The Shapiro Files

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This Magic Moment

Julianne’s and Melody’s bedtime is always a big production around our house. After baths, brushing teeth, and getting pajamas on, Melody “helps” me turn out the lights in her room and then gets into bed on her own. After we get her all tucked in and ensure she has all her “lovies” (stuffed animals/sleep buddies), Marcie and I sing the song “Goodnight” (a charming lullaby written by John Lennon and recorded by The Beatles in 1968). After the song, there are lots of kisses and we say our goodnights. Next, Julianne gets a repeat performance of the song as we get her bundled up in her sleep sack and place her in her crib with her lovies.

The kids are always so sweet as we go through these nightly rituals and there’s something about seeing them all snuggled up and cozy in their beds that gives me so much joy. I suspect most parents feel that way during such times.

Well as enjoyable as our nightly routine already is, something truly magically happened during tonight’s activities.

Normally, after the lullaby and goodnight kisses, Melody is pretty quiet as we leave the room. Some nights she might hum or sing a little after we leave the room (I think she finds singing to be calming), but generally goes to sleep shortly thereafter. But tonight, she very atypically kept talking as Marcie and I closed the door. She then started repeating “Daddy” — not in a sad or panicked way but in a purely playful manner. So from the other side of the door, I started saying things in between each repeated “Daddy” such as “See you in the morning” and “Have a great sleep.” It was a very playful exchange and it was something that hadn’t been part of our bedtime ritual before. This little game only lasted a few moments and when it seemed like Melody was probably headed off to Slumber Land, I started heading away down the hall toward Julianne’s room.

And then it happened. I heard Melody calling out to me these words from behind her closed door:

“I love you Daddy.”

While Marcie and I have occasionally encouraged Melody to say “I love you” to the other or to Julianne, this was the first time she has every said this without gentle goading from one of us. It was a purely unsolicited statement.

Have you ever been so moved by something or so enraptured with someone that your heart feels like it’s going to burst? Well, take that sensation and intensify it about a hundred times over and you start to get close to the impact those four simple words have had on me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Eustation Frustration

If a person can’t kvetch on their blog, then where can they?

At the end of last year, Marcie, Melody, Julianne, and I drove down to Southern California to spend time with my mother. Overall, it was a very nice trip and the kids had a great time. A day hasn’t gone by when Melody has told me that she wants to visit Grandma again!

The only unfortunate thing about the visit was that we managed to contaminate the rest of our family with illness. At it turns out, Melody was harboring some pretty nasty little buggies (caught from school? her cousins?) and at the end our trip, she came down with both roseola and croup. As you can imagine, the return eight-hour drive was extremely challenging. A two-year-old in full health can get pretty testy sitting in one place for so long. But a cranky, unhealthy two-year-old is a whole other story.

As a result of our visit, my mother got an unpleasant cold and my niece Sarah subsequently got so ill that she needed antibiotics. Julianne also came down with croup and is only now starting to get back to normal. Similarly, Marcie got very ill and contributed quite significantly to our tissue-based refuse.

Needless to say, seeing how much devastation Melody left in her path, I knew my turn was next. And boy was it a doozy. I seemed to get everything and the kitchen sink. I was in such bad shape that upon returning to work after our vacation, I had to go back home after the first half of the day and then take the rest of the week off on sick leave. As it turns out, all that schmutz I collected from the rest of the family evolved into a sinus infection. That’s been unpleasant enough, but then I lost most of the hearing in my left ear and knew that could only mean more bad news. Such calamitous news came in the form of my ENT informing me that I now have an ear infection on top of the sinus infection. Yuck.

I’ve now been taking horse-pill sized antibiotics for three days (seven more days to go) and am only beginning to feel closer to my normal self again. Up until now, my usual high-energy interaction with the kids has been impossible, work extremely difficult, and sleeping full of unpleasant fever-induced dreams. Poor Marcie, herself only recently on the mend, had to pick up even more slack than usual. I really don’t know how she’s done it.

So what have I learned from all this? Well, that:

  • Road trips with sick children are tough
  • Taking care of sick children is very tough
  • Taking care of children while you’re sick is extremely tough
  • Taking care of sick children while you’re sick is exceedingly tough
Oh, and I guess I’ve also learned that my head must be quite the bacterial hotspot. I can almost hear the pulsating beat from their little all-night discotheque in my eustation tubes. I just wish they’d keep it down over there. Some of us are trying to get some rest.