A Painted House

Dear James: Month Twenty-One

Posted on: January 6, 2011

Note:  Readers from my former blog will be familiar with the monthly letters I write to my babies for the first two years of their lives.   As each new letter will be posted here I will be moving over all previous letters to my archives for continuity.  Thanks for your patience as I work on all this administrative stuff!

Original post date: January 20, 2010

Dear James,

A few days ago you turned twenty-one months old.  I will come out and admit that this letter is late because frankly, I forgot.  Sorry.  My excuse is that I’m still recovering from the misery that was last week.  Ten days ago an illness snuck up on us, tackled us to the ground, gave us wedgies, and stuck its wet finger in our collective ear.  After nearly three days of fever, not sleeping, not eating, and round-the-clock medicine, I took you to the doctor and where you were diagnosed with Strep Throat.  You felt horrible James and I felt horrible for you.  Of course even your extreme discomfort couldn’t squelch your excitement when we pulled into the parking lot of the doctor’s office and you recognized that this was the place with the FISHIES!  FISHY!  FISHIEEEEES!  And then you proceeded to entertain the receptionist and other patients by continually making fish faces at the aquarium until they called us back.  By the way, James, I think I speak for every mother when I ask that if I have called to make a last-minute appointment for you because you’re so miserable you can’t even stand upright and I haven’t showered in two days because I cannot detach your sick little self from around my neck, then please have the decency to ACT SICK when we get to that urgent appointment.  It’s not nice to wreak such havoc on our home life, sleep, and sanity and then top it off by making Mommy look like a fool with her chattery, energetic child at the doctor’s office.  Even if you did get a diagnosis and a prescription.  I’m just sayin’.

Also, antibiotics are my new favorite facet of modern medicine.  It used to be the epidural but now I realize that without an epidural the pain will be intense but it serves a purpose and will be over in a few hours.  However a child with an infection, and thus his family, will live and not sleep in misery for days and days on end with the big reward at the end being a feeling of….normalcy.  Antibiotics trumps epidural every time.  It seems you feel the same way, my little junkie, because you now routinely ask us for “mecidine”.   Who knew it’s possible to be addicted to grape flavored Tylenol and bubblegum amoxicillin?  Your little bird mouth flies open when you see that pink syringe coming and you lick your lips to get every last drop.  Last night you were reading bedtime stories with your Dad and the book asked you to point out and identify the ambulance amongst a line of vehicles.  You did and your Dad said, “Yes, that’s right, James!  That’s an ambulance.”  You: “Ambulance.”  Dad: “It’s for when people are sick.”  You: “Sick. (pause)  Mecidine?”  Dad: “Yes! You get medicine when you’re sick.”  You: “ME-CI-DINE?”  Me: “Oh! Medicine! You need your medicine.”  You: “Mmmm!”

The past three weeks have also been busy because we’ve started packing up and preparing our home for sale.  When your  Dad and I bought this house you were still just a dream, a hope of a future family.  And then not quite a year later you arrived and backed the U-Haul straight into our driveway.  You are the best decision we ever made as a couple and we welcomed you and all the stuff that came with you into our lives with open arms.  And our cozy little house became cozier.  But now, nearly two years, to Christmases, and one birthday later…..well, opening your arms and not smacking something or someone has become a challenge.  The evidence that a happy, imaginative tornado named James lives here is strewn from one end of our house to the other.  And as we’d like to someday welcome another baby into our family, we figured that it’s time to find a place to live where we won’t have to take turns at who gets to play with you on the living room floor because there’s literally not space for all of us.  Plus on the off-chance that you get a sister this next time and a  U-Haul full of Barbies, Polly Pockets, dresses, and tights backs up to the house I’m afraid we’d have to move your Dad out to the backyard.  And we’d miss him.

It saddens me to think of leaving the house to which we brought you home, the place where you did all your ‘firsts’.  This place will always be special in my memory because it’s where I rocked my firstborn to sleep.  It’s where the delight of my days learned to smile and walk and throw a ball.  I know that no matter where we go or how many new memories are planted in my mind, I will always come back to these first years of parenthood and remember nights in your tiny nursery humming hymns in your ear, watching you totter across our back yard in the sunshine while I hung laundry out to dry, hearing you chatter away as you followed me up and down the hallway dropping toys and treasures in your wake.  More than anything else that has transpired in the past 2.5 years, this has been the little house where James began. 



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