I just put you down for your last nap of being one. The next time you lay down for a mid-afternoon snooze, you will be two.
So now its time for me to fail at being profound in a birthday(ish) address.
A year and one week ago your Mum went back to work and my life changed in a way that was nearly as profound as when you were born. All of a sudden I became your primary care-giver (though only by a small margin). I stay home with you three days out of most weeks. Your Mum takes you on weekends, while Mondays and Fridays you go to day care while I do various wage earning things. Mostly due to your own demands and requirements your Mum still does more hands on care than I do when we are both home, but you will quit breast feeding relatively soon, and that should make a big difference.
Now, while I have been game for this fatherhood thing from the get-go, I willingly admit that there are things I've been more actively looking forward to than others. I knew that diaper changing was something I was just going to have to grudgingly live with and that was that. (But you are potty-training now, so while I have yet to see the light at the end of that tunnel, we can no longer look back and see where we came in.) I don't relish the thought of having to counsel you through the rough parts of interacting with other kids. (That has begun. Just last week you had a run in with a young lady in the building who simply doesn't know how to play nice with other kids. It made me so fucking angry. (Please don't speak like that until at least high-school, okay? And even then, choose your moments based on a combination of respect and effect - we'll discuss the intricacies of that in years to come, a series of conversations I actually am very curious about, if not outright looking forward to.) Boys... yeah - that may be rough on me, but we shall see. (Hey, remind me when you are old enough, we should watch Castle - the father daughter relationship there is about as good as a man can dream of, we can both probably gain something from it together.)
I've enjoyed so many of the stages you've already gone through, but in many cases the greatest delight was fleeting and quickly left to memory. I know you are going to spend the rest of your life being reminded of how you said your name for the first time along Riva dei Sette Martiri in Venice, for example. But you've recently reached a stage that I've been actively looking forward to from the beginning, and it is a stage that is going to gradually morph into another stage I've been looking forward to. You've begun voicing your own ideas - somewhat mis-shapen ideas, often due to your grasp of the building blocks of language - but delightful because of that.
The other day we were talking about going camping and when I asked you how long you were going camping for, you declared "two minutes and one time." A week or two back you were asked who your friends were. The first time, your answer was "Mummy and Daddy and Karen and Mollie," but when asked again (in hopes of a repeat performance) we were in formed that your friends were "Frogs.... and bunnies." Often on weekends when I come home from work you tell me about some part of your day. I rarely pick up more than the obliquest of details, but I can usually identify some major aspect of what happened (more often than not, that you went to a "big park.") From here you will gradually develop the ability to tell me more and in more precise detail, we'll fly through the glory and embarassment of "the mouths of babes" stage, and before too long we will be having conversations and debates on an equal footing. I look forward to all of this and more.
We've also reached a stage where when we play I can pick you up and roll around with you without my primary job being to protect you (though there is still a lot of that going on). You are a much more active participant in our rough-housing and it is always one of my favourite part of my days. It is still growing, but at the same time I see how it will slip-away. You get bigger every day, and while I have gotten stonger to accomodate that, the tale of the boy who became the strongest man in the world by lifting a baby bull every day of it's life is a myth. You get bigger and I get older (and though it rankles me to admit it, I am past my physical prime) and as you become more work to play hard with, my stamina will gradually slip away, and bit by bit without even noticing it happening we will lose those playful delights. But I swear to you that I will always do everything in my ability to play those games we create for as long as you will have me as your playmate.
Tomorrow we start year three, and though today doesn't look very different at this end, I look forward to looking back in a year and seeing how much your world has grown.
Love your Pop.
P.S. I just checked, and as of this afternoon, "Three Minutes of December" is over half a day of continuous viewing!