and tomorrow he turns 4…

my little buddy turns 4 tomorrow.  i cannot believe it!  the time has just passed by so quickly and ever since he was born our lives have been overflowing with love, adventure and sheer happiness.  i love my little guy so much and am grateful each and every day that he is in my life.  i can’t wait to celebrate his birthday tomorrow!  i have always loved birthdays and admittedly go nuts over them but as soon as i had kids my excitement went to a whole new level.

i have breakfast muffins in the oven (pumpkin, his favorite this time of year), made a giant “4” out of cardboard and glitter to hang from the ceiling above his seat at the breakfast table, am decorating the kitchen with birthday banners, lights and streamers and tonight while he is sleeping we are filling his room with a slew of helium-filled balloons in every color of the rainbow (a family tradition we started when his older sister turned 2) so he will wake to a happy celebration.  i’m not sure who is more excited…me or him!!

backing up a bit, part of the reason i have been bad about the blogging is that we had a big scare this weekend with will’s health.  we were in va beach at my in-laws’ for a close friend’s wedding.  robert and i left for the wedding saturday evening along with his parents and a babysitter who has watched my kids many times (and who we know well and all really adore) came over to watch the kids for us.  the babysitter is very familiar with will’s allergies and is trained to give epi and handle anaphylactic reactions if she needs to.  my point here is that we completely did (and still do) trust her with our children.  i prepared the kids’ dinner before we left and made sure it was all “safe” for him and that the sitter had the emergency kit with benadryl/epi just in case.  anyway, despite all of that we got a phone call just after the wedding ceremony — when the sitter was feeding the kids dinner he asked for some milk (he meant soy milk, that is all he knows) but she reached in my in-laws fridge and poured him a glass of cow’s milk without thinking.  as soon as will took one sip he immediately said his throat was hurting and that he was itchy and actually asked her if it was cow’s milk!  she called me right away as she realized her mistake and how dangerous it was (my son has several life-threatening food allergies and milk is at THE TOP of the list).  we were 40 minutes away.  it was agony.  long story short she gave him 2 tsp of benadryl right away and then when she was getting ready to give him epi (at this point his whole face and his top lip were very swollen and he was bright red all over and was having difficulty breathing…although he was acting ok telling her he wanted to go play on the beach!) he began to vomit violently so i just told her to CALL 911 right away and hung up the phone.  robert and i hopped in the car with his parents and we sped to the hospital.  i was beyond scared and upset and we had TOO FAR to drive to get to my baby.  the ambulance came right away and took care of him and rushed him to the hospital.  he had to go in the ambulance all by himself though, which i was so upset about – my kid hates even going to the doctor! – and i was imagining him feeling so scared and traumatized the whole way there.  the babysitter gave me one of the paramedic’s phone numbers and it was great to talk with him on the way.  he assured me will was going to be ok and that he was not scared.  we got to the hospital just as will did (thanks to my father-in-law driving 90mph on the way there!) and it was so wonderful to see my baby boy.  i could not stop crying and was just so grateful he was ok.  i hopped right on the hospital bed with him and snuggled him and he looked at me and said “mamma, why are you crying?” which only made me cry more.  he was so brave.  his face was still red and puffy and his big brown eyes were all blood shot from such violent vomiting (he even had popped little capillaries in his cheeks) but he looked so sweet and calm.  when i asked him if it was scary in the ambulance he said “actually, it was kind of exciting” and went on to tell me that it was not scary and that the guys who took care of him were so nice.  the paramedics loved him and you could tell…they even gave him fist bumps when they had to say goodbye!  it was a terrifying experience for all of us and i feel like in a lot of ways i’m still recovering from it emotionally.  i have known about will’s allergies and the severity of them since he was 9 months old…and we really have a good handle on things i believe.  but that was a wakeup call.  i try to make sure he knows about his allergies and that he is careful and self-aware but i also want him to feel free to be a kid like every other kid out there.  just the day before i brought him to one of his classmate’s birthday parties at chuck e. cheese’s.  what do they serve there?  pizza.  covered in drippy cheese which would be deadly for him.  but i was NOT going to let him miss out!  and he had a great time!  i packed his lunch, made him special cupcakes, and was there to watch closely to make sure he was safe and he had just as much fun (if not more!) as every other kid there.  i guess you can never be too careful and can’t let your guard down.

a few things i learned from the experience:

1) always go with your gut when it comes to your kids.  i knew in my heart what had to be done that night…but every bone in my body did not want to do it!  i had to go with it though and am so glad that i did.
2) even when you cover all your bases…things can go wrong…and you need to be prepared for that JUST IN CASE.
3) my son is amazing amazing amazing. that little boy is the strongest, bravest, smartest, most self-aware person i have ever known.  i am so proud of him every day and am so grateful to be blessed to be his mother.  we have so much to learn from our children.
4) my 5 year old daughter is completely incredible.  she looks out for her brother and steps up when she needs to (and when she is not expected to).  the paramedics (and the sitter) told me that she was calm and comforting to will the whole time.  she was very worried about him though and the next morning and for a day or two after she would not let him out of her site, even if he wanted her to leave him alone!

i am going to celebrate will’s birthday with extra zing and gratitude tomorrow.  and to top it all off, on saturday we have a spider man birthday party happening at our house in honor of him.  i can’t wait.

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