Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inoculating the Divine

I'm just going to come out and say it - we have the best child ever! And, although they'd be wrong, I sincerely hope every other parent feels exactly the same way. Isn't that the true joy of parenting? Feeling like you finally did something right in the world - something pure and perfect and lovable and free. Something divine.

Thursday afternoon Amari had her third round of vaccinations. They're called boosters, which sounds so positive and energizing, like rocket ship parts and fund raising support groups. Unlike those things in any way whatsoever, booster shots are actually just the same as any other half inch needle being jabbed into the artist formerly known as my happy, carefree daughter.

Before I get into the details of the visit, I would like to go on the record in saying that if we can go from a giant, room-sized "super computer" that functioned like an abacus to today's microscopic, child-friendly   i-Pad in less than seventy years, why can't we find a less traumatic way of inoculating our children? Seriously. The first vaccine was developed in the 18th century and we're still poking infants and toddlers with needles as long as their fingers? Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely pro-vaccine. I don't think it's coincidence or central heating or the relaxing effects of television that has doubled life-expectancy in the last two centuries. I just think it's time for someone to step up and invent the i-Vac or anything tinier, less painful, and just as effective.

Side note

The first vaccine was developed to protect people from smallpox, a lethal virus that has wiped out millions throughout history. Although credit for the vaccine is given to Dr. Edward Jenner, there were others before him who, upon noticing that exposure to cowpox (a less lethal virus) proved to be an inoculation against smallpox, deliberately infected themselves and their families with the cowpox virus. How'd they do it? By scratching open the skin and rubbing in the infected pus. Even that, with the exception of the word pus, sounds better than long, pointy, needles.

Additional side note

Fueled by indignation and a primitive parental need to protect my daughter from all things torturous, I Googled (which I often do when I'm angry and clueless) only to discover that, according to an article dated one week ago, a new skin-patch vaccine with tiny, painless, micro-needles that dissolve into the skin is now being developed. It's about freakin' time.

Back to the Story

So we took Amari in for what I thought was her eight month check up and boosters. Turns out we were supposed to be there two months ago, but it also turns out that it doesn't really matter since Amari didn't get polio or whooping cough or meningitis since May. I felt a little dumb for getting the schedule wrong, but perhaps I was unconsciously protecting Amari from getting her peaceful little world rocked so soon.

After Carla's compulsory poking and prodding and Amari's weigh-in at a robust 18 pounds 7 ounces and 29 inches long, it was time make her cry once again. Carla said one of us could hold her in our lap and I quickly volunteered for two reasons: she wouldn't be able to see my face and I wouldn't be able to see hers. Selfishly clever, don't you think? I wanted absolutely no part of this association. Thirty seconds later, Amari was screaming wriggling in pain, and thirty seconds after that Carrie and I were using the understated and soothing powers of distraction as we walked Amari around the office, pointing at things and saying  "book," "flower," "feminist pregnancy literature," and so on.

That was it. Amari recovered instantly. Her legs swelled  and hardened a bit and she had a mild fever that night, but the next day after a fussy morning learning to crawl on achy legs and a long afternoon nap she was fine. Long story still pretty long, Amari's a trooper. She entertains us endlessly, learns new things every day, and has a much higher tolerance for pain than her dad ever did. I should have known she'd be fine the way she's been handling her teething pain which, by the way, finally resulted in a tooth last week. Hooray! But that's a story for another day.

This is Amari's "I'm dealing with teething pain" face. Pretty cute.

PS I also made a video gift for for my friends and co-parents. Enjoy if you have a free minute or four.

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