Nope. No way. You are not six. I don’t believe it. You fudged the numbers with your new kindergarten math skills. Just admit it now, evil genius, and spare everyone my ugly cry.

You totally adjusted the pencil marks on the wall too, didn’t you? ‘Cause you can’t be four feet tall. Although the Longer Pants Fund does support your claim. As payback, when you’re six feet tall with sideburns, I’m still going to cuddle the shit out of you. You owe me.

Your face looks a little different to me every morning. Less round, more chiseled. Less baby, more boy. I count 28 freckles on your nose and cheeks. But you’ve probably counted more. Figures.

You’re a big brother now! I’ll never forget the epic smile on your face when they put Rae in your arms at the hospital. And it wasn’t because you were up past your bedtime. “Brother is here,” you say when she’s crying. I guess you’re cool with her name now. You wanted so badly to name her Diana (because Wonder Woman) or Barbara (because Batgirl).

You were a good fella when I was pregnant. You’d shovel the snow off the deck when you got home from school. And at bedtime, you’d place your hand on my belly and we’d laugh at Rae’s roundhouse kicks. “Cool,” you’d say. Then, “You can go now, Mom. You’re taking up all the room in my bed.”

You are articulate and polite, with no bad words in your vocabulary. None that you use anyway. Yesterday you started laughing in the car because you were “thinking of a word that rhymed with duck.”

You coordinate your outfits to look like your favourite superheroes. You insisted on wearing your shiny black “Batman pants” when they were an inch too short. Last week, they up and vanished into the night. Weird.

It’s been a hard year on the health front. Lots of doctor appointments and unpleasant procedures. I realized how brave you are, and how fiercely I love you. And I was so proud when the pediatrician asked you your favourite food and you said, “Kraft Dinner.”

You caught a big trout in the spring. You love to swim. And you’re a scoring machine at hockey. One day you netted 23 goals, according to your highly questionable tally. Dad has successfully molded you into a Habs fan. The morning after a game, you can’t wait to ask him who won and “what was it to?” I suppose you’d manipulate those scores too if you could.

Your favourite pastime is video games. But frankly, I’m a little tired of hearing about “Angry Birds Epic” and fighting about “screen time,” so now that you’re six (supposedly!) how about you pick up bonsai or soap carving or collecting belly button lint.

Your teachers say you’re very mature. Perhaps you could employ this attribute when you discover a new vegetable on your dinner plate, or when I kick your butt at Chutes and Ladders. And maybe you can stop asking “What’s for dessert?” after every meal, even breakfast. Once and for all, the answer is: banana.
You want to be a Master Builder when you grow up. I’m looking forward to my new house.

You lost your first tooth in February. You went to school with an apple and came home with an incisor in a baggie and a note from the teacher.

I’ve watched your artwork go from colourless stick men to detailed rainbow people. You bring home a new family portrait almost every day. I hang them all over the house, even though I look like Predator. Rae looks like an upside-down beetle. In last week’s portrait, you had drawn her on top of the dog’s head.

I love making you laugh at bedtime, when your body is floppy with giggles and your eyes sparkle in the glow of your Star Wars lamp. You can fudge the numbers as much as you want, mister – get older, taller, bigger, frecklier – I plan on making you giggle and sparkle to infinity. Deal with it.

You are always asking questions. How many days till the weekend? How many minutes is an hour? You’re trying to understand this whole Time thing. So am I. And listen, birthday boy sneaky pants number fudger – if you figure out a way to slow it down, let me know.