So the dude had his first birthday party this weekend. Kinda weird. The wife says she can't imagine that so much time has passed and that he's already a year old, but to me it feels about right. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying every moment was agony or anything like that (though the number of times that guy managed to rack me....his career as a ninja is assured) but it feels to me like a year has indeed come and gone.
Lucas isn't a "new" thing in our lives anymore, and he's not an "adjustment" that has to be made. Clan Fletch isn't two anymore. It's three. We're a group, a team, and that's that. We make plans for three, and even if one member isn't terribly polite at the dinner table, that's hardly a switch from having Dad around anyhow.
I'm guessing most guys are like me, and prior to having your own kid, going to the birthday parties of little kids always seemed a bit silly. Waiting for kiddo to open the paper on his presents, watching him ooh and ahh over some silly thing for twenty seconds, then fuss, drool, and move on to the next one. Oh yeah, here's big fun, lemme tell ya. I even had the thought - more than once - that Amy was making far too big a deal about his first birthday party. It's not like the kid's going to remember it, right? So why put in so much time and effort?
Yeah, well. Truth is, the first birthday is kind of two-fold. It's partially new experiences for the kid, and there's a definite undertone - if not exactly stated and celebrated - of "Congrats on making it through a year of parenthood." And hey, that's not a small deal. There's a lot of change in that first year, and it's not all the dude. Rescheduling your life and having to set up a reliable babysitter for Friday nights is new, y'know? (Yes, there's a lot more, but hey, let me dwell on what I choose, m'kay?)
The new experiences for the kid, I must admit, are kind of fun for the dad. I can see how other guys might roll their eyes, but take heart new fathers, this day will not suck so verily mightily as other lil'-kid birthdays you may have been suckered into in the past. Watching some other kid dig into his first birthday cake? Meh. Woopty-friggin-doo. Watching your own kid do it? Not so bad. Kids are at their most ... "personalityish" when they're experiencing new things. You see the real personality of YOUR offspring. And seeing Lucas try to figure out both what the heck this white squishy thing in front of him was, and why everyone and their brother was watching, was kind of fun.
(For the record, Lucas scratched at the cake, leaned down to bite it, reconsidered, and then began tearing off huge hunks to stuff in his mouth. He rapidly acquired a cake "glove" and when bathed, the water looked a lot more like he'd done some biz than it did like water-with-cake.)
I still stand firm in the belief that presents that make noise are the kind of thing you give people you hate, by the by, but Lucas seemed quite amused with his. Thankfully for dad, though, he was most fond of a big plastic toy truck that he also got. That, too, is an interesting change in pre-and-post Dad life; you take - at the very least - an academic interest in what your child's favorites are. You wonder about what this suggests and implies about the child and his/her future.
(And in point of fact you're probably wrong in all cases, but hey, won't stop the speculation, right?)
Speaking of speculation, a final point or two in closing - Lucas still isn't crawling, but he's got what I refer to as a "monkey walk" he does now. From a sitting position, he reaches forward with his arms, pulls himself along the floor, and pushes down with his legs for more traction. Looks kinda like a monkey dragging himself along. Very silly, but surprisingly effective. Gotta wonder what the pets think, though:
Lucas can drag his butt on the ground, but they can't? What gives?