There’s a virus doing the rounds in our neighbourhood, preying on children and adults alike.
So, last night my son and I were at the clinic, sharing the space with a dozen other folk who looked beat, no thanks to this virus.
We had to wait for a long time, and my son rested his head on my shoulders. With little else to do, I observed all the people who came in and went out.
One lady, who came out of the consultation room seemed to have received a shot in her arm. She held her upper arm with the other palm, looking traumatized by the experience. When she saw me, she managed a feeble smile.
My memories went back to my childhood, when we had to take our vaccine shots periodically. Mental conditioning for the ordeal would start hours before, with my grandma, aunt and parents describing that the injection needle would just be a small shooting pain, like an ant bite or some such. And that it would be over before I could say the word ‘vaccination’.
The highlight was of course the candy jar that held pride of place on the doctor’s table. An assortment of yummy candies to entice children to be brave.
Then, when I grew up, got married and had kids, it was my job to prepare my kids. The shots during the first two years were generally easy.
The poor baby had to be held cozily and firmly, as the doctor gave the baby the shot. The child looked on with innocent eyes, not knowing what was going to hit him or her.
And then the piercing pain, the shock registering on their innocent faces (which seemed to say that I had somehow let them down) and the reaction, a slow whine that would transform into a full throated bawl.
Courtesy – http://www.istockphoto.com
It was more painful to watch your children getting the shot than having them yourself.
Then, when they were old enough to understand, I would start preparing them, and would presell the candies at the doctor’s clinic, praying that the jar would not disappoint.