I’m not causing the pain, nor do I condone this terrible woman’s behavior. Mommy – good. Lady with red hair – bad.
Lulu is screaming now. She is doing what my husband and I call her “red-faced cry.” Her mouth is open, her face is a shade of red/blue, her eyes are shut tight with tears escaping the corners, her body is vibrating and there is no sound because she has stopped breathing. I pick her up and make “shh” noises in her ear. “It’s okay, Lulu. You are okay. Take a breath. You will feel better soon.” I know she can’t understand me. I want her to feel that I have acknowledged her pain without being so empathetic that I make the pain seem bigger and badder than it is. She calms down in a matter of minutes and looks exhausted.
This all brings me to the topic of my post. I wish I was home with Lou today. I wish I was holding her and playing with her and tending to her chubby sore thighs. Some days being a working Mom sucks!!! I love working and I love my job. I have a passion for the work I do and it satisfies me in ways that my family cannot but today I want to be home. It hurts that today when Lulu needs love and affection and attention, it will be my mother-in-law that gets to provide that for her and not me.
Does anyone else have these days??