Two nights ago, I experienced a sudden onset of guilt when I found my copy of What to Expect the First Year in a box of stuff to be filed (I wasn’t even looking for it, this book I had kept on my bedside table and pored over nightly during Xavier’s first year). I browsed the section on two month olds, and found myself face-to-face with a list of skills that (1) my baby did not have yet and (2) I hadn’t even attempted to foster. Tummy time? I could count the number of sessions we’d had on one hand. Grasping a toy? I hadn’t even offered one. So it was with an odd mix of gratification and relief that I received the nurse’s question: “Is this your first baby?” I had called her after a worrisome projectile vomiting session Quinn had in the car on the way to drop Xavier off at child care. He had already drifted off into sleep for his first nap of the day (yes, while stewing in his own vomit–What can I say? He must have inherited my love of sleep.) and he didn’t have any other symptoms, but I wanted to call the doctor’s office just to be sure.
Just in case I hadn’t noticed Quinn’s insides being violently emptied out into the backseat of my car, Xavier kept me apprised of the situation in his own way:
“Baby Quinn’s throwing up.”
“Sometimes Xavier throws up.”
[another long pause]
“Quinn’s all done throwing up.”
The nurse (phoned after I dropped off Xavier) must have thought I was being overly cautious, and my reaction was a strong feeling of, well, pride. If I had been calling about my older son, I would have been offended. But in this rare moment of worry over the little one, the one who is daily asked to be patient while his older brother has his needs attended to, I was happy to be able to stop to worry and to have this worry acknowledged. What a wonder it is, this thing called parenthood.