Just before leaving the pediatrician’s office, Maddie stared down the doctor. With defiance plastered across her face she declared, “Next time, hit me with a bigger needle and put your back into it!”
Maddie took her cue from Rocky IV this week when her poor little body was covered with bumps and she was racked with sickness. The evil Russian from the movie, Dolph Lundgren tells little Rocky, “I must break you!” Sly Stallone, always the smart one replies, “Go for it!”
That was just a movie, but my little Honey Badger is toughness personified.
Maddie took the worst her one-year vaccinations had to offer and shrugged it off in a little more than 24 hours. As if being sick wasn’t enough, Maddie bounced her left cheekbone off the corner of the living room table. She cried for less than 30 seconds and kept on playing as if nothing had happened.
Her grandmother MiMi always called Maddie a “Toughie,” but this is just ridiculous. Maddie even has a grizzly bear carpet in her room. The bear isn’t dead, it’s just too scared to move.
The best part of getting your baby vaccinated in the United States is the CONSTANT misinformation, secrecy and idiocy surrounding the shots. Make sure you read about the shots before you take your baby. In our experience, doctors don’t seem to be very forthcoming no matter how many questions you ask them.
Nine days after her shots, Maddie started getting a few bumps and was unusually cranky. If we thought that was the end of it, we were sorely mistaken. Maddie woke up the next morning covered with bumps from head to toe and feeling absolutely miserable.
We went back the doctor’s office to get an expert medical opinion. “Well, it could be a number of things,” said the doctor. Really??? Doc, you found the missing piece! What a stunning diagnosis! You cracked this one wide open – Move over Dr. House!! All those years in med school really paid off – Another feather in the cap for the medical community.
We have been very lucky that Maddie has only been sick three times in her life. It just so happens that every bout of illness has been associated with her shots. Maddie is tougher than nails and refuses to let this latest bout of shots drag her down. It’s her parents that really seem to be having the tough time when Maddie doesn’t feel well.
Maddie’s driving continues to improve each day, but her parallel parking is still a disaster. Actually, Maddie was great a passenger both to and from the airport during this most recent trip.
We had to find the perfect balance of snack time, bottle time and naptime but it all seemed to come together with a minimum amount of carnage during these 3-hour-marathons back and forth to Chicago.
I’ve become the designated sleep whisperer for all trips surpassing the two hour mark. If I’m not driving, I’m in the back seat sleeping with my little commando. The motion of being a passenger in any vehicle or airplane puts me right to sleep. Maddie is not the best sleeper in a moving vehicle unless she’s stuck with me.
The best way to keep the baby sleeping comfortably in the car is to know where a pacifier is at all times. This is true even if you are sleeping right along with the baby. As soon as Maddie starts to stir, my eyes snap open so I can quickly locate the closest pacifier.
Maddie opens her eyes the tiniest bit. I pop the pacifier into her mouth. Then the baby confirms that she is in the company of loved ones. In less than 8 seconds the event is over and the princess is back in dreamland. I always make sure that I am not too far behind.
For whatever reason, this shared sleep method does not work for us during air travel. But at least Maddie gets a reasonable nap before we begin to battle the forces of evil at the airport.
After two rough rounds of baby vaccinations at the two and four month mark, Maddie’s parents tried to shake things up a little for today’s 6-month shot extravaganza.
- Instead of an afternoon doctor’s appointment we switched it to morning.
- We gave Maddie baby Tylenol before her appointment even though she swallowed very little of it.
- We also decided that I would carry her home rather than put her into the stroller.
As expected, the shots themselves were not pleasant. We got Maddie home quickly and she was literally falling asleep in my arms. Unfortunately that nap lasted less than 20 minutes and trouble was brewing in Maddie’s world.
A sleepless hour later, it was apparent that if the baby was going to get any sleep – we had to go not just the extra mile, but also several of them. I strapped Maddie into the car seat and followed the advice of Horace Greeley and Kid Rock – we headed west. Within five minutes, Maddie was zonked out and sleeping soundly.
We had no destination in mind, just the Beirut-like war torn roads of New Jersey rumbling beneath us. It reminded me of the 80’s song by the Talking Heads called Road to Nowhere.
As the miles ticked by, I thought about this McDonald’s drive-thru about 70 miles away. I figured that after forty years plus, it was time to try my first shamrock shake. I considered waking Maddie for her approval, but ultimately decided that she should rest up after her ordeal.
140 miles and two and a half hours later, we arrived back at home and Maddie was just beginning to stir. It turns out that shaking things up was just what the doctor ordered to help the baby make it through her 6-month vaccines. Thankfully, Maddie was able to sidestep any major shot trauma and I finally got to try my first green milkshake. Life is good!
Tomorrow morning, Maddie goes under the needle for her 6-month vaccinations. This might sound overly dramatic, but the 2 and 4-month shots proved to be both sad and disruptive for all parties involved.
Seeing Maddie in great discomfort is a helpless and debilitating feeling. Your little girl is hurting and confused and is equally curious as to how you allowed this pain befall her in the first place.
The other issue is the glut of information out there about the potential hazards of these vaccines. At one point, the government insists that a particular shot is critical for your child’s health and the next year crosses it off the list.
I’m sure that keeping a positive attitude about the process can only help, but it sure won’t appease my little girl.
I’m also not convinced that knowing what to expect provides any tangible peace of mind. Maddie’s worst reaction seems to come almost four hours after the injection. She suddenly breaks down into panic as if its all taking place again. At this point, Maddie becomes completely inconsolable.
During the last two rounds of shots, Maddie was out of sorts across the board for at least four to five days. All naps and normal sleep schedules are truncated by these vaccination events as well as Maddie’s appetite.
