It’s finally happening at 16 months and 3 weeks; Ellery has started taking more than two steps without holding onto anything. I was in the bedroom with him today and I looked over at him and he was toddling over to the door. It was a wonderful sight, and so cute the way he holds his arms out for balance. I was starting to think this day would never come, but it’s finally here. They say, “Late walker, earlier talker.” and that is certainly the case with Ellery. He talks up a storm now, repeating all sorts of words that we say (we have to be careful now). He has a pretty large vocabulary: dog, fan, cheese, air (short for airplane), kitty, feet, knock-knock, go-go-go, more, duck, vac (short for vacuum) and the list goes on. He loves airplanes and whenever he sees one outside the window or when I’m taking him for a stroll, he points and says “air!”
Poor Ellery! Poor me! Poor everyone! Starting the day before Thanksgiving, Ellery became very ill. He started having a mild runny nose on Monday, November 20th (the day Peter left for England) but the symptoms just got worse and worse until Thanksgiving, when I took his temperature and it was 100.8. He was very cranky and not himself. He hardly ate any of our non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner of Turkey Lasagna and Italian Turkey sausage. He usually loves pasta and sausage. They are some of the few foods he will eat.
I was so worried about Ellery that I started making a record of his temperature and the times I gave him medication (Tylenol). By the day after Thanksgiving, his temperature went up to 103 and I called the pediatrician’s office. I left a message with the answering service but didn’t get a call back because the doctor on call had a medical emergency himself. His wife was giving birth and we got lost in the shuffle. Every time I gave Ellery Tylenol, his temperature would go down, sometimes even to normal and he would start acting much better, but after his nap on Saturday his temperature shot back up to 104 so I called the doctor’s answering service again and we finally got a call back.
The doctor apologized and explained the situation with the other doctor’s wife giving birth, but he also said that it wasn’t an excuse and we should have been called. After I explained Ellery’s situation and that he seemed to be complaining when we touched his right ear, and having trouble sleeping lying down, The doctor offered to meet us for special hours in his office on Sunday. The office in Manhattan was closed, but he came in especially to see Ellery and a couple of other children with medical emergencies.
Thank goodness we brought Ellery in to see the doctor, because it turned out to be a bacterial ear infection in his right ear. The doctor took one look in his right ear and could see immediately that Ellery needed antibiotics. Thank goodness my mother was helping me and was able to drive us into Manhattan and then to the drug store to pick up the prescription. It was for Amoxicillin and I was instructed to keep it refrigerated and give it to Ellery two times per day. I was dreading giving him the medicine, but another thank goodness, he liked the taste of the medicine. I told him it was orange sherbet. Since he doesn’t even know what sherbet is yet, I don’t think it really made a difference, but the orange flavor that the pharmacy puts into the medicine certainly did.
About a week after Thanksgiving, I finally stopped taking notes, because Ellery didn’t feel hot anymore and his nose was drying-up. He was starting to get that sparkle back in his eyes, and so far he is doing much better. He has a follow-up appointment with the doctor next week to make sure that the infection has cleared up completely, and to get his second flu shot that he was supposed to get last week, but couldn’t because of the ear infection. I hope the antibiotics worked. They seem to have done the trick even though the doctor said there could be a 7% failure rate with Amoxicillin. Fingers crossed….
And then of course, after this ordeal, I came down with a head cold with chest congestion, and my mother, and my father did as well. It must have been from spending time with Ellery on Thanksgiving when he was so ill. Only Peter and our cat Asia remained unscathed.
My feelings about breastfeeding Ellery are very similar to my feelings about being a parent in general. After almost 16 months, we are down to only one breastfeed in the morning when Ellery awakens from his night of sleep. Originally, I had planned to just nurse him until his first birthday and then stop, but after awhile, it became so second nature and more convenient than giving bottles. It’s become so easy and such help when Ellery is sick and won’t eat or drink much of anything else. I can hardly remember how unbelievably difficult it was at first to nurse Ellery in the hospital when he was born, and for the first few months.
For the first 6 months of Ellery’s life, I kept looking forward to the time when I could stop breastfeeding because of how demanding and exhausting it seemed, but now I’m feeling sad that this special bond and closeness will be ending, and I don’t really want it to end.
As a parent, I have mixed feelings as I look forward to Ellery being potty-trained, walking, feeding himself, dressing himself and being more independent. It will be great, but at the same time, I don’t want him to change or grow up because I will miss him as a cute little baby. He’s only 16 months old and I’m already missing the time when he was so helpless and little. He is a toddler now — not really a baby anymore — and when he grows up it will be forever. I will never see that baby again, except in the photos and films we’ve taken and my distant memories. Childhood and especially baby and toddler age is such a precious time that I really want to enjoy this part of Ellery’s life, but it is with mixed feelings. I can’t wait for him to be out of diapers and be more independent, but I’m starting to miss that little baby so.