These are the (sick) days
At fifteen months, one week and three days he wakes with a fever that I can’t figure out or diagnose until I remember the doctor’s voice saying he may experience exactly that symptom, 10 days following the vaccine shots meant to protect him from far worse things. He acts normal, save for wanting to be held a little more frequently than usual, his splayed fingers stretching toward my face or wrapped around my legs. But when he is down, he putters contentedly, helping.
I am not the keeper of his schedule most days, and I find myself wondering at times what he would be doing were I where I usually am on a Monday morning, on a computer behind a desk next to a window that looks out onto the street. This works to his advantage, because I just assume snack time is whenever he asks. “Gaga?” he asks, pointing toward the kitchen expectantly. All day long, the crackers flow freely.
The fever I dislike of course, but this day as a whole I relish. He tells me his nonsense word stories and I exclaim over toddler-sized victories as his flushed cheeks raise to show a gap tooth smile. Blue Hat, Green Hat is requested 12 times in a row, and he laughs his little chuckle at the end of every page, full of mirth at that silly misguided turkey or maybe just the sound of the “Oops” that punctuates his antics. He smacks the book when the story ends and flips it back to the front, folding his hands in his lap for the next go around.
Nap time is greeted with an enthusiastic clamber into the rocking chair and a chorus of “Na-na”s—the familiar chant we use at the end of every day. Na-na Daddy. Na-na Noah. Na-na Ro Ro. Na-na Mama. Na-na Max. His eyes only take a minute to close to sleep, but I hold him an extra long time afterwards, just in case.
He wakes an hour later, standing and silently hanging his arms over the side rail, surveying his room with rumpled hair. I lift him out of the crib and he performs his signature move, an immediate head nestle into the crook of my neck. He smells like sweet baby sweat and cinnamon bread. We pause together, crown to chin, and everything is still and settled. With a wiggle, he signals descent, and I put him on the floor and follow him out, ready for whatever mischief his 15-month-and-10-day old mind will conjure.