Dear Avery,

You are the fourth child. You are going to have to get used to being last, late, sometimes forgotten, and spoiled as a result of the guilt we subconsciously feel about this. We were really hoping you’d be another boy, so at least you can thank that sentiment for your brand new wardrobe up to the size of 4T.

You are now one year, one month, and twenty-three days old.

I’m sorry I didn’t get this post written and published on your actual birthday. And while I’m apologizing, please do not expect your baby book to be finished before you get married.

Daddy and I are so proud and thankful that you did finally figure out how to sleep through the night. You’re going to hear this a lot in your life so you might as well hear it now. The rest of your siblings all figured this out by 6 weeks. You sure topped them all by holding out until 6 months. I hope this means you will forge your own path in life, no matter how difficult that makes the lives of those you are surrounded by. I’m going to view this as a positive characteristic for your adult-self.

Though you can only say exactly four words coherently (Mama, Dada, Uh-oh, and Ball), it seems that your baby babble contains the mysteries of the universe combined with the passion of Martin Luther King Jr. Despite the fact that you come by this perfectly honestly and completely genetically, it is still going to drive me nuts and you are going to have your talking privileges revoked just moments after you master verbal communication. Talk to Eliott about this. She will empathize with you completely.

And while I’m on the subject of mysteries, I’d like to know, how is that you don’t like bananas? What child ever in the history of children has refused to eat the sweetest, softest, and most convenient baby food there is? I’m only going to forgive you for this because of your tendency to poop but one time a day at the exact same time every day. The predictability of your bowels has actually made my life a little easier, and at least half-way made up for all those late nights.

No one ever suspected me to admit this, but I’m secretly grateful for your small size and slowness to graduate completely out of the baby phase. It turns out I am already sensing the sadness that comes with the realization that it all goes by too quickly. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve given me plenty of reasons to look forward to the future, but I am trying to hold on a little longer to this small version of you, before I forget how you smell and how easy it is to carry you on my hip.

So happy belated birthday to my little partner in birthday crime. Our family was not complete before you, and it is infinitely better because of you.

Dear Avery

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