Friday, October 19, 2007

The oldest cliche in the book

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 10/19/2007
I'm no longer a virgin mother. Not as in the Holy Mother, but in terms of having brought Nao for her first innoculation yesterday. I don't remember how vaccinations are in the U.S. for the obvious reason that I was only an infant myself when I got most of them and any subsequent vaccinations have since been wiped from my mind, but I am pretty sure they don't work like yesterday's group vaccination for TB.

It reminded me a bit of how it must be like to be vaccinated in the military. There were about 40 people there with their kids and we first had to line up to have our papers checked. If they were all in order (i.e. your child was between 3 and 6 months of age and didn't have any obvious colds/fevers/communicable diseases), you were sent into another room where you had to undress your child, but only so that his or her left arm was out of their clothes. Then you had to line up AGAIN to see one of the 5 doctors who casually inspected your child and then stamped their upper left arm twice with a extremely cruel-looking needle (or needles since there were 6 of them per stamp). I forced myself to watch even though I still don't watch when I have to get a shot or have blood taken...I know, how old am I? Anyway, after the "stamping", you were sent to the next station where you had to wait for your child's arm to dry before bringing them to the final "station" to dress them to go home.

Sounds like an assembly line, doesn't it? All well-planned and executed? Yes it is, until you bring a child like Nao into the equation. She was, by far, the loudest screaming child there. The intensity of her screams made my eardrums vibrate...that's how loud she was.

Nao commenced whimpering and complaining before we even got our papers checked. All the other babies were being very Japanese and sitting quietly in their parents' arms. Not Nao. Oh no. I guess she was feeling American that day. She must have known something was up. Maybe she sensed the fear in the air or smelled that oh-so-characteristic doctors' smell, but she knew that whatever was going to happen wasn't going to be something she was going to enjoy. This whimpering/complaining continued until we saw the doctor and he looked into her mouth to check her throat. I wanted to stop him from making the mistake of his life, but he persisted. And then, "Pissed Off Nao" appeared and there was nothing we could do to cut her off from the full-out screaming that ensued. I could see the doctor and nurse look at me like they expected me to do something about the yelling, but all I could do was look at them blankly. There's no stopping her when she decides that screaming and yelling is what she wants to do. She doesn't get tired, doesn't want to be consoled. She's the only one who decides when she'll stop.

The only thing I could be grateful for was that she didn't cry any harder when the shot was given to her. Apparently a throat examination and a painful shot in the arm have the same amount of discomfort.

I now have a small idea of what it was like for my mother to bring me to the doctor. I myself never made any distinction between "discomfort" and "pain" so all visits to the doctor were on the same level. I have to confess that I rather hoped that Nao was going to be a bit like E7 in that he will WILLINGLY go to the doctor to undergo something, say, like a stomach camera--WHILE HE'S STILL AWAKE--but alas, she seems to be more like me in this regard.

Since I never got any better at going to the doctors (when E7 suggests I make a visit to check something out, I miraculously recover from whatever ailment I'm experiencing immediately), I have no illusions that Nao will be any different. Kind of puts, "I hope you have a kid that's just like you," into perspective.

(I mean, what should I expect from a child that karate chops her toys with her foot because she is annoyed that she can't reach it with her hands?)

10 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:

Sarah said...

Welcome to the club!!

Vaccinations are totally different in the States although babies still cry. Usually you're in a room by yourself so it doesn't matter if the babies scream or not.

My older three children all cried through the whole entire thing but Natsuki cried only when they administered the actual shot and then she was stopped. I got the evil eye from other moms when I went into the room where you wait for the injection site to dry because Natsuki just lay on the mat and played. Every other baby in the room was screaming and crying and she's cooing away. I wanted to tell everyone that all my other children cried. Really.

No matter what you do, you can't win.

Gina said...

