Beatrix: One and a Half

Hi B,

It’s hot today. Much hotter than it was in my last letter to you. We took you out for a morning walk because we knew that, by afternoon, none of us would want to move. Walks are a hit for you, because walks inevitably involve dogs. You are pro-dog. Loudly, enthusiastically pro-dog. You point at them, and tell them that they are a dog. You’re very excited about this. And when they leave, you immediately start asking for more. “Mo… mo… mooare!” This is true of birds and flowers, too, but dogs reign supreme.

You’re talking a lot more now. Still single words, and only your parents really understand them, but there are dozens. Almost all of them are food related, surprising no one. You know milk, water, banana, yogurt, and baguette. You know books, blocks, dog, cat, and bunny. You roar when you see pictures of lions, tigers, or flamingos (??).

You also know, “no.” You know that there’s a set of things you’re not supposed to do. Things like throwing your milk cup on the floor. So you’ll hold it out to the side, make eye contact with us, hurl it at the ground and then solemnly say, “Noooooo.”

When we got in from our walk, your cheeks were red. I don’t think you got a sunburn, I think you were just warm, but it reminded me of a pretty awful time at the very beginning of you. Back in May of 2015, before you were born, when you were about 2 months along, your mom was exposed to parvovirus. It’s a nothing disease – kids often get it in school and don’t even notice. It gives you red cheeks for a few days (they call it “slap cheek”) and then goes away. No big deal. Except that when a pregnant mom gets it, there’s something like a 1 in 20 chance that the baby does. And if the baby catches it, the baby dies. No maybes, no dramatic interventions. Heads or tails.

Unless and until you have your own kids, B, I don’t really think I can explain to you how that feels. To know that either everything is fine or we’re about to lose you and there’s nothing we can do but sit and see which universe we’re in. Just sit. And wait. Every day for 8 weeks. Waiting for something to happen and hoping that nothing does.

I sat there watching you today, with those pink cheeks fading as you cooled off. Toddling back and forth, reading books to yourself, trying to get into the snack cupboard. You don’t know that any of this ever happened. But I never forget how it felt to almost not have you in our lives at all.

Having you in our life is amazing, Bix. You’re like a little Dionysus. Everyone should always be eating and drinking and having a nice time, as far as you’re concerned. Especially Lily (“yi-yi”) and especially, especially dogs. You’re a delight.

Love you, B. Next week you move to the toddler room at daycare. That’s how quickly time flies.


1 comment

  1. andrea black jeffries

    This is delightful to read. Glad to have another dog person in the family. Frida is waiting for an introduction. Does Bix know she has dog cousins?

    Love, a.