|The dark spot means you're breathing wrong.|
A cough advanced gradually, and he sneezed more often as the days marched by. His wee sneezes are quiet and cute. I call them "sneezels," perhaps unfortunately. My sneezes, by comparison, are explosive. They cannot be contained. I don't feel like I'm much of a sneezer. No allergies, and I'm pretty healthy, not prone to flu or infections. But when I do sneeze when I happen to get a cold--because that's exactly what happened; my daughter brought it home, my wife kept it here, Xander grabbed hold for a week, then he stuck it right in front of me like a handoff in front of an open lane and I had to run with it. Anyway, that sentence got away from me. Let's bypass my sneezing and move on.
Xander had one bad night where he didn't sleep much, and by the time we got him to the doctor, he was over the worst of it and was going to be just dandy. That's when I got it, and when I sneeze--wait, sorry. Never mind. The point is to notice the irony that we had done everything we could to protect Xander from any infirmity and he still got sick.
The other development that precipitated Xander's day out was May's new job. The short explanation is that she was granted leave from teaching the rest of the year and all of next year in order to be at home with the boy. (I've been waiting fifteen years to be able to refer to my own son that way; Hank Hill and Homer Simpson are such role models.) Her last day at school was Friday even though my paternity leave doesn't end until April. The reason for this is that, in order to facilitate our lives financially, she obtained employment with a company she used to work for years ago because they would allow her to work from home. Earlier this week, this company shipped her a computer she will use in this new position, and we decided she needed a tidy workspace. The only way to make that happen was to purchase a computer desk and cram it into the corner by the piano.
So, with the necessity of new furniture looming, and the realization that in spite of our best efforts Xander still managed to catch a cold, we suited up for our journey, zipped Xander into a jacket he's worn once and which is already too small, prepared a diaper bag, changed Xander's oxygen tank to the portable one, strapped him into his car seat, wrapped a thick plastic bubble around the entire car, and were on our way to freedom. Driving carefully, we rolled along, like a hamster or an American Gladiator. Adventure awaited.
|Where's my flying car?|
Xander does not like his car seat. Being strapped in, minus the s, cannot be comfortable. He already has little control over his limbs, and the strait jacket effect of the car seat contraption limits his movement so much that he rails against it. Nevertheless, the seat conveniently attaches to a stroller, so instead of taking him out of the thing, we just left him trapped in there and propelled him around the store. We only walked away from the stroller once to look at floor mats down an aisle and it was only a few minutes before we realized neither of us had the stroller. Don't worry. The stroller was there when we got back.
|Strapped in? Anxiety face.|
|Unbuckled? Do a jig.|
May then had to fax a document to her new employer, so I dropped her off at the UPS Store and I drove across the plaza to the gas station. Xander was again uncomfortable in his car seat, but he remained quiet as I pulled into the station. I proceeded to pump the gasoline and wipe the windshield clean. Then I noticed Xander through the side window. He was silently screaming. Mouth wide, eyes tight, arms akimbo. May usually sits in the back seat with him, but here he was, belted into accommodations more constricting than coach on a Southwest flight, Mom and Dad not within smelling distance, hungry...what would you do? Xander isn't really a loud crier, so from the outside looking in it seemed much worse than it sounded when I opened the car door to reassure him I was there. Still, he was pretty upset.
If there's one surefire way to sooth a crying baby, it's driving. It never failed me with my older girls. I quickly completed my transaction and drove. I was prepared to go to Kansas if that's what it took. It was a short distance back to the UPS store where May was waiting, and gratefully he calmed down quickly. What's more, by the time we drove to another section of the commercial district, he was fast asleep.
|Shameless shill. Best burgers.|
Important Addendum: Please don't take our momentary lack of reason as an invitation to bring your sticky-fingered children over to visit. We're not taking Xander out again any time soon. It's a big bad world out there. Only bearable in small doses.