Friday, May 3, 2013
Happy Birthday, Colin.
Today you're a year old. I've been trying to think of how to start this letter for weeks now, and I still don't know how. There's something about you that is so difficult for me to capture in adjectives and nouns. To say you're inquisitive is an understatement. To say you're troublesome or naughty gives the wrong impression. Your character is so multidimensional that nothing short of seeing you in person can convey your personality. So, instead of trying to describe you, I offer you this story:
Earlier this week I was making your breakfast, and you somehow broke into your baby holy of holies - the bathroom. There is just so much in there that you need so very much to explore. You love sticking your hands into our often-disgusting toilet. You love throwing things into the bowl. You love unraveling and tasting entire rolls of toilet paper. Sometimes you fall face first into the tub with a thump before trying (unsuccessfully) to turn on the tap. You open the cupboards and pull out all of the clean towels. When the towels form a lumpy mountain behind you, you crawl inside the cupboard and refuse to come out.
For all of those reasons, we've learned to keep the bathroom door closed 24 hours a day. I don't know what happened, but last Monday you broke through our defenses and completed the pilgrimage to your baby mecca. I found you there, standing next to the toilet, happily eating a bite of the unnaturally blue toilet cleaner cake.
Understandably, this freaked me out. A bit. Maybe a lot. Your mouth smelled like "mountain clean" to an acutely disturbing degree. You were covered in sparkly blue shrapnel. The cleaner bar and its holder had telltale chomp marks all around it. I rinsed off your mouth and face, then set you down in the living room while I dialed poison control.
As I was reading the packaging to the lady on the phone, you took full advantage of my distracted state and made a beeline to the dog's water dish. Normally you just splash around in the bowl or knock it over, but today you must have really decided to go for the gold. When you're on a roll, you're on a roll. You carried that dog dish to the heating vent in the floor, and you poured it all down there.
But why stop there, right? I mean, where does that hole go? No sane baby would just leave it at that. What treasures could lie in our ducts? Dog hair clumps? Cookie crumbs? Tetanus?! You had to pry the vent out of the floor and really investigate that hole. I get it. An opportunity like that couldn't be ignored.
Meanwhile, I was being assured that a baby your size can eat an entire leave-in toilet bowl cleaning disk and suffer no ill effects. Your single large bite would give you nothing but a tummy ache, some potential diarrhea, and a mouth like Mr. Clean. Just as I hung up the phone, I looked over to see you fall into the uncovered vent hole, your leg swallowed up to your thigh by our floors.
And through all of this, do you know what I find to be truly telling of your personality? You were smiling. You laughed. You were having the time of your life! Do you know when you finally started crying? When I took you away from your dog-water vent and covered it back up.
For the rest of the day I had to stop you over and over again from a repeat performance with that vent. You don't give up easily. You're a determined baby. You're completely driven to discover exactly why every thing off-limits is off-limits. You explore with gusto. I spend all of my day pulling you down from great heights and fishing things out of your mouth. I'm certain you will be our ER baby, but do you know what? I don't really mind.
You're adventuring the only way a baby knows how, and I love you for that.
I say it time and time again, but we're meant to be a family of adventurers. You fit right in with the rest of us. You've adapted to this circus of our life, and you embrace it. You spur us on. You dare us to push the envelope more and more, and we have so many good things to show for it. You're one more cog in the machine driving us to such great heights.
We're all so glad you're here.
Even though you test my patience to the nth degree.
Even though you create massive laundry piles with your messy exploration.
Even though our doctor bills are sky high from your overzealous injuries.
Even though you destroy the house around us with your curiosity.
Even though life with you is a million times more challenging, we're all so glad to have you that we couldn't imagine it any other way.
Happy Birthday, Colin. We love you.