I brought the baby to her first vaccinations. Her look said: why have you betrayed me?

Aisling Marron: Our lives seem to revolve around vaccinations lately

 

I brought the baby to her first vaccinations and God forgive me, but you’d be sympathetic to anti-vaxxers. The screams! The eye contact! The look that asks: why have you betrayed me?

Also, a potential side effect of one of the vaccinations was explained to me as being “a little bit of a twisted gut”. Quickly followed up with: “I’ve never seen it mind you . . . but, yeah, the gut might get a bit twisted.”

The vaccination schedule for babies seems to be running on time but developmental checks are a bit more touch and go. I came home from the three-month developmental check and relayed the good news that the baby had flown it. My husband was quick to remind me, however, that they were carrying out checks for a three-month old baby on what was by now, a five-month-old one – the underlying tone being that I should maybe rein in my glee.

I’m often caught on the hop at these tests – when the checklist of things that I’m meant to be noticing in my offspring comes at me. So I tried to think of things she can do in advance: she can roll from back to front (but not front to back). She can take her dummy out of her mouth and put it back in. She can laugh and cry at the same time (very advanced). She can hang on to my hair with the tightest grip which does not release, even when tickled.

Our lives seem to revolve around vaccinations the past few months. The baby is on her own immunisation schedule. The toddler got vaccinated for chickenpox.

And we went through the national collective experience:

Did you get an appointment? No, I’m still waiting on the text. I’ve been checking the website every day. I heard that centre is running slow all right. Did you try a pharmacy? What about down home? Oh you got an early one? How’d you manage that? Which one did you get? I heard that one’s not as good to start but then it’s better overall. Did your cert come in? Did you have any side effects? Just a sore arm, yeah, I was the same. I felt a bit rough the next day but it could have been the cans on the canal I had afterwards, etc etc etc.

Spare vaccine

On the way back from my solo trip to Kerry, Husband called to suggest I drop into a friend who is a pharmacist in Limerick to see if I could get a vaccine so that we would be able to go indoor dining when we’d be in Donegal a few weeks later. At that very moment, I was pulled into a filling station wondering how I’d best corral the two under two into the shop that was just 3m away, so a detour to Limerick to go mooching for a spare vaccine was a step or 10 too far. (Though a few weeks later, when I found myself eating lunch outside in the Donegal rain, watching a sodden marquee wall flapping in the wind – I did wonder if maybe I should have tried to pull it off).

I was more recently driving past Croke Park and, pointing it out to the toddler, I asked, “What happens in there?”, expecting her to say “football” because that’s what I tell her every time we pass, but it turns out her actual memory trumps my attempts at indoctrinating because she said: “The doctor’s in there.” At first I thought she was talking the usual gibberish that two-year-olds are fluent in, till I remembered she has attended GAA HQ for a Covid-19 test three times between the ages of one and two, so when she said the doctor’s in there, well, she was close enough.

I myself have made more trips to Croke Park this year than I did during the heady summer of 2001.

Walking towards it for my first dose, on what was a beautiful summer’s evening, I was more emotional than if I was heading to support my county in the All-Ireland.

Queue

I tweeted a photo of me outside the stadium saying that I was standing in line. A neighbour (similar age, similar address) got in touch to say he was also in line so must be right behind me. I kept looking back at the queue but never saw him. He told me he was wearing a yellow T-shirt – I still couldn’t see him. He said he was shouting out my name – I definitely couldn’t hear it. I said I was being pulled to the side because I had a buggy so he should see me now – no joy.

Then he sent a picture of the part of the stadium he was in. A very distinctive part of the stadium. Distinctively, the Aviva Stadium.

Oh how we laughed! He signed off our correspondence, “Well thank God for facemasks, cos I’m scarlet”.

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