Happy birthday, Critter

This weekend, the Critter turned 3. This is worth celebration: my bride and I have survived having a two-year-old living among us. Sure, lots of other people have achieved the same feat, but let's face it, they're probably a lot more patient than I am, with a much better sense of humor, and can laugh at their delightful little monkey who was 'just being creative' with the indelible blue Sharpie on my beautiful mahogany desk. (I'm saving this moment up. One day, Critter, when you're 16, and have your first boyfriend, and ask if you can't, please Father, borrow the car keys, just this once? I'm going to bring you into my office and show you the faded blue marks on the leather top and say no, and you know why? You did this when you were two. And I've been waiting, savoring my opportunity to bring the Atomic-Daddy-Piledriver that you couldn't appreciate until now. And that day, other fathers will come from near and far and admire me and my perfect fatherly-smack-down. Oh yes. My day will come.)

We rewarded her successfully avoiding being abandoned in the woods for the wolves to raise with a specially requested "pink cake with strawberries", and her very first bike. But, because we apparently have a subconscious need to drive our child to early psychiatry, check out the trick relighting candles her mother - the nice one - bought "by accident." This gave us endless minutes of joy.