From The Daddy Desk: Happy First Birthday, Son

First BirthdayDear LP,

Daddy here.

Can you believe you turned one this weekend??? We celebrated the Kimchi Latkes way: by making you wear a funny Korean hat, stuffing ourselves with delicious food, and surrounding ourselves with loved ones.

We also, of course, reflected on your first year of life.

When you were born, people often asked me if I was relieved to “finally” have a boy. Putting aside that those people utterly failed to appreciate the full awesomeness of your sisters, there’s no denying that you I have a lot in common (though whether that’s because we’re both gentlemen, I’ll leave for another day).

Allow me to share a few examples:

(1) Your Mother

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree here: you and I both really, really like your mom. Unfortunately, we also find ourselves locked in a knock-down, year-long competition for . . . ahem . . . intimate time with her, which I must confess you are winning (for now) due to your insatiable desire to nurse ALL night, every night.

Sadly for you, my hungry little friend, I have some inside information that you do not: your mother plans to cut off your all-night gravy train around Thanksgiving weekend, so I recommend that you savor your place by her side while you can, because the clock is ticking on your spot in our bed. In other words, you may have won the battle, but you will surely lose this war.

(2) Crime

Speaking of violent acts, we also share another thing in common: crime.

As you know, I practice criminal defense. Similarly, you have (somehow) managed to exclusively acquire nicknames that connote criminal conduct.

It is widely known that your online persona is “Little Pirate,” and that you thus swashbuckle around the internet stealing hearts, minds, and other treasures across the globe.

Less well known is your nickname at home: Keyser Söze, which of course, we took from the great underworld mastermind in The Usual Suspects. (Your true name Caj, pronounced “Kai,” has given rise to this not-so-creative moniker.)

To whatever extent a baby’s demeanor accurately foretells the future, I’m actually fairly confident that you’ll never require my professional services. Unfortunately, however, I am less confident about your firebrand sister, Chipmunk; in fact, sometimes I worry that our version of “take your child to work day” will involve you and me at a bail hearing with that little provocateur in a jumpsuit… Let’s hope she proves me wrong.

(3) Your Sisters

Which brings me to my last topic: your sisters. Although they’re only five and two-and-a-half, your sisters manage to strike deep, bone-chilling fear in both of our hearts.

On the outside, of course, they’re all sparkly pink princesses, puppy dogs and rainbows. But you and I know the truth: that living with Mouse and Chipmunk is an exercise in survival—surviving an incessant barrage of ear-splitting shrieks, assaults on our bodies, and dizzying surround-sound chatter that never, ever, ever ends unless they happen to pass out for some reason (usually bedtime), but not before you’re crying on the outside and I’m bawling on the inside.

LP, you and I are men who appreciate a quiet moment of solitude and repose. Some day, we should build some sort of barrier—a wall, perhaps (I know it’s crude)—and simply sit on our side, sipping mint juleps and enjoying some well-earned peace and quiet while your sisters crash up against the other side trying to get through. Doesn’t that sound like some good father-son bonding???

Down What? Down Where?

In closing, I feel I’d be remiss if I failed to mention a large elephant in our little corner of the blogosphere: Down syndrome. I won’t lie to you, LP—Down syndrome has been a big deal for me and your mom this year.

To be clear, I am not saying that Down syndrome actually affects our daily lives very much, because it doesn’t. Instead, I’m saying that Down syndrome has altered the way we think, feel, and see the world in a fundamental way, and one that we, quite frankly, wouldn’t trade for anything.

Equally important, though, is that NONE of that has ANYTHING to do with you, because you are not Down syndrome, you just have it.  You are my son, and a shit-awesome one at that. You are a charmer, LP, with your goofy little grin and the hilarious (recent) development that you’ve taken to purring when you’re content. You love music, dancing, army-crawling, and (sometimes) your sisters. You love your mom’s cooking, but have recently—and rightly—decided that you hate the fish oil we force feed you every day.

In other words, you’re a baby, LP, and our baby at that. Here’s wishing you many long years of happiness and health. We love you, dude. Hope you had a great birthday!


Your Dad

traditional korean dol

45 Comments on “From The Daddy Desk: Happy First Birthday, Son”

  1. RobotDancing says:

    Beautifully put! Happy birthday to the wee man :) I look forward to hearing about how he copes with the end of the night feeding – a battle I waged for a long time with my son. Must be a boy thing!

