By Chris Frey
Contrary to the popular myth, men do possess a very strong nurturing instinct for our children. Yesterday, I had to take my Little Man to the doctor for his 2 month visit. It was just him and I, as we left Mom and Big Boy at home. Mom manages a restaurant an hour's drive away, and often gets home around 2-3 a.m. Big Boy was still sleeping when we had to leave to make the 10 a.m. appointment. I felt it would be better if just the little guy and I went, giving everyone else a chance to catch up on some rest.
Not until we were leaving did my wife remind me that the little guy would get his first shots. Not a problem, I can handle it - been there, done that, and off we went.
At the office everything was going good, he's gaining weight and length, good muscle tone, heart/lungs good, eyes clear, ears okay. Great! Now came time for the vaccinations. (Note: I fully support vaccinating children to prevent horrible diseases. There's overwhelming proof that vaccinations work and no conclusive proof that they cause any long term side affects.) I have to say that our pediatrician and his nurse are wonderful; caring, informative, and not overly cautious or tentative. The boys' doctor has been practicing a long time and has seen it all. Bottom line -- we trust them. For those of you who've experienced the following, you'll know what I'm talking about. It's a parents' instinct to protect our children from all harm and pain, yet when vaccinations are given we have to be an active participant in causing pain, even though we know it's for their own good. As the parent I must hold my child's hands over his head so he doesn't swat the needles as the nurse does her job giving my son his first three vaccines. You do this while your flesh and blood is screaming at the top of his lungs and tears are rolling down his little face, for he doesn't understand this is all for his own good. I challenge anyone not to show tearful empathy for their child while this is happening.
Yes, real men do cry, too. Pssst! Please don't tell anybody! I swaddled the little boy, kissed and hugged him and told him everything would be okay. Though, I don't think he really believed me. But, the little guy's a trooper, just a couple of whimpers on the way home, where Mom administered a preventative dose of Tylenol and some much needed Mom TLC.
Mothers and Fathers possess more similarities than differences when it comes to the instincts of compassion and care for their children. Showing compassion, and for that matter, tears for our children's pain, doesn't make us weak, sensitive, "sappy" men, but on the contrary, strong, powerful, and idolized fathers. I'll buck up for next month's visit, only two shots then.
Chris Frey is a stay-at-home dad, married with three children living in Yaphank, New York. Chris shares some of his parenting moments on his blog at
Long Island Dad
. He offers tips, stories and an entertaining insight on what it takes to be a stay-at-home parent on Long Island, NY. Article reprinted with permission.