Tomorrow, on the day you turn four months old, we’ll be moving into our new house. You’ll have no memory of this place we’ve called home for the last six years – the home to which we brought both you and your brother from the hospital.
Though I’ll be sad to say goodbye to this house, I won’t be sad to say goodbye to parts of this past month. You suffered your first cold and IT. WAS. AWFUL. I knew it was only a matter of time – on account of your brother being a cesspool of preschool germs – but I didn’t expect it to be so bad.
The sniffles started on a Tuesday. Within a day, the cold had destroyed your voice box, so when you tried to cry, it came out as a high-pitched, barely-there whine. Soon, I was convinced you were struggling to breathe. I brought you to Urgent Care on Thursday, where they took your temperature (slight fever), tested you for the flu (negative), and said you had a bad cold that would go away on its own. (I have a funny story about our trip to Urgent Care, but I’ll get to that in a bit). In the meantime, Children’s Tylenol would help.
It didn’t. You got worse and worse. By Saturday, I was hysterical on the phone with your Dad, forcing him to come home from Lowe’s because I thought you were suffocating. Later that day, your fever spiked to above 102 degrees.
I called the after-hours line for our medical group, and explained your symptoms to the nurse. She told us to head to the ER.
Grandma B met us at the children’s hospital and took your brother. Then we spent the next four hours in the ER, which has got to be one of the lowest circles of hell. Imagine several dozen sickly children, their frightened/frustrated parents, and overburdened (though wonderful) medical staff – all shoved into one tiny waiting room. At dinner time.
At one point, a father became belligerent because the nurses wouldn’t/couldn’t immediately help his teenage daughter, who’d broken her arm and was crying in pain. Poor thing. He began screaming, dropping “F” bombs, and generally scaring everyone. I was equal parts empathetic toward him (no parent can stand when their babies are hurt, after all) and also pissed.
Guy, get your shit together. My infant CAN’T BREATHE.
You were diagnosed with bronchiolitis. A respiratory therapist put tubes up your nose and down your throat to suck out some of the congestion from your lungs. Dad held you down while I wrapped my arms around his waist and buried my face into his back. I couldn’t watch; the sound of your cry was excruciating enough.
You seemed to breathe easier after that. When your fever dropped, we were sent home with good tidings and instructions to buy the Nose Frida, which is suuuuuuuuper disgusting, but also incredibly effective. By Monday, you were on the mend.
Back to my story about Urgent Care. While being examined, you let loose a loud, impressive poop that lasted 30 solid seconds. The doctor and I shared a glance and laughed. Ha ha ha – oh babies! They’re so funny!
The joke was on me, because when I went to grab a diaper and wipes out of my bag, I realized Grandma B had taken ALL OF THEM OUT when you stayed with her the day before. And, of course, the doctor’s office didn’t have anything lying around, though they did offer me cleaning wipes. Uh, no thanks.
Having no other option, I busted out my ninja skills and fashioned a diaper out of a medical sheet. I rule.
This month, you really became alive. You began to recognize me, or at least to show that you recognize me. Our eyes will lock and you’ll beam, squeal, thump your legs, and gaze at me with what must be love. Or gas.
You’re learning to giggle. Right now, it just sounds like my reaction to your Dad thinking he’s told a funny joke.
You’re still sleeping with your eyes slightly open, WHICH IS FREAKY.
Your favorite place in the universe is the changing table. You can be bawling like the world is ending. We plop you down on the pad, then oooooooh, look at the pretty window. It’s magic.
I can’t even think about leaving you there unattended anymore; yesterday, you rolled over for the first time! You were with Grandma B, doing some tummy time, when you threw your head back and the rest of your body followed. Well done!
You’re trying really hard to fit your entire hand in your mouth. The other morning while Charlie was eating breakfast before school, I rhetorically asked what you felt like packing that day. “His fist?” Charlie said.
My sweet boy, I’m only days from maternity leave ending, and my emotions are scattered. While I’m incredibly excited to return to work, I will miss our one-on-one, uninterrupted time.
This past week, I’ve stolen special moments with you – far from the packing that needed to be done, or the dinner that needed to be made. I let you nap snugly in my arms, instead of putting you in the crib. We spent a few extra minutes splashing in the bath, during which there was a moment I could’ve sworn you were the most loved baby that ever lived (along with Charlie, of course). I’ve inhaled your scent, and the smell of your sweet baby breath.
When “I See the Light” from Tangled came on my iPhone, we slow danced in our living room. I fast-forwarded to us dancing on your wedding day, a grown man, far from the tiny baby of today, and I began to cry.
It just goes so fast. I look at your brother, who’s almost FIVE, and I just can’t believe it. In no time at all, I’ll be saying the same thing about you.
But I didn’t become a mother to stay frozen in time. The real joy comes from being alongside you every day as you grow, learn new things, and discover all the wonderfuls about this life.
Thank you for letting me be here for the ride.