Adventures in Parenting #17: Baby Gitmo

Despite the fact that I am a logical, fairly normal human being with a good handle on life, I still maintain four borderline illogical fears that we'll refer to as the Four S's: 1. Shots - Every time I think I have defeated my crippling fear of needles and shots, I have some sort of horrible experience that takes me right back. It's now to the point that if I'm going to be getting a shot, I have to inform the doctor/nurse that I am prone to passing out so that they take the proper precaution to make sure I don't hit the wall and get a concussion. It's sad, I know. 2. Sharks - The ocean is theirs, people. Leave it to them or they will continue to learn new skills like jumping out of the water until they develop the ability to walk on land and attack us in our homes. 3. Spiders - They make my skin crawl and walking through a spiderweb is probably the worst thing in the world, I think we can all agree. 4. Snakes - This one wasn't so much of a "fear" as a "dislike" until recently when I discovered that THEY CAN OPEN DOORS.

Well, if I know anything about parenting given my eleven weeks of experience, it's that it's always a good idea to pass on your illogical fears to your children. So, with that in mind, last week Lindsey and I packed up Cooper and took him to to get his two month shots. It was rough.

Everyone we knew prepared us for this occasion, with more than one person referring to it as, "The worst day of my life." Man, do you guys know how to make a sale! Obviously we prepared for the absolute worst, wherein either Cooper's leg would actually fall off due to all the pain or he'd suddenly stand up, run out of the office, and cut us out of his life for good. Either way, not great. I was actually hoping that I wouldn't be able to get out of work on Friday so that Lindsey would have to do this by herself and therefore Cooper would forever hold it against her and not me, but alas, no such luck.

Here's my son before the action started, completely unaware of what was about to befall him:

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The nurse ushered us back to the waiting room and took the standard measurements that accompany any trip to the doctor. The good news: Cooper is of average weight which was a slight concern given that he's started to look more and more like the Buddha of late. The bad news: His head is in the 99th percentile. He's the Kevin Mench of babies. (I know that reference will reach almost none of you but I'm running with it anyway.) Afterward our doctor (whom we love) came in and went through a few things, then explained how many shots (three!!!!!!!) Cooper would be getting and exactly what each syringe would contain. I nodded in approval, as if I knew what each of these drugs did, all the while trying desperately to keep from getting lightheaded. He then informed us that a nurse would be coming in to administer the drugs and left the room. Smart man.

The waiting was the worst part. In the, say, five minutes between the doctor leaving and the nurse entering, the entire office suddenly turned into a house of horrors. We heard a baby crying louder than Cooper has ever cried. We heard a little girl scream at the top of her lungs until she ran out of breath, again and again. ("SCREAM!" *Breath* "SCREAM!" *Breath* "SCREAM!") Then there was the kid who was CLEARLY realizing that he was about to get a shot who suddenly yelled, "No! NOO! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" in the adjoining room. Suddenly our doctor's office went from a place of healing to Baby Gitmo and our kid was next on the list to be interrogated.

Finally the nurse entered with a tray of syringes and began preparing Cooper for his waterboarding potentially life-saving injections. I backed away from the table so as to brace myself in case I passed out, Lindsey covered her eyes, and Cooper stared up at the nurse with a half smile on his face because HE LOVES PEOPLE AND UP UNTIL THIS POINT NO PERSON HAS EVER HURT HIM. The nurse then proceeded to put an end to his belief that people are inherently good by sticking him once, twice, and thrice with brutal efficiency. I thought about snapping a picture of Cooper's face during this moment but then I remembered that I'm not the world's worst person and also I was still fighting the urge to pass out. Basically, his entire head immediately went tomato red, his entire upper body shook and he made the worst screaming face ever but no sound came out. It literally took his breath away in the most non-Top Gun fashion imaginable. After about three seconds he rallied and let out the worst wail that has ever reached my ears and we scooped him up in order to console an inconsolable toddler. The nurse covered up his wounds with Wolverine band-aids which, shockingly, did nothing to alleviate his pain which goes against everything little kids have taught me over the years, and made a hasty escape and we were finally able to take him home.

The rest of the day was spent like this:

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In his effort to forget his pain, Cooper reverted into newborn status and spent the entire day sleeping on my chest or Lindsey's, awaking only long enough to cry forcefully and eat before falling back into his medically induced coma. Since then it's been a bit of a mixed bag, with our normally happy baby trying to be his usual happy self while occasionally suddenly remembering that his legs REALLY hurt and he doesn't know why and, I'm sure, having flashbacks to the traumatic event and making plans to get back at us somehow, some way. Now, if anyone knows where I can find that nurse, I'd like to stab her in the leg and cover it over with a Sesame Street band-aid.

Do babies get post traumatic stress syndrome? Brian