A year or two later, I bought a pistol from my brother and cake was ... well, cake's what Amy always wished for, so I just added it to my wishes in case her wish didn't work. Nowadays, my wishes are a little less concrete. Health. Happiness. Pie. And, since I have those things, mostly, it's tough to answer people when they ask what I want for my birthday. This year I received two things I didn't even know I wanted: poop and and smile.
I know. Poop and a Smile sounds like a misguided ad campaign with Mean Joe Greene trading his sweat-stained jersey for a soda, or some poop. "Gee, thanks Mean Joe," I say as I snatch the jersey out of the air. "Thanks for the poop, kid," he says and walks through the stadium tunnel to the locker room. But I didn't get a cool Steelers jersey; Grady started smiling and Dylan spent some quality time on the toilet.
At our last pediatrician's appointment, the PA told us that she loves babies at two months because they're no longer parasites that just take, take, take. At two months they start to give back, usually starting with a smile. Grady has a terrific smile. It starts out a little crooked and goofy and blooms into a full mouthed beam. Even if you're looking at the back of his head, you know when he's grinning. Granted, his birthday gift came a little early, but I don't mind, he's terrible with dates and times right now.
Dylan, after seeing the smile from her brother, knew that she was going to have to come up big for her dad's birthday to top her bro. Her #2 time has been stagnant lately, which became even more problematic when she started wearing big-girl chonies. After threats, bribes, tears, and pleas, she finally decided that my birthday was the right time to unload her present (that's a pun, get it?). We cheered and loaded her with all the gifts we'd been promising so that, by the end of the day, she ended up with more presents than me.
If you hang out with parents of young children, you'll hear every possible scenario about feces that you could ever imagine. And, you'll hear these stories told by seemingly normal people who, apparently, have a passion for poop. I didn't want to be one of those parents, but being a parent and having serious scatalogical discussions is as unavoidable as beards at a folk-festival. At least Grady Jay's smile gave me something else to celebrate, but I think next year I'll go back to wishing for a .22 pistol and chocolate cake.