I took my bubba to his 2 month well baby check up, aka shot day. Being a really good boy mom, I was wearing my game face despite intense nerves about needles poking my baby. I parked and pulled my cooing bub out of his car seat, clutched his face close to mine, and walked through the sterile glass doors. The front desk staff must have sensed my trepidation because they said hello and gave me sad eyes as I checked in. I walked to the back waiting area to prepare for certain doom.
Then I noticed my hand was wet. I investigated further and discovered my bubbie’s back was wet, as were his butt and the backs of his legs, because my kid had massacred a diaper. Those weren’t sympathetic, sorry-your-angel-is-getting-a-shot eyes the front desk gave me; those eyes said ew-that’s-poop. I made for the bathroom, but the world’s unfriendliest nurse called our name and led us back to be seen instead. I apologized for the mess and tried to be quick with the cleanup, but Nurse Grumpy could not be bothered with bedside manner. I hastily wiped up the kiddo and got his soiled clothing tied into a scented laundry bag just in time for him to be stabbed to death. In that moment two rights of passage were taken: baby boy endured the pain of his first round of shots and will be healthier for it, and mama endured the pain of her heart exploding inside her chest while she remained calm and emotionally available to comfort that sweet babe as he held his breath for a silent scream in reaction to immense and terrifying pain.
I hugged my boy close and swallowed the massive lump in my throat. I pulled out the adorable ducky sleeper I had brought as a backup for the bubba to wear, and my heart sunk when I realized it was at least a month too small. Bubs sobbed and sighed and burrowed into my neck, asking me nicely to get us the hell out of there already, so I quickly shoved my little love’s feet into the even littler footies. The boy wailed, telling me nicely that too-tight jammies were a no-go right now. I thought for a minute about taking him home in only a diaper, but it’s winter and much too cold for naked baby man boobs, no matter how cute. I silently cursed the missed opportunity to see my little ducky properly fit in this precious outfit; I asked for a pair of scissors, allowed myself a few seconds of mourning, and I cut off those ducky footies.
Baby boy cooed in his car seat as I sang nursery rhymes on the way home, proving shot day is way harder for mama than baby. He smiled when I fed him his bottle, and I smelled his head and snuggled his neck and rocked him long after he had fallen asleep. I laid my baby down for his nap, and I laughed as I cried thinking about his ducky sleeper because being a good boy mom means becoming emotional at surprising absurdities like ruined clothing and your boy handling pain better than you can. Then I ate some cookies, drank some coffee, and (as always) pumped some breastmilk. I sighed, and I chuckled, and I let go of shot day, brushing off another emotionally taxing milestone in this mom life, as has become my daily, exquisite norm