Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Shot in the Arm (er, Leg)

Part of Ryan's 4-month checkup yesterday was a round of vaccinations. As I've mentioned previously, Ryan is quite a trooper about getting shots. The first injection didn't even rate a reaction, and the second resulting in a loud holler of indignation and just a minute of being upset. It wasn't even a case of, "Ouch, that hurts!" so much as it was, "Hey, give a guy a bit of warning when you do something like that, will ya?" But the rest of the day was a bit of crankiness.

The funny thing about when Ryan is cranky is that there's still always an undercurrent of laughter waiting to come bubbling to the surface. He can be pouting and sniffing miserably, but if Daddy makes googly eyes at him and sings a loud, "Bing!", the pout will burst into an instant smile. Or if I jiggle him just right on my lap, the tears puddle up in newly-appeared dimples. Even watching himself in the mirror, he'll go from an unhappy pout to a delighted grin in a split-second. Further proof that this is simply a laid-back, good-natured child.

And that makes it that much harder to see when he does have a bad day. My heart breaks when he can't be consoled. When even a bottle doesn't relax him, but instead makes him arch his back and flail his arms and legs and screech in protest, I feel like I - and the whole world - am letting him down. Something must be seriously wrong to make Mr. Happy into Mr. Unhappy. I'm sure it's a very disconcerting feeling for a little one to feel ill and have no idea what it means - will he feel like this forever? why is this happening? how come it isn't being fixed? He has no way of understanding that the achiness is temporary and will prevent him from feeling much worse later on. He can't possibly understand that he'll feel better soon and will forget all about this little ill. His reaction to momentary pain or discomfort reminds me that he has no concept of past, present, or future, but that everything in his world is in the "right now". It doesn't matter that the pain will pass, because it's here right now. It doesn't matter that the pain isn't severe because it's right now. It doesn't matter that he didn't hurt a moment again because he hurts right now.

But the flip side of that is that anything that takes him out of being in the right now makes everything better: a squeaky duck toy, a frozen chewie, Daddy or Mummy making silly faces and noises, a bird flying past the window, even his own shadow dancing on the floor.

It's good to have simple needs.

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