Everybody wants to know what he’s like. But how do you really find the words to sum up another person? Not only a person, but your son. And not only your son, but your not-even-three-weeks-old son, an age some parents I know liken more to a squid or a shrimp, rather than to a human. Then again, I’m his dad, so who better to guess, right?

When Declan is upset, he goes from zero to sixty in Lamborghini time, scrunching his face ’til it turns red and crinkly, bellowing a piercing siren song worthy of The Odyssey, and eventually breaking down into a shivering Billy goat whimper if his needs aren’t met precisely. On the flip side, he has a short memory. When he’s content, he’s curious…raising his “fight the power” fist…thrusting his legs up and down, doing bicycle kicks and mosh pit-style stomps, and staring–just staring wide-eyed–at the lights or the wall or the faces or whatever it is his undeveloped eyes stumble on…sometimes coo-ing, sometimes silent. What does this say about him? About his essence? About what he’ll be like in two months, two years, two decades? Insert shoulder shrug and “meh” sound. I wish I knew. And then again, I’m glad I don’t. Because one of the coolest parts of parenthood is being surprised. By this thing you created together, the whole unlikely process of it. By your own patience and strength, and yes, frustration and incompetence. But mostly, by a little boy who is as close to a blank slate as they come, an etch-a-sketch of sorts, regenerating every minute. Sometimes you get to adulthood and you feel like you’ve seen it all. And then this happens. And you realize you haven’t. Not even close.

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