  2. Holly says:

    Most mornings, I clear all non-essential emails from my phone as I head for the coffee. This morning, however, I remained stuck at the landing of the stairs until I finished this humorous love letter.

    Happy first year to your entire family!

  3. panikikubik says:

    What a lovely absolutely lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing this. All the best to you all.

  4. Jenny says:

    Beautiful. Happy 1st Birthday LP :)

  5. Diane says:

    Happy Birthday sweet boy! Some day I will hold you and give you a big ol kiss!

  6. What a wonderful love letter to your son. Happy birthday, little one!

  7. Galit says:

    Happy Birthday! Good luck transitioning from kimchi-milk to latkes… (Happy Thanksgivukka!)

  8. natasham says:

    Beautifully put and with a sense of humour too…Happy 1st Birthday little one x

  9. Lisa says:

    Very sweet! Happy birthday, little one!

    • Latke says:

      Thanks Lisa! I heard a rumor that we may one day share some sort of cops and robbers commune. I guess we’ll be safe and unsafe all at the same time!

  10. Great post! My wife, Leah, author of Our Cora Bean ( ) sent me this link and said I should check it out; and I’m glad she did. Sounds like you guys had a great B-day for the little guy ;-) Keep up the good work…

  11. liz tree says:

    Such sweetness!!! just a note we give our kid fish oil too but he loves it although it makes me gag but have you tried the Lemon flavored ones…. even my 13 old likes it, revolting I know but it might work.

    • Latke says:

      I’m not familiar with the lemon variety. Maybe that will work–the regular stuff is unbearable, and I can’t blame the little fella. Thanks!

  12. Crystal S says:

    Happy Birthday Caj! I love your hanbok (even if the hat is funny looking). I wish all the best for the upcoming year to you all!

  13. Lori says:

    Many happy returns, little one! I especially love the photo of you in your ceremonial robes. We celebrate the day you were born.

  14. Heather Bradley says:

    So beautiful! Couldn’t agree more. Happy Birthday LP! Can’t wait for you to meet Izzy someday. Be warned – She likes to make boys cry.

    • Latke says:

      Thanks for the heads up. Fortunately, LP is well equipped to handle girls who make him cry. It’s a mainstay of his daily life!

  15. vandeblogger says:

    Happy birthday little guy!!

  16. avatarinstructordesintesis says:

    Reblogueó esto en concienciauniversalccd.

  17. ajummama says:

    i may be 100% kimchi married to 100% kimchi (by way of CT) with our 100% li’l kims but i gotta say latke has moved me. and it’s hard to move me with open letters on the blogosphere but this one was straight from the heart. i appreciate you addressing the more sensitive topics like battling yo baby boy for intimacy with his mama and how Ds has changed your view on life.

    fellow “LohYah” who has traded in pleadings for pleading with my toddlers ’round the clock, currently advocating for Proposition No Party Favors at kiddie parties (working on treatise)

    • Latke says:

      Gimme a clipboard: I’m all about a moratorium on party favors (though I admit we gave them out at LP’s party). Don’t hate me…

      • ajummama says:

        i’m all talk – was talking to jisun online as i put in my Amazon orders for ours, too…kicking and screaming but still proceeding to checkout!

        • ajummama says:

          we thought we had to since we been receiving them at his little buddies’ parties. but for ellis’ dol, since we served a gluttonous many-coursed korean chinese banquet and hired an entertainer, we had peace about not doling out favors. but i swear, we were the only ones to skip favors in our community. augh!

  18. cerabellum says:

    Nice post. Offtopic – Do you actually like Kimchi? I love it :) (food)

  19. I am completely enthralled by both the Kimchi (mom)? and the (Latke- Dad?) entries. I want you both for my next door neighbours. Your insights, anecdotes, humour and loving-ness for each family person are just< I don't know..moving? evocative? just so …great!

    • Latke says:

      You’re too kind. I’d say perhaps we are already neighbors, except that you spell it “neighbours,” which suggests you are not in Oakland, CA. At least we can be interwebs neighbours!

  20. […] From The Daddy Desk: Happy First Birthday, Son ( […]

Share your thoughts! I try to respond to every comment. Unless you are offensive. Then I either delete or mock you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s