One year young

Dear Squirmy -

One year ago today, in a oh-so-slightly gritty NHS hospital, you made me woozy. Since then, you've been doing your best to make sure I stay on my toes.

People told me there was going to be a difference between having a girl and having a boy. Something that went beyond the differences in plumbing, I mean. I'm not sure if it's the Y chromosome, or just you exerting your individuality, but there are times that you couldn't be more different than your sister. She's always treasured her sleep, for example, even when she was only a few months old. You seem to be convinced that you're going to miss something incredible and fun if you close your eyes for one second more than you have to. It doesn't matter what time you fall asleep - which you fight long and hard enough to end up asleep in some of the most awkward positions - you're up shortly after The Crack Of Freaking Dawn. Which you definitely did not inherit from me, though my Father, The Surgeon would have been proud.

Also, she had monkey-like fur from birth. You are still bald as an egg. I'm not sure it's related to the sleep thing, but it might be.

You are, in some ways, the stereotype of Boy-dom. Rough-and-tumble, like getting dirty, complete with random bruises, snips, snails and puppy dog tails, etc. Your sister was always the quiet, serious, contemplative one (and still is). You're vocal, playful and stick-your-head-in-the-lion's-mouth inquisitive. This, son, you get from your mother. You'll learn to your future dismay that I refuse to put my hand in the Sea World touch tank to stroke the star fish, even though little Jenny from 2nd grade just showed me it was safe. Why? Not because it's gross. Gross I can do. I've seen worse things taking up space in your diaper than anything in the Sea World menagerie. No. It's because I just know that I'm going to be attacked by the first recorded man-eating star fish. And I don't want to go down in history as that guy. Also, a beach is like Shoney's Big Boy Buffet sampler for sharks. Don't expect me to go swimming in the ocean with you for more than five minutes at a time. You want brave, call your mother. Your sister and I are going to be the ones sitting on the beach, reading a book, with 911 on speed dial.

But most of all, you're just happy. You smile more than any kid I've ever seen. Even when you're upset because I won't let you backwash into my beer (one time I gave you a taste, now I swear you can pick the sound of me getting the bottle opener out of the drawer out of all the household background noise. By the time I make it to the fridge, you're at my feet with an expectant look and a wedge of lime), all it takes is a quick toss in the air and a hug, or 5 minutes of steam-rolling over the dog and wrapping her ears into a pretzel-shaped hat, and you're all smiles. And every time I see you smile, it takes my breath away all over again.

You bring joy into our lives. Thank you for being a Grady.

Happy Birthday.