The call from Grandma Z came at work. She was watching you that day, so I figured she wanted to give me an update on your adventures.
“Jea?,” she said, her voice wavering. “Charlie had an accident….”
OMG. HEART STOP. WORLD SPIN. LEGS COLLAPSE.
“….He chipped part of his tooth offffffff,” she crumbled into wailing sobs.
Once my heart stopped exploding, I gave a Fist Bump of Thanks to the Universe and gleaned the story from Grandma. In truth, I’ve never been more happy to hear details of how you got hurt.
“He was (sob) crawling on the tile floor and I (sob) heard a thummp. I thought, ‘Oh no, his head!’ but then (sob) I looked and (sob) his lip was kind of bloody and then (sob) I saw that part of his front tooth was gone (soooooobbbbbbbb).”
She wouldn’t hear it. She cried. And cried. And cried. She cried so much and for so long (four hours, people!) that I considered leaving work so I could make sure someone was watching you while she recovered. There’s a chance she’s still crying now.
Grandma felt so guilty and so scared that she insisted your Dad take you to a dentist RIGHT THIS MINUTE and that she come along, tear-stained and all. She brought the tiny chip of tooth in a Ziploc bag.
I share this story not to tease my dear, loving mother, but to illustrate just how much you matter to people in this world. The thought of you hurt – even something as small as a tooth – was just too much for her to bear. (By the way, the dentist simply filed down your tooth and sent us on our way.)
But kids get hurt, and kids get sick, as hard and scary as it is. One evening in early July, your father and I took you to the emergency room (once again) on the advice of your pediatrician. You were burning up at 104 degrees, had neither eaten nor drank in 24 hours, and were too lethargic to move. It was terrifying.
The doctor took one look down your throat and knew what was up: Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease. Turns out we shouldn’t put you to bed in the stables (just joking; you know we only let you nap in there). She sent us home with some high-powered Ibprofen and you were back to typical Charlie in a few days.
Illnesses aside, you’ve done a lot of growing since my last post, both physically and intellectually. You know how to say dada, balloon, banana, up, all done, and Grandma B’s first name (but not mama; WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THAT?!). You can sign up, down, banana, bath, all done, dog, no, and time (in reference to your “Baby Signing Time” video). You can point to your head, nose, and ears. You love to mimic.
You finally decided you could walk on July 4. Pretty fitting, don’t you think? You’d been standing and stumbling for weeks, then suddenly blazed after a ball that you’d thrown on the floor, as if you’ve known how to do it for ages. You still appear drunk on your feet at times but are very stable for the most part.
Your desire to cuddle continues to increase, to our delight. You know how to give those awesome wrap-your-arms-around-us hugs. You waddle – drunkenly – toward us, clutch our legs, look into our eyes, and command, “Up!”
The cats are more comfortable with you. Baron may even tolerate you a bit because I offer him a plate of milk when I get yours ready each morning. Of course, this backfires on those rare occasions when you sleep in and Baron’s milk alarm goes off at 5 a.m.
You’ve designated a place on the couch as your “reading spot.” You’ll grab a book, lean back on the pillows, give a deep “aaaaaaah” of relaxation, and open the book like it’s the New York Times on a Sunday morning. You prefer “There’s a Monster At the End of this Book,” “Baby’s 100 First Words,” and “Baby Animals.”
We took you to the County Fair for the first time. I went each year growing up, but there’s no better way to experience it than as a parent. It’s been a decade since I’d seen the Kids Zone, and I experienced emo-overload when I watched you and Dad ride the carousel. You also patiently waited when your father and I sought out the yearbook section to see how old our former teachers have become (they’re old!).
I babysat a six-month-old during a work event last week. She slept for two hours in my arms, and I saw your precious baby face each time I looked at her. It surprised me when the tears came. I wasn’t emotional because I still wish you were a baby (just thinking of all that hard work shrivels up my ovaries); it was because I’m so grateful to have seen you grow from a baby into this charming, chattering 14.5ish-month-old.
You’re such a fun little dude, Charlie, and I love you. Each day is an adventure – for you, for us, and for your dentist.