I'm at work, in the hallway between seeing patients when my phone buzzes. A text from Leonard. "Hey Megs, I just taught Millie how to say 'toot' when she passes gas!" I groan and open the door to my next patient.
"I'm here to see you about my toe" he says, pointing to his foot. His second toe has an obvious hammertoe abnormality. It's large and all bent up, and reminds me of the talon from a gigantic bird of prey. I expect it to start tapping independently, or to lunge and quickly grab the pen from my hand. I explain that unfortunately due to his condition being quite advanced, surgery is the only likely option and he needs to see a podiatrist. I can't get that talon image out of my head. "Our referral coordinator will contact you in a week or toe. Two. She'll contact you in a week or two." Sharp intakes of breath followed by laughter. "I'm glad you can find humor in this" he says sternly. The laughter escalates.
The next day I'm at my friend Holli's house. Millie is playing with her best bud, Holli's two year old daughter. Holli is wearing latex gloves as she separates about 20 lbs. of chicken into bags to be frozen, and I'm keeping the girls out of her hair. We're discussing a recent outbreak of a stomach virus among kids in the neighborhood. With no warning, Holli's daughter throws up on the floor, one episode after another. Millie thinks this is freaky, and is crying to be held while inching closer to the mess. Holli, covered in salmonella, watches helplessly. I run to put Millie in another room so I can help. On the way back I see the toddler, walking toward her mom for comfort, slip and fall in the puddle of vomit, her white pants covered. She tries to get up only to fall again and again.* Shocked gasps and groans.
Later on I'm preparing dinner as quickly as I can. Leonard has taken Millie outside to allow me to get everything ready, as his parents are due in from Utah any moment. The doorbell rings and I answer, dishcloth slung over my shoulder. "Hi guys," I state excitedly. Ron and Irene are standing in the doorway, arms and shoulders covered in luggage. They look at me indifferently. "Where is she?" they state, referring to their only grandchild. I explain the situation, they sigh disappointedly and move pass me to put their things in the guest room. "Nice to see you too," I mutter under my breath as I shut the door.** Roaring Laughter.
It's getting late and I'm rocking Millie to sleep in her nursery. It's dark and quiet, and she's a little mass of jammies and lovey and blanket lying on my chest with her head in the crook of my neck. Awwww....
We continue rocking until suddenly the silence is broken by a soft puttering sound. Millie lifts her head off my shoulder. "Toot!" she says proudly, smiling widely. Raucous laughter which transitions into clapping. Cue cheery closing song and credits.
*Holli's daughter was just fine. We eventually cleaned up the mess and got her in the tub. It wasn't until recounting the events that Holli and I realized just how sad but also humorous it was to see her slip around like that. Oh, poor toddlers!
**It should be noted that my in-laws are the coolest, and I don't blame them for their excitement to see Millie. I'm sure I've greeted them less than enthusiastically when visiting their home, as I excitedly rush to their candy stash.