On Thursday nights, Larry attends a writing group so Walker and I have some quality time together. However, this Thursday, we were both tired and a bit cranky. I planned to get home, turn on Sprout, eat a snack and sit together on the couch and sulk. But Walker had other ideas. While I folded laundry, he played with his toys and became very interested in his socks. He kept taking them off and trying to put them back on himself. As I folded all his clean socks, he took them and put them in a pile. When it was time for bath, I told Walker I needed to put his clothes away. He wouldn’t let me take his socks so I told him, “OK. Why don’t you bring your socks into your room?” He tried to pick up the ten pairs of socks. There were too many. So I watched him look around and zero in on this bus toy that has an open top. He picked up the bus, put it next to his sock pile, and lovingly place all the socks into vehicle. He picked it up and carried it into his room. Job done. I was amazed at his problem solving skills and whatever crankiness that I once felt, instantly melted away.

Walker had a great bath and he crawled into bed. We read his favorite book, BIG AND LITTLE, and he read the words he knows at the right time — “Oooops” and “Uh-oh”. Then we got to the page that says “Oh my!” I read the page and I heard a little voice clearly say “Oh my!”. Again. Astonished.

He’s really growing up. He’s talking. He’s problem solving. He has a sense of humor.

And now it’s time for some gratuitous Walker photos from an excursion to the Beach in his new Pea Coat — a gift from Grammie Shirley.

Walker is now Pacifier-free. No more photos of him with a big ol’ plug in the center of his face. Three weeks ago, the poor little guy got a nasty virus called Hand, Foot, and Mouth. It’s apparently very common (because it’s very contagious) but it’s not one of those things the books warn you about. Yes, I heard all about the colds, the ear aches, the diaper rashes, the teething but no one told me about the extremely common virus that gives your kid blisters on his hands, feet and in his mouth. So, for those of you who don’t know about it, consider yourself informed.

On Friday afternoon, Sofiya called and said Walker had a high fever and I should pick him up. When I arrived, he was logy and glowing red hot. A dose of Motrin and 45 minutes later, Walker was running around and laughing. He ate bread and went to bed as normal. He awoke once screaming and holding his tummy. We thought he was constipated so we gave him a laxative and put him back to bed. Saturday he woke up happy and played all day. In the afternoon, he had a mild fever and was drooling a lot. He wouldn’t really suck on the pacifier but he’d keep it in his mouth. We thought perhaps the canines that were coming in were causing more discomfort than usual. I noticed he had some red spots on his tongue but thought it was due to something he ate. Then came bedtime. He wasn’t unhappy but he wouldn’t go to bed. He played. And played. And played. He was up until 11pm. He wouldn’t take his pacifier (he threw it across the room) and finally fell asleep eating a cracker. I pried the food from his little hand, breathed a sigh of relief and played a few games of Solitaire. I finally went to sleep and at 12am, Walker awoke screaming. As he screamed, I noticed he had some white spots on his tongue. I calmly consulted my Dr. Sears BABY BOOK (which I consider the best user’s manual for small humans) and saw that he probably had this Hand, Foot, and Mouth virus. It’s extremely painful but not serious and there’s no treatment other than Motrin. So we figured a trip to the ER was unnecessary. Poor little Walker screamed himself into unconsciousness each time he awoke which happened to be every hour.

The next morning, when we went to the clinic, the doctor confirmed our diagnosis. But despite the night we had and what should be a horribly painful virus, Walker was chipper and energetic. He ate normally and drank a lot out of a straw-less sippy cup. You’d never have known he was sick. But he wouldn’t take his pacifier. I thought we’d seize this opportunity to permanently break his dependence on them. The real test was when he returned to Day Care on Tuesday. If he wanted one, we told Sofiya he could have it. But despite the fact there are a bunch of other kids with them, he didn’t ask for one. It’s been two weeks since his last pacifier and he doesn’t seem to miss them. It does take him a lot longer to get to sleep now and I’ve been tempted to pull them out but I look at him and if he has the will to resist, so do I.

Throughout this entire ordeal, I was astonished at his strength through what was certainly painful and scary and his strength to ignore something that gave him such comfort and pleasure. They say kids’ personalities are evident when they’re babies and if he continues down the current trajectory, I am certain Walker will do just fine.

I’ve been remiss in posting some photos so here are a few from Christmas. Doesn’t Walker look like a gansta with his new cap?

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