The boy is two years old. We had a great birthday weekend with him, and unlike last year he seemed to get the idea that the day was all about him. He really seemed to enjoy everyone singing happy birthday, so much that after he’d smashed a bit of cake – literally, cake icing is squishy fun!- he requested an encore. “Do birfday again?”

He made out like a (very small, uncoordinated) bandit with a lot of toys, most of which were marked for 3+, but hey, he’s a genius. A few photos are attached (thanks Uncle David), more likely to come as they come in.

number one

number one

I have a son.

Not just a son, but a wonderful, happy, developing-incredibly-fast boy who’s reached one of those inevitable milestones that’s simultaneously exciting and terrifying. On September 27th, Cooper turned one.

The double-sided reaction is still there: I can’t believe he’s already a year old / I can’t believe he’s only a year old. But it’s starting to slide a bit towards the ‘already’ side, which I suppose means I’m (finally) settling in to this whole fatherhood thing.

In lieu of a big to-do, we had nice little get together for his birthday, just the grandparents and uncle David (who we have to thank for the cake photos). There were some presents – including a reunion with a former favorite daycare toy, which was a bit of a showstopper – and of course, the first cake.

If I have my math right, here’s approximately 9,000 words describing the event…

book boy

So this might be a completely normal developmental thing – I’ve been cautious to not let myself make a big deal out of milestones and such that Cooper reaches, because I’m quite sure that every baby hits these at varying times, and there’s very few things that are truly exceptional. But this one kind of wowed me, especially at ten months old.

Chris was playing with Cooper in the nursery this morning, where he of course has all of his favorite books, most often scattered on the floor around the rocking chair. Sometimes, he will bring a book to us to read, and turn around and sit in our lap, which is adorable. But today she found a new wrinkle.

She asked him to bring her a book, and then started reciting the beginning lines of “Are You My Mother?” which is one of his favorites (and yes, we have the books memorized – Chris a little more accurately than I). He looked at her and then promptly walked over, picked that book up from the floor, and brought it over to her. She couldn’t quite believe it, and after she read the book, she tested him a couple more times and he did the same thing.

After telling me about it, we were back in the nursery later that day and I tried it myself; I started saying the beginning of “Is Your Mama a LLama?” and sure enough, he found the book and brought it to me. He did it again with his favorite peekaboo book – really just from the line “Where’s the elephant with big floppy ears?” and then again by reciting “Where Is The Green Sheep?” That one was a bit more impressive as the book was up on the shelf and not just lying in plain sight on the floor. And there’s no uncertainty on his part; he hears the words and goes to grab that specific book immediately.

I really don’t know what to make of this except that I’m pretty impressed. Clearly he’s making clear associations between the words we read and the actual books (and probably a ton of other things), but to see it play out so blatantly was pretty amazing.

Now where IS that green sheep?

It begins!

So over the long holiday weekend, Cooper started figuring some things out. He’s not yet spontaneously walking, but with a little encouragement…



Had a new experience today; taking Cooper to another place and leaving him there with strangers.

Not really something you can mentally prepare for.

The elf costume has nothing to do with this post. It's just cute.

The elf costume has nothing to do with this post. It’s just cute.

All in all, the first day of daycare came and went with very little to report. Chris and I both went to see him off, and apart from labeling his bottles and stocking his cubby with diapers, there wasn’t a whole lot to do apart from handing him over and leaving. He was so interested in the new environment I don’t even know that he could tell we’d left.

Still, it felt odd. I didn’t really know what to expect, so it’s hard to gauge it against anything. Weird pretty much sums it up. ‘Here’s our baby,’ went the exchange in my head. ‘He is very helpless and occasionally stupid. Sometimes his butt explodes. Please feed him and clean him and keep him alive.’

Mind you, this has nothing to do with the daycare itself. We like the facility, the women in the infant room seem very caring and capable, and there’s plenty for the little ones to keep busy with. And Cooper gets quality time with his peers, which I expect he loves. Us old fogeys are probably way too boring for him.

No, it’s mostly just the idea of the thing.

I know it’s what everyone does. I know it’s what people have done for more than a century. It still just feels unusual.

It will grow on us, I have no doubt. We’ll get used to it and in a couple of months we’ll wonder how we managed to do without it (technically, we managed to do without it because we had serious grandparent help over the last several weeks. Thank you to all the grands, once again and always). But still.

I realize it’s a convenience and a huge first-world-problem to be angst-y about being able to have someone else provide professional care for your child, but there you have it.

At some point this afternoon I thought it was the longest I’d been away from the kid since he was born, but then I remembered the day I was out of town from about 7am til 9pm, which beat today by several hours. But even that wasn’t the same, because it was me leaving, him staying home. This was him leaving, me staying at home. Very much not the same.

The silly thing is, I fully realize that this is total small potatoes in terms of separation events. It’s the first tiny let-go moment in a long procession of letting-go moments, up until he’s fully independent and he’s going to go whether we like it or not. As emotions go, it’s pretty miniscule in the grand scheme of things.

But today? Today it felt big.