Happy Birthday, Linchpin

The celebration lasted nearly a month. It began at a 4th of July block party and ended on a McDonald’s Playland. Our three-year-old is now four.

Since this was his fourth birthday and since his birthday is in July and since parties explode on July 4th, he naturally believed he turned four on Independence Day.

His older brothers tried to tell him that his birthday immutably falls on July 24, but he would have none of it. Like when he had none of my claim that he must always tell the truth: “But I’m not Jesus!”

Honesty is not always his best policy. For instance,

Dad: “Son, what’s behind your back?”
Cookie Monster: “Mom told me I could have one.”
Dad: “Mom, did you say he could have a cookie?”
Mom: “No.”
Cookie Monster, handing me the contraband: “I’ll just have one tomorrow.”

I admire his confidence in the father’s mercy.

I call him Linchpin. If he’s well, most likely the family system is, too. With two older siblings and two younger, he is the quintessential middle child.

He gets hit from above and bitten from below. No wonder he thinks you get “punched” on St. Patrick’s Day if you’re not wearing green.

Remarkably, he’s our most fun-loving soul. He had a troop of high school girls cheering his bunny hops during our last trip to the pizza parlor. He wore a coonskin cap to church on Sunday.

Even wet underwear won’t get in his way of a good time. (He’s out of diapers but not beyond leakage.)

His birthday party piggybacked on a YMCA “Flick & Float” at the city pool. We didn’t tell him all the people weren’t there for him. Besides, they weren’t strangers. They were just friends he’d not yet met, like Hank, the “hybrid” puppy we adopted from the new Kendall County Animal Shelter the day after the party.

It had been seven years since our family had a dog. We lost Shadow in 2005 to a nice man who ran him over and then kindly took his lifeless body to the vet for disposal. As Shadow’s name suggests, he was always at our side, except when a cute poodle pranced down the opposite sidewalk like on the night we said good-bye.

After Shadow faded, my better half and I started having kids at an exponential rate, leaving little bandwidth for un-humans. That is, until the week our third three-year-old turned four.

He thinks the dog was a birthday gift for him and that’s fine. The more children responsible for the sanitation of my backyard, the better. And Linchpin is an expert in all things fecal. For example, this interchange as I stuffed a pair of dress slacks into a dry cleaning bag:

Son: “Why did you put those in there?”
Dad: “That’s where I put them when they get dirty.”
Son: “You mean when you get tee-tee and poo-poo on them?”

Sure, if that helps.

We concluded the month-long celebration at McDonald’s with just our family. Everything went as planned, including the drink spill.

Happy Birthday, Linchpin. May your trousers always be dry. And may you always find a cleaners to take them when they’re not.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. He can be reached at http://www.kwt.info.

1 Response to “Happy Birthday, Linchpin”

  1. 1 mrdonnigeria August 13, 2012 at 02:48

    I really like this one. And he is one of my favorites! Makes me think that I can have material to make all of them a poem ever so often even though I do not get to see them that much. Love dad


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