It's 4:35am, about 10 minutes after you crawled out of your co-sleeper and threw the full brunt of your 22 pounds at my right kidney. I'm now wide awake and typing, while you've somehow managed to fall back asleep in the bed next to me. And since your sleep can be interrupted by the sound of a caterpillar farting in Ecuador, I'm typing verrrry softly.
We've been bunkmates for a few weeks now, just you and me, because whenever Mama sleeps in here you wake up 2,000 times during the night and demand to "nur-nur." She doesn't much care to be gnawed on at all hours, and with her out on the couch you're much more likely to sleep all night. If you do wake up, you sense that the bar is closed and doze back off. Except for those special times like this morning, when you work up a full head of steam and play rhino against my lower back.
I have to hand it to you, though: chasing Mama from my bed is an excellent strategy. It definitely increases the chance that you'll always be the family's Darling Baby Who Can Do No Wrong, instead of a Neglected Middle Child Who Sets Fire To The Drapes On Thanksgiving Just For A Little Attention.
In truth, I can't complain much about the arrangement. Weekend mornings are my favorite times of the week, because you and I are usually the first ones up. When I awake I often find you sitting up, counting your fingers and experimenting with tongue-warbling. We usually have about a half hour together, when you regale me with singsong gibberish and I teach you how to lower yourself off the bed feet-first so you won't snap your neck. We wrestle a little, and I zerbit you under your chin, and you launch into your deep, hearty, machine-gun laugh that makes the whole bed shake.
You're a very happy kid. You like to laugh, and to show off your seven teeth--all of which have enjoyed some time beneath my skin. Remember that afternoon, when I was lying on the couch in something of a funk, and Mama put you on my lap to cheer me up, and you lunged forth and bit me right in the crotch, about an inch from the ol' populator? You may have been furthering the Darling Baby agenda, but you also bestowed on me a remarkable moment of clarity.
You're also a beautiful child, and unlike your brother, who was bald as an eaglet until he was 2, you have lots of curly, strawberry-blond hair. It's a lovely color, though the shape is ... intriguing. You have a thick stripe of rooster-hair right down the middle of your scalp, and the curls behind your left ear hang down far lower than on your right, making you look like an asymmetric Hasid.
And now you're snoring away next to me, probably wondering why all those people were crowing over you at the playground. The thing is, Wednesday was your birthday, signifying that you've made it through your first year of humanhood. This is a big deal, not least because your mother and I have survived our first year as polyprogenics. We always knew we wanted Robert to have a sibling, but that was all theory. Putting that theory into effect, for a few reasons, scared the pants off us. But now it's a year later, and you're here, and my life is more full and more meaningful than I ever thought it could be. So thank you, little boy, for giving me yet another reason to scamper home as quickly as possible every night, and to look forward to waking up on weekends.
And most of all, thank you for not biting off my nuts.