Since Peanut is a month old now, it was time to take her for her vaccination today. This was a slightly less pleasant experience than taking her out for Rakhi.
Getting there was easy enough, despite a bad traffic jam that got us 10 minutes late. But Peanut slept peacefully in her car seat, and we found the place despite the silly receptionist's warped directions, obtained on the phone by my mother.
I had been worried about reaching late for the appointment - and therefore, it was really irritating to have to wait for a whole hour before the doctor finally saw us. Of course, his dumbass receptionist could have told us he was running an hour late when my mother called for directions but clearly it did not occur to her. We were the only people there with an infant - there were a couple of other families in the waiting room with us - with their totally ghastly children.
Now, before you accuse me of bad-mouthing other people's kids - let me tell you, it's not that I think only my baby is cute - I think plenty of other babies are cute -but the specimen in the doctor's office were just NOT CUTE.
One was a female of about 6 years who wailed like a banshee everytime something was denied her - such as climbing up the stairs to the exit. To top it off, it was a completely strange wail - it didn't even seem to emanate from her, but came at you from all directions in a strange, disembodied manner. I fervently wished they would let her run up the stairs and just leave. Especially because I was afraid her constant screaming would wake up Peanut, who would be sure to be hungry and cranky - I shuddered at the thought of the resultant cacophony of wails that would surely ensue - but Peanut has become immune to such disturbances (she is used to ignoring Vijay's attempts to wake her up). I only softened towards the banshee for a milisecond when she pointed at Peanut, and delightedly shrieked 'Baba'. But then she started tantrumming loudly again and my heart hardened, and I was back to wishing she would run up the stairs and vanish forever.
The other kid was a squealing bratty boy of around 3, who was being carried around by his doting bespectacled potbellied middle-aged Papa. They had devised an interesting game together. The Papa would indulgently hand the little boy a ball, and the kid would toss it immediately onto the floor. It would then be picked up and handed back to him, to be thrown back down again - ad nauseum. The most interesting thing about this game was that the doting Papa obviously thought that since he was performing the task of carrying his own son, everyone else in the room should pick up the ball from the floor and hand it over to him, every single time - so that he could pass it on to his son to throw down again, and so on. Strangely, the other people in the room were complying each time with dull and listless expressions on their faces, bending over to retrieve the ball from under their seats, while doting Papa watched with a patient yet smug expression on his face. By this time, I was so irritated that I was waiting for the ball to roll my way just so that I could kick it straight to the moon - but it didn't happen.
Finally, it was time for us to go in and see the doctor. Now, we have met this doctor before, at the time of Peanut's birth and ten days after, and he's an oldish man with some strange quirks. First of all, it seems that these doctors are a little too used to babies and have a slightly nonchalant attitude towards them, flipping them over and patting them up and down a little too roughly ( for my taste, anyway). Second of all, he insists on referring to Peanut as a 'he' despite my interjecting many times to tell him its a girl, and pointedly calling her 'Bitiya' and 'Baby girl' many times in front of him. Finally, he keeps calling me Vasundhara despite my correcting him the first few times 'Doc, it's Yashodhara'. Eventually, I just gave up on both counts, dully responding to his 'Vasundhara, hold the baby like this, now' and agreed that 'He' is gaining weight pretty decently.
Anyway, we had asked him all the relevant questions, Peanut was duly weighed and height-ed and then it was time to get on with the business of the injection. I watched, horrified, as the doctor jabbed her in the thigh and her face turned the bright red colour of a ripe tomato and she wailed in pain, so much that actual tears fell from her eyes for the first time ever. She was quite inconsolable, the momentary pain of the injection turning into the realisation that she was hungry and cranky. We left in an even more hurried manner than we had come in, and brought the baby home quickly.
Now, I'm sure this is no big deal for more experienced moms out there, but it really wasn't a nice experience for a new Mom. Vijay is in Bombay and couldn't be there today, much to his chagrin. However, I am personally glad he wasn't around, because I had visions of him jumping to her defense in a mad frenzy, grabbing the needle from the doctor and jabbing him with it.
Just to end this with two rather telling pictures:
Before: In the waiting room, comfortable in her young Mashi's arms.
After: Back at home, with a very hurt expression on her face. She seems to be asking 'Why me?'