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Today you turn seven years old. That is a big step, turning seven. You need all the fingers on one hand plus two on the other hand to show how old you are now.

What can I say about you? You have always had a flair for the dramatic. It began when I was pregnant with you and wound up twice in the hospital with false labor. You were born screaming and really never stopped. I didn't know that it was possible for a baby to cry so much, a toddler to scream so much, and a child to talk so much. Your birth proved that colic can indeed strike one family twice.

You were the child who proved to me that I know nothing. After parenting your four older brothers, I thought I had all the answers. The third and fourth in line were exceptionally easy babies and toddlers and I took credit for it. I smugly would think,'I have this down.' You were the baby that brought me back into reality. How quickly as parents we take credit for the things we perceive as "good". You helped me realize that unless I want to take credit for the crying, colic, and reflux, I couldn't take credit for the easy stuff either. It was humbling. Though I think I have been humbled enough now if you'd like to suddenly become easy going, just sayin'.

In keeping with the theme of sevens, I present seven things that are uniquely you:

1) You are the only one who has ridden in an ambulance. This happened when you decided to stop breathing and turn blue when you were a few weeks old.

2) Then you got to be worked on a second time by EMT workers when you fell and split your head open at our local Social Security office when you were 22 months old.

3) You are the only one to have stitches, 12 of them on your forehead. You now have a scar that grows bigger with each passing year.

4) You are the only one who is ambidextrous, like me.

5) You are the only one that we call a completely different, completely unrelated nickname from the one we put on your birth certificate.

6) You have a rich imagination and can invent elaborate games to entertain yourself. I love to watch you playing.

7) You absolutely HATE to be laughed at. Or to think that we might be laughing at you. Or to hear us laughing in the other room and not know why we are laughing because it might be about you. Unless you are making a joke, but your jokes are generally not as funny. There are only so many times fart noises or poop can be used as a punchline.

You are not what one would call an easy child. You have definite ideas about what you want to do and how you want to do it. You see no problem with standing on your kitchen chair and shouting on the top of your lungs. Or standing at the end of the driveway and shouting at the top of your lungs. Or sliding down the banister and shouting on the top of your lungs. Or riding in the car and shouting on the top of your lungs. Or doing just about anything that other people would do in quiet, you chose to do it while shouting on the top of your lungs.

You have never had a thought that you didn't feel compelled to share with the rest of us, loudly.

But you are also a caring and generous child, who would never intentionally hurt someone's feelings. I admire your spunk and your energy. Oh your energy, if only I could bottle it up. I suspect that when you collapse in bed at night — and collapse you do — that you feel content, as though your day was full of adventure and accomplishments.

As you grow up, I hope that you always have this love for life, this unbridled energy and enthusiasm, that you continue living out loud. That is my hope for you.

Well, that along with you developing some sort of volume control. Because I think we are all suffering from hearing loss already.


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