Lucy has a virus. It's been two days of puking, diarrhea, fever, and misery at our house. After little more than drops of Pedialite and water in 48 hours, her pot belly has flattened out, her round cheeks hollowed. She is limp and heartwrenching.

Just hours before she began projectile vomiting at Claudia and Hauke's dinner table, she took her first steps. A barely controlled stumble, but three distinct steps toward me. I was so excited — and almost immediately, selfishly, a little sad. Those were really her first steps away from me. I got nostalgic for her tiny babyhood.

Well, her illness has brought us back to those early days. As Jason paces the floor, holding her while she cries inconsolably, I have a familiar thud of anxiety with every wail. The only difference is that in the early months, we had no idea how to soothe her. I often begged her, "What do you want, Lucy?" Yet now, thanks to Jason's recent efforts at teaching her sign language, we know exactly what she wants. Because she distinctly makes the sign for "water." Yet we can only give her cruel little sips so she doesn't overwhelm her fragile stomach.

Jason's heart is breaking over it. This is his first fatherly lesson in the difficulty of saying no to his little girl — even harder when she's speaking their special language.

The one blessing of her sickness has been her desire to be held. She crawls onto our chests like she did when she was tiny, her body hot and weak. She sucks her thumb fervently as though milk might manifest. Every once in a while she will give a little moan and look up, plaintively. It hurts that we can't make her better. But I know that soon enough she will be fat and busy again, walking away from me, too adventurous to be held.