Year 01 | Week 05

Dear Kaylee,

You smiled for real this past weekend, and you smiled a lot. Most of the smiling, or at least most of the smiling I was able to witness, happened on Saturday afternoon. And your joyful face was a welcome sight after the morning we’d all had. You see, before I got to see you smile for real for the first time, I had to watch you examined in the emergency room for the first time. And I had to watch you have your first CAT scan, to boot. So that first smile, when I saw it, was extra special. Not only did it mean you were happy. It also meant that you were okay.

Saturday morning, while she was carrying you downstairs, your mother slipped on the final three or four steps and fell backwards on her bum. At first, it didn’t appear that you had hit anything except, perhaps, for your mother’s chest, against which you were safely cradled. You seemed more scared than hurt, wailing away more loudly than I’d ever heard you wail before. I held your while your mom checked herself out and you seemed to calm a little. But you were also hungry, so I passed you back to your mom as soon as we were sure that she was fine, and she began to feed you.

It was during the feeding that we noticed the bump, a smallish bit of raised flesh along the left side of your head. We called the doctor immediately and were told to head into the emergency room, which is what we did. You slept most of the way there and you slept most of the time that we were in the hospital. When you weren’t sleeping, you were alert but calm. It didn’t seem to bother you, all the pokes and prods, except maybe for the thermometer they squeezed between your baby butt cheeks; that’s something that even the calmest, easiest-going baby can’t really be expected to be happy about.

The doc ordered a CAT scan, even though he was fairly certain you were fine. A CAT scan would probably be overkill, he said, but it was better to be safe than sorry. So, we waited for the machine to be available and, when the time came, we followed a nurse down the hall and into the darkened room.

The machine filled most of the room, but looked especially massive once we set you down on the small bed part of it and stepped back to watch them strap you in. You slept through the whole thing, which was good. Your mom and I were not so lucky. They outfitted us with lead coats and we stood and watched the procedure, completely awake and alert. And counting the seconds until it was over.

The machine whirred to life and the small platform on which you lay slid toward the hole of the donut-shaped scanner. Your head in position, a red light went on overhead. The machine adjusted itself, tilting forward a bit, then back. The red light came on again. I held your mother’s hand, or tried to. More adjustments and more flashes of red light followed. Not soon enough, it was over.

The tests came back negative and we were discharged after being handed some paperwork on head injuries. On our way home, we grabbed a few slices of pizza from Papa Ginos to go. After we’d eated and your mom had fed you, we went upstairs for some play time. I think it was important, not just for you, but for us, as well.

And that’s when the smiles started. We didn’t get any of them on film, but we did get the moments leading up to the smiles, and those will just have to do.

Mostly, you smiled in response to a smile from either your mother or me. But you also smiled when you found the little musical triggers on the mat with your feet. And you loved the fish. All I had to do was run my hand along them, sending them swaying back and forth, and you were mesmerized. It was an amazing thing to see. So amazing, in fact, that I had to get down on your level and see for myself.

And, as fun as Saturday turned out to be, after the horrible way in which it started, you also had another big first this week on Sunday, your first big family gathering, this one to celebrate Easter.

Some of the folks there were people you’d met before, like Grammie and Grampie, but most of them were people you’d never met. There were cousins (technically first cousins, once removed) and great aunts and uncles and everyone waited in line to hold you. You were the most popular attraction of the day, more popular than even your great grandmother’s brownies (at least I think they were your great grandmother’s). Although I, personally, had more than my share of those. We received lots of compliments on how beautiful you were, and how easy-going, and everyone there seemed to really adore you.

You slept through most of it, a testament to your laid-back nature, but you did have at least a moment or two of quality time with everybody you met. And that was wonderful, because I think it’s important to feel loved, to know that you have such a vast network of people who are looking out for you, who love you.

Love, Dad