So shields up and prepare for impact because tomorrow morning we are going in!
Nobody has any passionate fondness for stomach issues and certainly babies are no different. But the real trick with a baby is running through your personalized set of baby diagnostics to find out what is troubling the little one in the first place.
When Maddie woke up literally screaming at 6pm this evening, it certainly wasn’t to help ring in the new year. In the past, such an extreme reaction has been exclusively reserved for negative post-vaccination issues. Since the baby was pretty much hysterical – the first order of business was to try and calm her down.
I wrapped my arm around her stomach and started walking with her – within 30 seconds; I could actually feel the disturbance in her churning tummy. It became obvious that her stomach was under siege from gaseous anomalies and that the baby needed some real relief and distraction from what was taking place in that crazy belly. We actually spent the next two hours trying to get that tummy settled before bedtime and strangely enough, it seemed to work.
This was accomplished with multiple tummy positions designed to put pressure on the baby’s stomach. This included, but was not limited to putting her tummy of my knee, my shoulder and even placing my hand under her stomach and flying her around the room. Each new position led to various expulsions of gas, but just as important, it helped bring out the smiles and relax what had been a desperately upset young lady.
It’s not an easy situation to deal with when you see your child consumed by discomfort, but in this case, various manual tummy time techniques seemed to do the trick.
Two days after our vaccination misadventures, Maddie is feeling a little bit better, but still struggling to sleep off all the nasty drugs churning in her system.
The baby not only slept until seven this morning (WHICH IS A MIRACLE!) but is making sure to catch extended catnaps at every turn. The first nap came after we had a couple pieces of furniture delivered this morning, including a new recliner! As soon as the delivery guys left, Maddie and her PaPa raced over to check out the new recliner. We looked at each other and decided to take that bad boy for a drive.
We plopped down into our new seat and Maddie knew exactly what to do – she passed out dead asleep in my arms in less than a minute. It was an hour and half before she finally woke up, but it was clear that this little nap of hers was just an appetizer. It was also apparent that this new recliner might work out very nicely in our happy home.
I really had to prod Maddie during her afternoon feeding just to keep her awake. The baby was only half way through the bottle when it became obvious that she couldn’t finish. Just before Maddie fell asleep, we decided to pay one more visit to the new recliner in case it was feeling lonely.
The leather chair greeted us like a long lost friend. Maddie’s little temper was flaring, but as soon as we settled in, the chair’s comfort assumed control of the situation. Maddie and PaPa both succumbed to the charm of the chair as we were forced to take another nice long nap.
Maddie ended up sleeping for two full hours and indicated that she is a big fan of the new chair! Good job Mom!
I will always be eternally grateful to my younger sister Rachel. Her vaccination advice continues to be a lifesaver after poor little Maddie had another bad reaction to her scheduled shots last night.
Having some idea of what to expect during this round of vaccinations made things a little bit easier – but not much.
I was hoping that Maddie wouldn’t suffer from the same reaction to her shots that she had last time, but that was obviously wishful thinking. About four hours after Maddie’s vaccination – my sweet little girl literally went berserk. She screamed with a fear and desperation that was more than enough to rip your heart out.
I instantly remembered my sister’s strange, yet very successful advice that she had shared with us when she was visiting two months ago. She said, hold the baby tight, rock her and sing to her. (You can’t be serious!) It worked then, I prayed it might work again!
I scooped up Maddie and held her tight, but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of the words to any songs at all. After 30 seconds, Maddie was screaming with an intensity none of us had ever heard before. Suddenly, through the fog of her wailing – the words to the song Everyday by the Dave Mathews Band came spilling into my swirling brain.
“Pick me up love, Everyday!”
The words spilled out into a jumble at first, but then turned into the song that I hoped would calm my panicked precious child. Like a magic spell, in less than 30 seconds she started to scale down. I kept on singing like an obsessed street person, terrified to stop even for one second. Two minutes later she was quietly staring at me, as I went over the song verse by verse, again and again.
Another few minutes passed by and the baby was sound asleep in my arms as Gina started coming by and applying warm compresses to the leg where Maddie received the offending shot.
It was a tough night for all of us, but once again, my sister’s unorthodox cure was a true lifesaver. She has two amazing children of her own, so I am thankful that she was able to share some of that critical knowledge with us.
Upon further review of why this strange solution actually relaxes the baby – I can only guess that when an infant reaches an uncontrolled panic mode, he or she is looking for a specific form of warmth, security and protection that allows them wind down in an active, yet completely safe environment. I’m not sure why singing (especially mine) conveys a sense of security; I just know that it works.
Maddie showed amazing resiliency by bouncing back after her bad visit to the doctor’s office earlier this week. Her appetite was off – but she started the day in high spirits and it was a great relief to see her smile again.
It might have cost a night of sleep to get her back on track – but I will take that deal any day of the week. It also seems that Maddie has recovered much more quickly than her parents from this little ordeal.
I admit that between Rachel (my sister), Gina and myself – the baby hasn’t had to sleep by herself since her trip to the doctor. Rachel and I took Maddie out to breakfast while my Alaskan sister soaked in all the sunlight she could before heading back to the frozen tundra of Homer, Alaska.
When we got back, Maddie rejected all efforts to be coaxed into another nap with PaPa. However, once I put her in the Cradle ‘n Swing – she slept for a solid three hours without making a peep. She must have needed some alone time after her clingy father wouldn’t giver her any peace.
When the baby finally woke up – she was ravenous, screaming at the top of her lungs for food. Mission accomplished – Hide the food – Maddie is herself again.