Friday, April 20, 2007

Not my baby anymore

My baby is no longer a baby anymore and I'm not exactly sure when that happened. I always talk to my kids. I ask questions, I tell them about my day, I point out animals, shapes or objects. Today I noticed Henry knew exactly what I was talking about and he responded. We were all playing in the yard and I yelled, "Okay, Henry! Time for bath!" and no kidding, he climbed out of the sandbox, trotted into the house and headed straight for the tub.

The thing is, I'm sure he's been responding and understanding for a long time. He's 14 months old for pete's sake. He says a bunch of words ("cracker" is his favorite) and mimics everything Charlie does. I guess I missed the point where he turned from baby to toddler. This past year was a long one. Henry didn't have a normal first year.

When he was six weeks old we made a trip out to Mayo Clinic for a "routine" check up. Chad and three of his siblings (there are 7 of them in all) have a genetic disorder called MEN-1. I'll spare you the details but basically we all have a gene that helps prevent tumors in the endocrine system and theirs is defective. Not a big deal if we keep an eye on it. A very big deal if we don't. His mom died when he was 13 because they had no idea she had it. Things can get very out of hand and cancer can develop. We had been watching it and nothing was happening so we thought maybe Chad was one of the lucky ones and no problems would ever develop. We were wrong.

After four days of testing the doctors discovered that Chad had 11+ malignant tumors in his pancreas. One the size of a golf ball was actually outside the pancreas and beginning to attach itself to the small intestine. A month later he had to have 3/4 of his pancreas removed. The recovery was rough. He got a blood clot behind his knee and had to be on full bed rest for a week. He had a pancreatic leak that they discovered after we left Mayo. When he went to the hospital in our state he caught a horrible bacteria that kept him in and out of the hospital for the majority of the summer. We traveled to Mayo clinic a total of 5 times (6?) in less than 7 months.

Charlie stayed with friends and family a lot. He adjusted really well. Henry was so little that I couldn't bear to leave him with anyone. So, I strapped on one of those infant carriers and took him with me. Everywhere. He took naps in hospital chairs pushed up against the wall. Sometimes he slept in the suitcase. He hung out with the nurses, visited all the local coffee shops or anywhere there was wifi, and we took frequent walks to the atrium. We spent some good quality time together last summer but it was abnormal. His baby book is blank and I don't have nearly as many photos of him as I would like. A lot of the ones I do have are from the hospital. I managed to scribble some of his milestones on a calendar in his room but for me, he's still a baby. I feel like I missed the whole year.

As sad as I am that he's not my little baby anymore, I love the stage he's in right now. He runs to me with hugs and kisses me all over my face. He climbs up into my lap with books he picked off the shelf all by himself. He impresses me with his animal noises and if he makes a face that makes me laugh he holds the expression as long as possible. He doesn't cry in the morning when he wakes up- he sings and calls my name. He says, "Ah, luv," and wraps his chubby arms around my legs while I'm getting him his bottle. I'm crazy about this boy. And I won't focus on what I missed. I'll simply savor every day from here on.

1 comment:

RealEstateGirl said...

What a sweet post. He is so precious!

Hope your hubby is okay. That's very sad what he and his siblings have had to go through, losing their mom and then him having these tumors.

I'm reminded that we aren't promised tomorrow, so you're right, don't look back on what you've missed, enjoy today as if it were the last.