On December 15th, I came down with a fever. A rash started to form on my hands. Then my feet. My throat ached. If I’d ever experienced anything like it before, it was probably back in kindergarten when I had the chickenpox. During a doctor’s visit during which he called my rash “impressive” and my tonsils “nasty,” I learned that it was definitely not strep, but some sort of viral infection, possibly hand, foot, and mouth disease. Treat the symptoms, the doc said. It will go away.
Sometimes, he stops playing to come up to me and place his nose on my nose.
Every time he sees the purple cat in Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? he has to stop and kiss it. Sometimes, quite enthusiastically.
He has been seen combing his hair with a fork.
He gets super excited when I steam milk with my espresso machine, because it makes a rhythmic thumping sound to which he can rock out. Sometimes, he’ll start reaching for the espresso machine just because he wants to hear a beat.
He’ll come up behind me if I’m sitting on the ground and grab my shoulders to indicate that he wants to take a ride, so I get on all fours, and he lies prone on my back like a little baby monkey while I crawl around the room.
If he finds a tissue he has to wipe my nose with it.
We hosted Thanksgiving this year. Four grandparents and an uncle spent the weekend doting on Sam: he loved it. I made the best turkey I’ve ever made (this recipe is going to become traditional in my house) and we all ate and talked and laughed and it was really wonderful. The next day, instead of participating in Black Friday, we all hopped in a nice, big, rental SUV and headed up to Leavenworth: the idyllic little German town that Ian and I have been wanting to visit since we each moved to Washington.
There was snow on the ground. That was pretty cool. All the architecture in town (or, at least, downtown) is very Bavarian–even the Starbucks and the Cold Stone. There are lots of little German restaurants with beer and schnitzel and sausage, but utilitarian that I am (correction: utilitarian that I’ve become since having a child), I chose the first little restaurant I saw. It did have German sausage on the menu, which I ordered. There was no wait, and despite the tiny dining room, they did have a table big enough for us. Sam was very happy there and ate a nice grilled cheese sandwich and a whole lot of sauerkraut off my plate (I’m so proud of my boy’s strange palate). From there we wandered the streets, saw some nutcrackers, bought some taffy. We visited the Christkindlmarkt, which was sort of why we went on that particular day, though it turned out to be little more than a wintertime farmer’s market. There were some carolers, which Sam loved. I’d say it was an okay time. Not the overwhelming success I’d hoped for, but not a lost day, either.
It’s interesting to think about how the trip would have gone if we didn’t have the baby. I doubt we’d have hauled our family two hours there and two hours back again in the first place. If we did, we would have waited for a table in a German restaurant and ordered beer and eaten at a leisurely pace with no screaming at our table. I might have looked up more often to see the sights instead of tracking my toddler as he moved through the crowds, refusing to hold anyone’s hand.
And yet Sam’s reactions were the best part of the trip. He loves to be out and about. He loves to see new people and new things. He had no idea where he was or why it was supposed to be special, but he was happy. Which made the rest of us happy, too.