He sat propped up on my lap with his baby jeans round his knees, his chubby thighs exposed. A nurse sat either side of him and, delighted with the attention, he gave them the benefit of his huge grin. Then they stuck him with their needles and his wee face crumpled. A wail welled up from his toes and, as I gathered him into a big cuddle, his tear-filled eyes fixed on mine as if to say “Why mummy?” I soothed and murmured and rocked him as we went back into the waiting room, making sure he didn’t have a reaction. In five minutes he was asleep, so I drove him home, congratulating myself on not crying too.
We went about our day, visiting his best friend’s mum and chatting while he slept, relieved he was OK. Until, at two o’clock, he woke up and started to scream. High-pitched, heart-rending, horror-film screams that wouldn’t stop. He wouldn’t even take my milk he was so upset. Shell-shocked, I placed him in his carseat and hustled back to the car – but I couldn’t even buckle him in, his face was beetroot and he could hardly catch his breath. Distraught, I climbed in beside him to cuddle and soothe him. I was getting hotter and hotter, my hair was in my face and my blood pressure was rising. I was getting close to losing it myself, so what did I do? Run to my mum.
By the time we pulled up he was in an exhausted half-sleep. Mum took him, lay him in the pram and within minutes he was sleeping. I went straight to the fridge and poured myself a (small) glass of wine. The responsibility of being a mum had hit me like a demolition ball. It didn’t help that Rod was over 200 miles away in Aberdeen. But it turned out he had to deal with it too, as, when I handed the wee man over at 10 o’clock that night, he had to handle an enormous code brown and gurning until 1 in the morning.
He’s much better today and I feel like we’ve really achieved something together. I’m not going to stress about his little grumblings so much now that I know what those lungs are really capable of. I’ll be ready with the Calpol for the next jag. And I’ll be taking mum with me.