When I became a mum, I was expecting all the parenting curveballs in the predictable ways. The scariness of real responsibility, the debilitating exhaustion and even the exploding nappies straight from the pits of hell.
But no-one tells you about the pain in the tushie that is giving your new baby a little bit of medication.
Surprisingly, it is one of the hardest parts of being a parent. Give me three-hour windows of sleep over trying to put eye drops into a toddler any day.
And maybe no-one talks about it because as pre-parentals, we wouldn’t quite believe that a small bundle of gurgling squishiness could suddenly find super-baby strength and buck, wiggle and scream at a deafening pitch when faced with a few millilitres of medicine.
In the two years since my angel-faced son Max came into the world, we have had more wrestling matches about syringes filled with all types of sweet-tasting “get better” liquids than we’ve had about anything else – including hats, his real irrational hate in this world.
I was nearly broken by six bouts of conjunctivitis that came in quick succession. Every time it came to putting those eye drops in, Max would squish his whole face so tight that I started to worry he may never open his gunky eyes ever again.
During a funky ear infection in Fiji, I had to get inventive. I used one hand to offer fruit juice while swooping in a syringe of antibiotics with the other like a sneaky ninja. He eyed me with a degree of scepticism about messing with the juice trust code for the rest of our time away.