Part of the fun of each new holiday is that you get to retell the stories of holidays past. In my family, for example, there’s a story we bring up each year around Easter about how one year, as a very little kid, my sister inexplicably drank all the purple dye for the eggs. She was three, so you’d think we’d cut her a little slack, but no; every spring the story comes back out like a slightly twisted Lenten rose.

Well, our little crew may have a story of our own to tell in Christmases to come. Just before bedtime on an otherwise fun and busy Christmas Day, Owen spiked a very, very high fever, which prompted a trip to the emergency room. We’ve learned that high fevers are an Owen specialty; if the kids around him get fevers of 101, he’ll go up to 103. I don’t know if he’s competitive about this or if it’s just one of his superpowers, but he will almost always get a higher fever than anyone else. The doctors have told us this is a good thing because it means his immune system is ready to fight off germs. My wife and I try saying this to ourselves when he’s burning up. I don’t think it’s worked once.

The ER was full, including at least two other babies, but we were able to get in quickly owing to the high fever, and was quickly diagnosed as having… a fever – not flu, not pneumonia, not anything scary, just another viral thing going around in the winter. And thanks to two special treatments, he started bouncing back right away. The first, no surprise, was Tylenol, which brought his fever down in a hurry. The other, was the sight of my wife’s Christmas present – a Nook HD tablet, which she had brought along figuring we would probably be at the hospital for a long while. Just as he started dozing on her lap, she pulled out the tablet and started scrolling.

At which point he shot up, moved her hand out of the way and began tapping indiscriminately on the tablet screen. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do on those things, right? Despite being exhausted beyond belief, he was tapping and tapping and tapping and giggling and having a ball, or at least until he was discharged. Leaving, you see, meant putting the tablet away, and that was no fun at all.

Still, we got to go home after two hours or so, feeling like we’d dodged a lot of health-related bullets. After a couple more days of recuperating O beat the bug and has since returned to enjoying his Christmas presents, especially his new harmonica: