Happy Birthday, My Big Boy

November 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm 1 comment

New!You have your mother’s eyes. It was the first thing I noticed about you on the day you arrived. Since that glorious day you have grown into a big, strong, happy child; happier than I ever imagined a child could be. I am glad you were our second child because if you were our first I would have thought parenting was a breeze. Then your sister would have arrived on the scene and sent me straight to a mental hospital.

The Big Challenges

I know you are going to challenge me in new and interesting ways. First and foremost, you are exceptionally large and strong. You have consistently ranked 95% or greater for size since birth and that has made diaper changing a serious chore. Getting clothes on you is like dressing an octopus.

You have an appetite that matches your size and if I’m not keeping up with the feeding you yell at me. Then when you have had enough of the high chair you push and strain against the straps and I fear at any moment you’ll turn green and smash puny chair.

So Far So Good

Here is what I have learned about you so far during your first year with us:

– Once you are down you sleep The Sleep of the Dead. It’s the kind of sleep where I have to put a hand on you just to make sure you’re still alive. I’ve seen you sleep in the same position for hours, your breath barely noticable. Oh, how I envy your sleep.

– You get along with your sister pretty well. Right now she gets the best of you because she is simply bigger and more coordinated. You do get your shots in, though; you’re a biter. Also, once you get a handful of her hair play time is over and I have to separate the two of you. Sometimes you come away with blonde strands of hair in your little ham fist. I can’t help but smile because I have warned Big Sister that one day you will be big enough to exact your revenge on all of the times she has taken toys from your hands or smashed your face into the rug. I want to be there when it happens because Dads want to witness every significant moment in their son’s life and that will be a big one.

– Despite the occasional tangles with her, you love your sister. If she is in distress, you quickly turn your head to look for her. When she laughs, you laugh. When she cries, you cry. This is a good sign.

– You are an explorer. You are curious about the vacuum cleaner, the kitchen sink, the shower, the TV, what’s under every table and behind every door. I have had to retrieve you from each closet in the house and even from under your sister’s bed.

The Shadowy Road Ahead

As you grow into a little boy I have one one piece of advice for you right now: remember that you are unique. As the second sibling you will be constantly compared to your older sister. It will happen for the first 25 years of your life. I should know because I am also a little brother. There will be plenty of moments where you will meet someone for the first time and they will say to you “Ohhhh yeaaaahh… I know your sister!” They will say you look like her. They will ask you if you’re as good at something as she is and they will expect you to be even if you have no interest in it. You will feel like you are under a huge shadow, but only if you let yourself feel that way.

Don’t worry about any that; you have no control over other people. Make sure you stay true to yourself and pursue what you desire. Don’t make the mistake I sometimes made, which is to purposely avoid going in a direction you think you’ll like because you feel compelled to be different than your sibling. Doing so will simply deny you things in life you might truly enjoy just to satisfy your need to get out from under that omnipresent but powerless shadow.

Building the Bond

You and I are just getting started and this first year together has been amazing. I remember seeing your face light up the first time you rode with me in the truck. A simple trip to the hardware store became an adventure. Over the summer you learned to stand on your own out in the sunny front yard. We attended our first baseball game together a few weeks later. Just a couple of days ago you learned to walk. I watched you as that switch flipped in your head and you began walking as your preferred method of locomotion.

Among all of the things we do together, though, my favorite is this: when we look at each other we can’t help but smile. That smile turns into laughter and then I just have to pick you up and give you a big hug.

I will carry all of those moments and more with me and try to remember them a few years from now when you’re breaking my stuff, rolling your eyes at my reprimands, and trying to sneak back into the house at 1AM.

My dear son you are a strong, vibrant, happy child and today is your first birthday.

Happy Birthday, Duncan Philip.

Entry filed under: Being Dad. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Chunky Monk Belgian Ale The Color of Bacon

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Tom Rasmussen  |  November 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Many dads have experienced similar situations as their kids grow up. Few woould articulate the process as well as your note. It looks like he could handle a 12-pounder and take down his dad. many happy reruns for you all.
    Tom Rasmussen


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