The maladies, they just keep coming

So, you would think we would have gotten all the misery out of the way in January, when we all came down with a horrible cold and Devin and I were flattened for about a week. You would think that, but you would be wrong.

The past two weeks have been astonishingly germ-ridden. Laurel came down with a persistent cough, but didn’t seem bothered by it. Then, one night last week, Devin said he was having “cold symptoms.” The next day, he was so sick — fever, aches, coughing — that he could hardly get out of bed. And that night, Laurel woke up at about 5 a.m. with the classic barky cough that signals croup.(As soon as her coughing and breathing calmed down and she went to sleep, I got up and searched the Internet to make sure I knew what to do. Fortunately, she only had mild trouble breathing, and nursing seemed to help her calm down. But I spent several nights awake, listening to her breath catch, worrying.)

After four or five days, Laurel was able to sleep through the night without coughing. Great, I thought, we’re in the clear. The next morning, we went out and had fun riding the cable cars, though she did mention at one point that her eyes hurt. At midday, Devin texted me to say he thought he had pinkeye. He’d also developed a persistent sore throat. Laurel wasn’t showing any signs of pinkeye, but by evening was getting chills. Her fever spiked above 103, and she started throwing up.

The next day, she slept and/or nursed pretty much the entire day. With each day she seemed to improve a little, except that the fever and lethargy were replaced with some kind of meltdown-inducing malaise. It was like the stories you hear of some of the worst toddler tantrums. Everything set her off. “No” was the word she used most, usually screaming and gasping through angry sobs. To say it was fun to be her caretaker this week would be almost a total lie.

Fortunately, everyone (sort of) seems to be on the mend. I just hope we’ve banked enough severe-illness karma to last us for a long while.

— Beth

Reading Into It

A while back, I remember trying to read books to Laurel and despairing because all she wanted to do was chew on the pages. (OK, so she was only 4 and a half months old when that picture was taken, but the tendency persisted for months.) We had to go through a lot of play-acting to keep her interest for more than a few pages. Meanwhile, some of her slightly-older friends were poring over books as though they held the clues to the location of the Lost Ark of The Covenant or something. It was a little discouraging.

However, she did eventually begin to love books — and demand that we read them, again and again and again. We can recite Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop and Jamberry and Barnyard Dance without looking at the pages, we’ve read them so many times. A few months ago, Laurel began not only naming her books (“Animals book,” “Water hole book,” “Germs book,” etc.) but quoting passages from them. Then she started being interested in longer books with more text than pictures, and quoting passages from those. It’s been really exciting and very rapid.

I mentioned in my last post that Laurel has been recently asking us to identify all sorts of things, including things she knows the names for already. But she’s now also pointing to words on various objects — books, signs, plates, where-ever she notices words — and asking, “that says?” She’s worked out that those combinations of letters represent particular words and she wants to know which ones. This is coming much earlier than I expected, and it’s kind of thrilling, especially to parents who love to read and write. Both of us were early readers, so it makes sense that she might be, too. Right now, we’re just trying to satisfy her curiosity as much as we can.

Oh, and remember how I said she was saying “walrus” a lot lately? I figured out what she’s saying. “With us.”

— Beth