When we took my first son to get his giant BCG shot after we moved to Japan. He screamed his ever lovin' head off. But it was at a doctors office here in Japan and in front of only about 3 other kids, his age getting the same thing. But my first born was the loudest out of the bunch. Crying like an absolute maniac. I am sure they coulda heard him from the next street over, that's how loud it was! Ha ha ha! I felt so sorry for my son, I almost cried, myself!: (

My second son got his big BCG shot, in another doctor's office in Japan and again 3 or 4 other babies his age were there doing the same thing. However my second son didn't even cry or whimper, when he got the actual shot and he didn't even cry afterwards. We thought, how totally weird! So we have had both ways, a kid who screams his ever lovin' head off and a kid who sits quietly during his shots.

Btw, I am not crazy about the mass cattle call type things, but I do them anyway. We had a mass cattle call thing for teeth brushing for both of my sons. Etc. Many of those mass cattle call type things, where anywhere from 20-60 kids (depending on how big your city or town is) all the same age, plus parents can be all crammed in a room or two, and follow step 1, step 2, step 3, dress your kid, undress your kid, etc, etc. Sigh. : )

Anyway I am glad you and your DD are well after your first round of shots in Japan. : )

Nancy said...

Awww, I remember taking Soph for her first vaccination. Such a hard thing for a mom to do. although my child is a freak and has no fear of needles. She has not cried once from any of her vaccinations. It almost worries me ;)

Belinda said...

Very different to here! BTW we don't do TB shots here and vaccinations are done at 8 weeks, 4 mths, 6 mths, 12 mths, a chicken pox shot at 18 mths and the a few shots just before they start school at 4 yrs.

They are done by either a baby health nurse at a clinic or by your GP in their office. So it's 1 on 1 stuff, not a group thing.

None of the needles Darcy has had so far have worried him really - a slight gasp maybe but no crying/screaming. What can I say - he's a placid kid :-) I can't take him though as i have a huge needle phobia, so Steven takes him for them.

- Belinda

Anonymous said...


Aunt Patty, who undeservedly had 2 babies who totally accepted whatever the Dr. dished out. (I can relate to Nao & you, Chrissy!)

Sarah said...

(first comment!)

Wow you deserve a big otsukare-sama! I can only imagine how madhouse that kind of setting must be.. but sounds like you and your little girl made it though ok. Good to know she has a big personality right from the beginning!! The karate kick is adorable btw!

- ChocoSarah

Erin said...

I love the karate chops! hey, are these the vaccines that leave huge scars in the arm? My stepdaughters (and my hubby) have them from Chile where they are still mandatory but I don't have one...
PON: Pissed Off Nao :)

Cha-chan said...

I can relate to Nao. I actually REMEMBER one of the shots I got (must've been one of those when I was 4), and I remember screaming and thrashing about like I was completely possessed, and it took three or four nurses to hold me down. But, afterwards, they gave me a sticker that said, "I was a big girl!" and I was just completely perplexed, because I SOOOO wasn't a big girl.

People don't get it when I say I'm not having kids, but I think it has something to do with the "having kids just like you" thing that you mentioned!

coarse gold girl said...

9 years a some months ago another little baby girl was born wide awake, fiesty, opinionated and at the lowest end of the sleep scale. She was my first born. I love reading your descriptions of Nao's blossoming personality because it so reminds me of my daughter's infancy. You are handling a spirited baby much more gracefully than I did. I did a lot of walks with baby in the bjorn or in the stroller and me pleading, "You're tired. sleep." By the age of one if my eldest heard the word "sleep" she wailed fiercely as though on cue.

Today we go to get our family flu shots. My eldest now, ahem, in a truely weird turn of events, sort of relishes getting shots. From screamer to the child whose face instantaneously lites up at the sight of a shringe now. . . Her little sister though, she still screams.


kuri & ping said...

Thanks for all the comments! I enjoyed reading your stories about the different vaccinations. :)

Erin, these are the vaccines that leave a big scar on the arms, although they are better than they were years ago, from what I've heard. BTW, I can't access your site for some reason. It shuts down my computer all the time! :( Sorry I can't comment!

Cha-chan, I remember getting my tonsils out at 2 years old. People tell me that I shouldn't be able to remember something from when I was so young, but I distinctly remember being held down by 2 nurses and a doctor as they tried to give me a shot for something. Maybe that's where my dislike of the medical profession started.

coarse gold girl, LOL about the my "gracious" handling of my spirited baby. It's been fun so far (with a few exceptions, of course!) :)


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