The Perfect Age

My dad used to tell me every year on my birthday. “Well, ___ [fill in the blank] years old; that’s just about the perfect age.” My ears would tingle and my heart would swell with pride. It always felt so special. It never seemed odd at the time that every year he would say the same thing. Later, I caught the paradox. As a parent, I concur with the truth in his philosophy. Every year, every age, is perfect in it’s own way.

But eleven months… really is the perfect age! The sweetness of the pre-verbal phase is absolutely heart melting. Lady Kitty’s coos and grunts are rich with meaning and purpose. She waves bye-bye pretty reliably: to Madeline, to the tiger at the zoo, to herself in the mirror.

Lady Kitty at 11 months—the perfect age!

“Lady Kitty, I could never have this much fun with you if you weren’t here,” Lake said in the morning. He floors me. I tried really hard to commit these words to memory.

My memory is unreliable after about six minutes. I couldn’t replicate his phrasing. “Lake, what did you say this morning about Lady Kitty?”

Lake deadpans as above. “Lady Kitty, I could never have this much fun with you if you weren’t here,”

“All my words travel around with me” he said, explaining his memory.

Lake is an entertaining dining companion. Eleven months might be the perfect age, but four and a half is pretty perfect too. “That’s amazing that she plays with LEGOs, because that’s really rare!” Lake said in response to the news that a baby octopus named Tiny plays with LEGO.

When I apologized that the bread was still frozen. Lake said, “I don’t mind that it’s a cold sandwich–I just mind that it’s a sandwich.”

“Now my nose is like a smokestack!” Lake said while eating basil with dinner. “There’s spicy air coming out of it, ” he elaborated.

“I’m wearing the right clothes to be wearing blueberry jam,” said Lake in his navy blue sweater.

Lake is also really into telling “jokes” that he makes up.

“Here’s a joke: why’s it called a shortcake not a long cake? That’s the joke!”

“Here’s the joke: you can stain bananas when they’re peeled. you can never stain bananas when they’re not peeled.” Peals of laughter ensue. They do. For some reason I think Lake’s homemade jokes are hilarious.

The perfect age, a perfect day. I’m glad I spent it with you.

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