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It’s not like I expected to celebrate turning 38 the same way I celebrated turning 10, 16, 21, or even 30. It’s just that I thought I might celebrate turning 38 the same way I celebrated turning 37.Turns out it wasn’t in the cards for me this year.

I first surmised that this would be a very different birthday when Matt ran his gift idea by me. He wasn’t sure if it was something I really wanted, so he decided to forgo the element of surprise and ensure getting it right. Would I like my own iPod? Boy would I ever—what a thoughtful, generous idea. But we just ran up a four-digit vet bill and have an expensive roof repair coming up, so I told Matt thanks but no thanks. This just isn’t a great time for grand gestures. Instead I suggested a Rilo Kiley CD and a bag of Riesen.

Today, my actual birthday, started well enough. We played in the house, and I took some extra time over my tea and the morning newspaper. The travel section even had a feature on Iceland, my dream vacation for the last 15 years or so. Things were looking good. So when Simon got fussy in the car this afternoon, I didn’t think much of it. When he cried a bit on our walk, I assumed the wind was to blame. And when he woke up from his nap early, I assumed it would blow over in a few minutes.

Instead his tone got hysterical in a hurry, and I sent Matt upstairs to check on him. Within seconds, Matt declared a “baby emergency” and called me upstairs for backup. The poor little guy had thrown up and was lying face down in a puddle of his own sick. Matt hustled him into the tub in a flash, only to discover that he was also suffering from diarrhea. While Matt cleaned Simon up, I tackled the soiled clothes, stuffed animals, and crib bedding. It was, as you can imagine, an unpleasant task. As soon as I finished with that, I got to work sterilizing all his sippy cups and pacifiers and theorizing the cause of his illness while Matt changed his clothes and tried to calm him down.

At this point, we canceled our dinner plans and settled on take-out. Simon himself hardly ate dinner at all; we just hoped to get enough Mylanta and ginger ale into him to settle his tummy and allow him to rest comfortably.

So the day went off the rails a bit—a real bummer. But the funny thing is, I’m just not that bummed about it. We have a vet bill that’s high, but we’re lucky enough that it’s not a hardship to pay it. Simon is sick, but it’s his first time ever being sick and it appears to be just a little bug—not one of the much more serious ailments I’ve watched friends and friends of friends deal with in recent years. And I’ve got a husband who quickly and gamely stripped down and cleaned up a baby boy stinking from both ends.

It looks like we’ll all be OK, and there will be plenty of gadgets to buy and restaurants to try out for my birthday next year.

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