Dear O

Dear kid,
You’re going to be eleven months old in a few days, and it’s been an incredible almost-year. You know I love you beyond reason, and you’ve made it clear how much you’re attached to me. And that’s what we have to discuss; your affection is becoming a bit of a problem. I’ve got no objection to PDA, strong touch, or even an occasional affectionate punch, but I do have a problem with being awakened from a nap by being bitten. In the eye.

I had a long day. It started at three am, when you decided to wake up and play, even though I had a mock election to run for over two thousand students. Not a typical day, one where I had to move a lot of tables and not one where I got to sit down, so when I got home and you were asleep, I decided to take advantage and lie down to rest. You got up as I dozed off, and after shouting at me to make sure I still loved you, you went to entertain yourself by playing in the toilet. I thought we were doing fine until you came back and decided to play by pulling my hair out with your teeth. I know I’m starting to lose my hair, you don’t have to help it out. When I tried to take my hair away (unfair, I know) it was biting time.

If you understood cause and effect and had a real memory, I might think you were trying to get me back for accidentally biting you on the head the other night while half asleep. (I am sorry about that, by the way.) But this is becoming a bit of a pattern. Just because you like getting lightly slapped in the face doesn’t mean everyone likes it when you come at them with your full considerable force. I’ve now got a permanent bruise on my ankle from you practicing standing and bouncing on it. The wide open-mouthed kisses are reminiscent of some of my least favorite adolescent partners, and the headbutts are more what I’d expect in a mosh pit than a nursery. And then, sometimes, your expressions of love scare me, like just now, when I went upstairs to make you a bottle and came out of the bathroom to find you had gotten out of a closed room and were halfway up the stairs, coming for me like a fragile zombie.

But, of course, with the pain and the terror comes a lot of joy. You grow the best yoghurt beards in the business. You’re a gifted wiggle dancer, you give great hugs, and someday, you may even know what they mean. You’re absolutely gorgeous, and even more so when completely sacked out. While I was writing this, you whistled. Whistled! On the baby front, you’re also pretty special: curious, affable, adaptable, don’t poop too often. You’re the best thing keeping me from getting my work done, and you inspire me to write stupid letters like this. So thanks, baby, for being my baby. For your eleven month birthday, I hope I can give you four more years of Obama.

Love,
Father.

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