Today was the Tiny Rhino’s two month check up and I wasn’t able to be there. I returned to work a week and half ago and each missed milestone is a piece of me that is not there. Still, part of me was slightly relieved not to be present for this one, since it would be the occasion of her very first vaccinations. Dr Mrs My Wife texted at the beginning of the visit to update me on her stats (she’s getting bigger!), and some questions we had been wondering about (she’s getting more than enough sleep!), before the nurse came in to administer the shots. I didn’t hear much after that, and had to wait for a call about an hour later.
The Tiny Rhino was inconsolable, and crying in a way that she hadn’t ever heard before. She’d calmed down a little after some cuddling, but was still pretty cranky. By the time I got home she’d been crying on and off for hours, finally falling asleep briefly on my mother’s shoulder. The rest of the evening was spent hearing her keening and wailing as my mother and then my wife tried to calm her down. She was in pain, and my heart ached as I sat in the living room. This underlined a fact about parenthood that I’d been ignoring: your children will be hurt, they will be disappointed. Sometimes it will before for their own good, sometimes not, but a big feature of these situations for you – the parent – will be your total inability to do much of anything about it. Thankfully, that wasn’t 100% the case here – we were able to give her some baby aspirin – but in some measure it was a harbinger of things to come. Vaccines are good for my child, and I won’t ask that she not get them, but they will cause her soreness, fevers and aches. Life will throw things at her, and there will be times when all I’ll be able to do is hold her while she cries and tell her that it’ll all be ok, while my own heart aches for someone to do that same for me.