One is already horrible, but two is really too much

Life as a parent is pretty rough. And since our family expansion, it has not become any easier. The toughest part for me is when kids are in pain or otherwise upset, and you really cannot do anything about it. Our son is generally a careful kid, doesn’t fall all too often, and he seems to be quite good at linking cause and effect. When he falls, he obviously also hurts, and wants to be comforted. The good thing is, since a couple of months it has been super easy to comfort him by simply explaining to him what happened. This has made parenting a whole lot easier, at least for me. Mommy was always better at comforting him. And the timing is perfect, as I take up more of the toddler care, while my wife does the baby care.

Last night was a bit different.

Yesterday we had to visit the child doctor for some vaccinations. Rafa is a bit of an odd case that has led them to a lot of confusion. He started his vaccination program in the Netherlands, and then moved to Germany, where things are run a little different. Vaccinations are given at different times, have different names, and different cocktails. For about a year now, we have been planning to get his vaccinations arranged, but every time we planned something, we were sent home with something else. He was still missing one of his ‘tetanus polio and more’ cocktail boosters, but last time I went specifically for this one, he received a meningitis shot instead. Yesterday, we planned this one, again, and also discussed options for tick encephalitis shots. Rafa has had countless ticks this year already, and apparently it is quite common here. I thought I had it all arranged. Until I was in the patient room, and the assistant shows up with only one vaccination. For the Xth time they had somehow missed this one, even after discussing it at the reception 15 minutes earlier. Germany being Germany, of course there needed to be a doctor to double check my request once more, and I needed to sign a form to declare full responsibility (silly Germans and their forms).

Two minutes later, my boy receives two simultaneous shots in both of his tiny arms. A loud howl followed. A life-long trypanophobe, I can feel the pain, and I’m close to fainting myself, because that’s how I roll. Rafa got to pick a sticker, which distracted him from the horror. My pain was never acknowledged. We then performed a child-parent swap, and as Rafa and I left, Heike and Lara went in to get Lara’s first two shots. Aii. She’s only two months. How can you? (She didn’t give a shit.)

That was all still okay. Now have you noticed how everyone is whining about the sore arms that come with covid shots? The peak was last night, just before midnight. Now, how do you explain to a sleep-drunk two year-old that he cannot roll, or lie on his side because of the pain? You can’t, really. Moments like that? Parenting at its toughest. Every couple of minutes he would roll or move and hurt himself, and be completely confused and extremely upset. I hugged him and told him that the pain would go, knowing that it would still be there for a while. After a few minutes not moving, he would fall asleep again. This went on for about two hours, and that’s when he was too exhausted to feel a thing. He was out. And so was I.

Next time, one is enough…

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of one but almost two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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