So there are certain things as a parent that you have to do that you aren’t going to like. There are certain moments that are going to make your little happy bundle of joy cry and that is going to be a shitty parenting moment. You are going to feel awful for making them cry and feel guilty as hell for it. Jabs are one of those things. This week it was time for those pesky jabs again. We’ve already been through it once, now we’re back for more!
Now being a rainbow dad means that while I get to experience all of Reuben’s life, it is tinged with sadness and the thoughts of “I should have done these things with Poppy.” I don’t mean that to take away from all of my moments with Roo, it just means that at times I’d wish I could hark back to when we did this with Poppy. Reuben is my second child but I’m only experiencing these baby milestones for the first time. Sadly I don’t get to look back on how we did things with Poppy because we never got the chance. It’s all a fun new learning experience.
I was just prepared to go with the flow when Reuben had his first jabs, no big deal, it’s cool, but then our friends with their own rainbow baby told us their tale! Bad sleeping, grumpy; I was now a little worried about how Roo was going to react to this. He’d just started sleeping well, this could be a disaster to our extra few hours of sleep.
Saying that though after suffering the loss of a child every experience you have with your rainbow, you want to enjoy and cherish, because you feel so fortunate. I feel so lucky that we’ve been able to bring Roo home so I want to enjoy every moment – even his first trip to the doctors to have his jabs. I want to do everything that we never got to do with Poppy and cherish those times. No matter how small and pointless they may seem to someone else. But as all us dads know, there are certain aspects of parenting that aren’t fun, they aren’t cool and they are just a little bit shitty. But it has to be done!
So when I actually think about it, taking Reuben to have his second lot of jabs knowing how how he was the last time is one of those shitty parenting moments. I have to make my child cry, AGAIN, for his wellbeing. I hate it when he cries still, I mean when he proper gets going, bottom lip goes, full on the end of the world cry. It just goes right through to your heart and it aches. You feel so bad, like your the world’s worst dad. I think it’s partly because Poppy had been so poorly part of me never wants Reuben to have any kind of pain. Now I know that is never going to happen, he needs to be a kid and fall over, scrape his knee and all that stuff. Hopefully he’ll be like me and by 32 never broken a bone. I fear he may be like his Mum and be a little accident prone. He needs to learn that if you fall over that you can pick yourself up and go again.
You just feel that little bit more protective of your rainbow baby! The normal parenting fears are 10 times worse. The normal parenting anxieties are worse because you want it all to be ok unlike the loss of your baby before. Your mind always goes to the worse case, you don’t mean for it too, but it just does because you know how wrong things can go.
So on Wednesday it was time for Reuben’s second lot of jabs. OMG I was not prepared for this again. I’m bad cop, I’m holding him while he gets needles shoved in his leg. He is going to hate me with a passion. Now this has to be done, I know that but he doesn’t, instead he thinks what the F**k DAD???? Why are you letting this stranger jab me in the leg, AGAIN?! Now in reality he is never going to remember but in my head he’ll be holding this against me for years.
Thankfully it was only one needle this time but still! I made sure we had a lovely morning beforehand, the happy little chappy enjoyed the morning dog walk with daddy and Holly. As always he fell asleep in the bapoose. Then after a little nap we had great smiles, a story and Roo’s new favourite past time: watching the Winter Olympics. He just loves it, I think it’s all the bright colours and it’s in HD so it must feel like it’s in the room to him. Maybe he’ll be inspired and be a snowboarder, just no tea-traying! That would just terrify me kid!
Anyway, he’s shattered when we leave for the doctors, I thought ace he might be quite chilled for the pesky jabs. We get into the doctors and he’s still chilled, fighting sleep but I can live with this. Hardly a minute gone and we’re called in? WTF? When I go in with a problem and I can be waiting 10-15 minutes if I’m lucky! When my son is going to get a jab and cry the place down we’re seen straight away. But I suppose that was good, I didn’t have to sit around worrying about it.
So in we go, no messing, he’s trousers are off and he knows something is amiss! Just look at that face! I’m sat in the bad parent chair, it’s a real thing folks, in the corner. First up we had the oral live vaccine. Reuben was practically licking his lips at the taste of it. Such an odd chap, but of course a very proud dad, he’s taken his medicine like a good boy. Now at this point I was told to hold him tight. At which point he starts crying. Now the last time it took the needle touching the skin for him to cry, now it’s just being in my arms on the chair. It’s like he knew, he wanted me to feel guilty or something.
Now I struggled to actually hold him tight, I know that sounds odd but because he was crying I thought I was hurting him. Finally though I’m holding him tight enough and BAM! In it goes and he’s once gain bright red in the face! Full on end of the world tears but it’s over and done with, and straight to mummy for cuddles – away from that awful man I used to call my father! Over for another 4 weeks and do you know what, it wasn’t that bad. We got to the car and he’s fast asleep and he was for a good 2ish hours. It’s the after effects you really need to watch out for. It can be sick, sleepiness, lack of sleep or just a grumpy baby.
So far Reuben has been ok, little bit off but nothing major. Wednesday afternoon we had a sleepy baby followed by smiles and giggles at daddy in his winter hat. He found it hilarious, so much so Emily could have navigated to us in Tesco from it alone. It was like her own parking sensor, the closer she got the louder the giggles!
The only thing that did change was that he was throwing up his milk more. Not just a small amount, full on down his top and down us! You think all is well, Winter Olympics are on, Roo is on my knee and then the noise comes. The loud water sounding burp followed by the splat of milk on the carpet. Oh dear, then a few minutes later he’s at it again. We find it quite funny now seeing who gets covered in the most milk. Safe to say it has been mummy along with the carpet and my brand new slippers. Not to self, just wear socks now after a feed. Add Holly the dog into the picture and you’ve got a You’ve Been Framed moment! You’ve got me trying to wipe sick off Roo, the carpet and trying to get Holly to stop trying to lick it all up!
We’ve actually been really lucky with Reuben and the jabs! You’ve just got to ride it out. You have no idea how your little bundle of joy is going to react. Each baby is so different, you can read so much online but the truth is you just don’t know. Just go with it, deal with what happens and how they react. It’s one of the shitty parenting tasks but it has to be done. But if you want some words of advice then:
- Stay calm – If you’re calm then they will be calmer (They love you lots but still end up crying, but hopefully not too bad)
- It’ll be over quickly – It’s quick, it might feel like an age but it’s not
- Calpol – It still works magic on kids. Making kids fake illness since time began!
- Be prepared for anything – All babies are different, you have no idea how they’ll react so be ready folks.
- Have mum & dad there – One good cop, one bad cop! Dad you will be bad cop, t’s just how it works out
- Do something nice before and after (mainly for your guilt)
- Portable hand sanitiser – For after the live vaccine it comes out in the poo for a few days
- Just go with how they go – As always your baby will lead you, see how they respond and react. You can’t plan how they react it might be completely different to how someone else reacted.