Miss Gabriela had her first appointment with the pediatrician yesterday afternoon. We took her in to a vaccine clinic just before her appointment to get her newborn shots (Hepatitis B and BCG here in Brasil.) The nurse at the clinic asked if she was our first child and when we said yes, she started to explain the BCG vaccine to us. It is given to protect children from tuberculosis. And it leaves an open wound on her upper arm - that could bleed and ooze for up to 6 months according to the nurse. Oh, and it will leave that scar that you see on all Brasilians. And then she pulled out a reference book and showed us pictures to make sure we understood what she was telling us.
Whoa, hey, back-up . . . you want to do what to my child? I know that scar well. My parents have it. Eric and I had noticed it on people our age here, but assumed that Brasil just didn't update the method for vaccinating as early as the US or something. After some research, I now know that the US doesn't vaccinate against TB anymore . . . and that in the 100 years this vaccine has been around they haven't developed a better way to administer it. (Time out on all the hard to fix problems of the world for a moment - we can send people to the moon for goodness' sake, can't we find a better way to vaccinate babies against TB?!?)
Eric and I left the clinic with our kiddo only getting the Hepatitis B shot. In the thigh. With a normal needle. She only cried for 5 seconds. The way vaccines are supposed to go for a baby, in my opinion. We told the nurses we needed to do some more research before agreeing to permanently scarring our daughter's arm. And taking on caring for an open wound that may or may not really be necessary.
She's liking bath time with Daddy more and more these days.
So we went on to her doctor's appointment after that. I knew she was going to ask us if we'd gotten the kid vaccinated. I wasn't really looking forward to answering that one since I hadn't done the BCG research yet and had no argument against the vaccine except - it looked like it would hurt and I'm not sure I want my daughter to have that scar. I highly expected it might get me a nomination for Incompetent Mother of Month.
And that was on top of my first concern of the pediatrician-appointment-day. With two weeks under my outside-of-the-womb-care, and over a week and a half of successful cloth diapering, Gabriela had had a perfectly healthy hiney. No skin irritation, no pink bum, no need for any diaper rash cremes, nothing but skin as smooth and soft as, well, a baby's bottom. So imagine my dismay when she wakes up yesterday morning and from the bottom end it appears that a baby baboon has escaped from the zoo and crawled into Gabriela's pajamas and replaced my sweet baby girl while we were all sleeping. Poor thing. She had the brightest red hiney! It seems that the remnants of digested breastmilk produced from calories provided by spicy Mexican food has roughly the same effect on my child's skin that pure battery acid would. (Explains why she cried while filling up that diaper though!)
So now I look like the mom who lets her new baby sit long hours in dirty diapers. And doesn't bother getting her vaccinated. Score.
My little princess showed off her exhaustive list of tricks yesterday highly impressing the doctor though. She peed on the doctor, pooped on the scale, spit up on the exam table, and screamed like a banshee the entire time the doctor examined her. For extra credit, she also poked out that pouty bottom lip as far as it could possibly go to show her displeasure with the whole experience.
I grew up showing sheep and beef cattle with 4-H and FFA. But I swear I haven't trained my daughter to assume this 'show animal' position! (Although her form is good, huh? Head up, arms and legs squared up, back straight . . . )
Luckily, she checked out just fine at the doctor's office. And she has grown: 3 cm longer and about a half pound heavier since birth. So I might have redeemed myself a little - she didn't appear to be completely neglected. Her mother might seem incompetent, but at least the milk cow has been showing up to feed her!
Her cheeks might be getting chubbier, but none of that weight has gone to her legs yet!