It was just another boring Thursday. That late in the work week, we were tired, half sick, busy, rushed… the usual.
The “highlight” of the day was a visit to Mark’s doctor for a series of vaccines administered at age 4. I follow the immunization schedule religiously, especially given the occasional measles outbreaks and the absurd anti-vaxxer movement, so I had called the doctor’s office a few days after his birthday.
Feng and Mark drove to the University of Ottawa Health Clinic. I was coming from a meeting with a client downtown and I met them in the parking lot. Feng is always on time. I love him for that.
I gave Mark the usual pep talk. Yes, a needle goes into the skin, yes it will hurt a bit—I will let you know when, I will be here and the pain won’t last. I don’t have a needle phobia and I don’t want Mark to develop one. I also don’t lie to him as a matter of principle—shots suck but hey, that’s life!
The nurse was taking forever and I was afraid that Mark’s willingness to endure the “big boy rite of passage” (that was how I branded it) wouldn’t last. She was also making a huge deal of it. According to her, I pretty much should have strapped Mark to the chair. “Honestly, he will be fine. He knows exactly what’s coming, don’t worry,” I told her.
The nurse was dubious but indeed, Mark didn’t cry at all. One shot, two shots… then I got the flu shot (Mark held my hand, of course), then he got his. “This one HURTS!” he complained. I hugged him, secretly proud to have this kid who doesn’t scream to death.
Then, at the same time, I realized that maybe I was training him to become a junkie.
Damn. Parenting is hard, you can’t help second-guessing yourself all the time.
We met the doctor for a brief checkup. Vitals and measurements were taken (Mark is 17 kg and 102 cm) and questions were asked. Yes, Mark can put his shoes on by himself, no I have no idea if his testicles moved down because this is not my area of expertise.
The doctor was less paternalist than when Mark was a baby. Maybe we looked less clueless or maybe we had passed some kind of test, coming back with a grownup little boy instead of a screaming infant or a whiny toddler.
We finally left the office an hour and three sore arms later.
“It’s snowing! Mommy! It’s snowing!”
I may have said “fuck that shit” out loud. I probably did.
It was snowing. In October. Not the kind of slightly wet rain that can still pass as your regular fall rain, but big fluffy snowflakes, the kind Hollywood favours to feature in Christmas family movies.
This snow won’t last on the ground.
The next one probably will.