Needles and ice cream

15 Feb


I bought my children ice cream today. It was 9am and I bought them ice cream and one for myself. A mother with two children was walking near us when I heard her little boy spot us and ask for ice cream. The mother turned and looked at us, then turned back to her son and said, “You won’t be having ice cream this early”, with much emphasis placed on the ‘you’.

I didn’t feel guilty for a second. Not only were my children eating ice cream at 9am, I was too. I make it a rule not to feed my children anything I am not willing to eat myself. I know too many parents who eat amazingly healthy food and give their kids faster, less healthy, less expensive alternatives. I don’t believe in feeding my kids junk that I’m not willing to eat myself. So we had ice cream at 9am. We didn’t have ice cream again today. We had a healthy lunch, we brushed our teeth before bed. Was any harm done?

We don’t usually have ice cream that early in the day. I usually save their treats for after lunch. But today was special. My son turned four on Saturday so he had his immunisation shots today. Four is a difficult age for shots. They are old enough to be horrified by the event but too young to understand why it’s happening.

The nurses at my local medical centre are amazing. They get it all ready, position him facing me with our arms wrapped around each other and quickly deliver a shot in each arm. They help me comfort him and monitor us for fifteen minutes after to make sure there are no complications. They comfort me when I am incapacitated by guilt at the pain I have inflicted on my little boy, even though it is necessary pain.

Here’s how ‘ice-cream-gate’ came about. When they placed him in my arms and we hugged each other he knew something was up. He humoured me by hugging me but he felt tense in my arms. He knew something was off. While they swabbed his arm I asked him what is favourite ice cream flavour is. Chocolate. They gave him the first needle. As it went in he said, “Hey!”. I wanted to cry. He started crying so I immediately started offering him ice cream. I said, “Good boy, I love you so much, do you want sprinkles on your ice cream?”. He answered between sobs, saying, “No sprinkles”. Then they did the second one and he screamed his head off. I said, “All done, good boy, it’s okay, lets get ice cream.”

So that’s how we really ended up eating ice cream at 9am. We did get a couple of looks from other mums but I was able to quickly say, “He had his shots today.”. They immediately understood my reasoning behind the early morning treat. I would have given him five ice cream cones if he had asked. It was horrible and I’m so happy he’s pretty much done…until he’s twelve and at least then he will understand why it’s happening.

So his little band aids are still on. You know those little circle ones? They have just a little blood in the middle and I’ll take them off during his morning bath (no bath last night due to a long P & F meeting).

When my newborn nephew was given his first shot he had a little cry but he stopped pretty much immediately as soon as it was over. My son was quite shocked until his ice cream distracted him and for that I am grateful to the dairy delight. I needed a pick-me-up too and the passionfruit ice cream I chose did the job nicely, I have to say.

To each their own and you are in my thoughts if you have immunisations coming up. Hold them tight, give them a treat and don’t forget one for you. It’s not easy being a parent and it’s even harder being the one who does needle-duty.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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