Nine years ago, A and I welcomed an 8 lbs, 7 ozs, 19 inches long, blue eyed, brown haired little boy into our family.
AJ was about as planned as a baby could be planned. Summer baby so I wouldn’t miss school. Scheduled c-section since he was breech. Birth exactly 8 weeks before teachers returned for the new school year. Planned.
Of course, we know, “the best laid-plans of mice and men often go awry,” and while everything went as planned on June 18, 2008, after that was proof the best-laid plans can, and do, blow up in your face.
Since S had GERD, we were on high alert with AJ, and as his sister, and his father, and his grandmother, and his great-grandfather, AJ had reflux. We knew how to handle it. What we didn’t know how to handle was a baby who spit up everything. Every. Thing. All. The. Time.
He was a few weeks old when our pediatrician suspected there was more to AJ’s reflux than just typical spitty baby. Pyloric stenosis, he told us was his suspicion. Off to the hospital we went for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed AJ was thisclose to PS, but the muscle thickening was just under the measurement threshold. So, we watched and measured. We used towels for burp rags. He slept in his swing for 2 hour stretches. Our pediatrician refered us to a specialist.
A pediatric gastrointestinal specialist saw AJ, put him on a formula available by prescription only, and sent us back to our pediatrician. The specialist suspected a protein intolerance. If he was right, the Neocate would help.
It took a few weeks, but, by the time the new school year began, AJ was better. He gained weight. He began to sleep better, sleep longer. By October, I remember thinking, “so this is what it’s like to have a baby that doesn’t spit up out of his mouth and nose.”
Baby AJ blew up all our plans for an easy summer baby. We were fools. When A and I think back to AJ’s babyhood, we laugh because man, we were such fools.
And, man, did those first 525,600 minutes go fast.
We survived his babyhood, his toddlerhood, and now, we watch with pride and trepidation as AJ ventures through childhood. He’s stubborn with a smart mouth. He’s kind and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders sometimes. He’s shy and silly. He loves his family, his cats, his Pokémon cards, and his Minecraft games.
It’s been 4,730,400 minutes with AJ in our lives. Almost five million minutes.
9 years measured in first words, first steps, first sentences. First day of preschool, of kindergarten, of first grade and second. Three seasons of soccer. Hundreds of Pokémon cards. Countless games of Go Fish and Connect 4. Innumerable questions, bad jokes, and silly puns. Museums and musicals and aquariums and zoos and parks. Miles walked holding my hand, or his dad’s, or his sister’s. Laughter and tears. Anger and happiness. Exasperation. Gratitude.
Four million, seven hundred thirty thousand, four hundred minutes.