Friday, September 4, 2009

Asher turns one

Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi-eeeeeee.

He never tires of saying it. Each time he gets a smile, a response, a moment of connection with someone who had been busy tying her shoes or looking to see if the bus was coming.

Even as we sat in the waiting room of the Urgent Care Clinic in Santa Rosa, his fever still rising and his irritation with each degree, he greeted each new patient coming in the door. "Hi-eeee" he called before crying again or squirming in discomfort. August 31. The eve of his first birthday and he had a 102 fever. We didn't want to take any chances and whisked him off to the Urgent Care in the Sonoma town where we were vacationing, arriving 16 minutes before they closed the doors. A year ago at this time, I was the one crying and squirming in discomfort - and I was definitely not stopping to greet anyone along the way.

A year.
A whole year had passed since I labored on Labor Day.

Here we were reminded of rule #1 of pregnancy and birth and everything thereafter - let go of expectation. His birthday would be the way his birthday would be -- with tears and doses of Motrin replacing giggles and sweet treats. Asher wouldn't let us forget the rule. Nor would he lead us to believe that one year meant sleeping through the night and relying on what had now fallen into a pretty regular schedule around naps and eating. Again, everything is temporary, Asher was letting us know. Keep getting used to it.

We returned from the Urgent Care several hours later, having learned that, yes, he did have a fever and that, no, there was no cause for alarm. Motrin and Tylenol would become our best friends for the next 48 hours. Exhausted, I nursed him to sleep at about 10 o' clock and Ben and I scoured Netflix for some comic escape. Say Anything was available to stream. Funny, nostalgic, and I was pretty sure I had never seen it. We were in. For 10 minutes. Until our little boy woke up for the first time that night. The remainder of his wake-ups, pretty much every hour, would be beside me in bed. So sweet. So rough on him. So like the early days when I just stared at him sleeping, and rejected sleep myself. And not like that too --- now, he thrashes and pulls and pinches and slams a whole lot more than he did at 2 days old. That, and I just wanted to feel his forehead and have it not feel so hot to the touch as his body worked to fight off this infection.

Still, his birthday was filled with some Asher smiles and a special birthday treat (photos and video to follow -- thanks to Ben and Nannie!) and the wonderful gifts of his grandparents and great grandmother and doting aunties. We sat him down in his throne (read: highchair) to open his gifts (read: watch us open them and play with the boxes). All a birthday "should" be - especially when the only people who are really celebrating it are not the ones who were born on that day. He would now have a story to tell - probably just about the only thing he would remember later from all his parents' retelling over the years.

Nearly four days later and today is the first day he is really showing signs of feeling himself again -- he ate a whole banana at lunch, tried to squirm off the diaper table, babbled his way from building block (Thanks Aunt Viviane!) to power cord to the broiler - looking up at me with knowing wide eyes as he attempted to open it - again and again and again.

And, of course, "Hi-eee." He already made more new friends on a neighborhood trip to our local rec center this morning.

One year later. Happy birthday little boy! We are all glad you feel better.

PS -- Thanks to all of you who expressed concern after seeing Ben's Facebook post. He lives inside of so much love.

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