If it ain’t broke don’t fix it;
so go find someone who can tell you if it’s broke,
’cause it might need fixing.
Time heals all wounds
that can heal.
My baby had their 8 week vaccinations recently, and their mum was AWOL, well that’s not true–she had pre-planned many months previously to be away–at a spa evening (banter points: Dad) and we knew beforehand that this meant one of two things: extra sleep, or extra tears.
The vaccinations in question? Here in the UK the NHS gives a real cocktail of wallop: the 6-in-1 diphtheria; tetanus; whooping cough (pertussis); polio; Haemophilus influenzae type b, another for pneumococcal (PCV), another for rotavirus, and finally meningitis B. I’m totally for vaccinations, after all these guys are scientists.
I was working from home (can’t complain) but started early in the day and worked through lunch to be around earlier, and fortunately didn’t have to witness the injections themselves–which apparently were heartbreaking.
Baby was OK to begin with, was behaving fairly normally, and then sometime in the late afternoon it all just kicked and they wouldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t put them past vertical unless they were leaning forwards on me.
But then something wonderful happened, it all just occurred to me that they weren’t just trying to get into a comfortable position, or needing winding, or needing nappy changing, it was that they wanted to feel safe and secure because they were feeling so mixed up inside. Wow, it sort of just hadn’t occurred to me that this was going to be one of my roles. I don’t know why, I guess it makes so much sense…. but I didn’t think of it. So having him utterly unwilling to be put down for six hours was a lesson for me that this little human trusts me, and wants to know things are OK in a time of crisis. Shit! What a thing…. this was definitely the first time I felt like more than just a nappy/milk/wind/sleep/stimulation servant, and instead like a … well … a parent.
I’m not suggesting that this one isolated incident created my life, but when I was five, older girls down my street put on a magic show for the younger kids. It was quite a beautiful thing to do, looking back at it, and it brought everyone together.
Halfway through their magic show they tasked us (the younger kids) with a competition: who could draw the best picture of their garage (where the magic show was happening). I drew their typical British 1970’s grey-bricked garage, at the end of their driveway, with the yellow garage door and I remember thinking at the time that it was quite simple so there was probably something I wasn’t doing right and I might not win.
It turns out that not only did I have better hand-eye coordination than the only other kid who actually drew their garage, but that I was probably smarter as well, since most kids just drew something else completely and didn’t hear/understand/care about their fairly simple instructions. But I won a small bag of chalky sweets, like Refreshers, or Love Hearts, or Palma Violets. They were delicious and I was extremely proud.
I remember going into my back garden afterwards and sitting up on the top of the slide with a beaming feeling.
Neither of my parents were particularly artistically inclined, yet I became highly art-focussed. I got an A at GCSE, and went on to study it at A-Level, and even now have four or five sketchbooks on the go. It was a huge part of what I just ended up being known for, growing up.
It has just made me realise how important the positive small things are in life, and there really are defining moments.