My little sister Jenni was pregnant. For the baby shower, we were all told to bring a favorite children’s book and write a personalized inscription on the inside cover.
I thought it might be fun to write a snappy little limerick. Something fun and different. So I got to work.
As it turns out, I am not good at limericks.
I struggled. I flailed around. I started multiple limericks, scratched them out, tried again. I worked for days, trying to come up with one single halfway decent limerick, and only succeeded in filling up sheets of paper with garbage.
Limericks seem so short, so simple! Who knew they were actually so hard?
I came up with a few, like
Your birth made your parents so glad, A new role that they never had had! While successes are many For Steven and Jenni – You make ‘em a Mom and a Dad!
Your parents are awesome, it’s true! They excel at whatever they do! But their finest creation And source of elation Is the perfectly wonderful you!
Yeah, yeah, I know.
Finally, I gave up. I decided that a limerick wouldn’t work well anyway, with the book I was giving them, Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! It would be weird to go from one rhyming cadence to another, right? A limerick at the start of the book would be jarring. That’s what I told myself.
So screw the limerick stuff! I decided to write a few poetic lines in my own style, thank you very much.
Unchecked by limerick restrictions, the floodgates opened and the following “inscription” poured out in a matter of hours. It turned out to be, ahem, a little more than “a few poetic lines,” but that seems appropriate, too.
Give me an inch, and I’ll write a mile.
To Jenni and Steven’s beautiful new baby, whoever you are:
I can’t wait to get to know you.
Getting to Know You
We waited and waited for you to appear!
And now we have questions, since now you are here!
So – are you a girl? Or are you a boy?
What games do you like? What’s your most-favorite toy?
What sports do you like? Which is best: cats or dogs?
Do you draw? Do you paint? Do you like kissing frogs?
Can you dance on your toes? Can you ride on a bike?
What kinds of things scare you? What things do you like?
We don’t mean to pester, we just have to know –
How high can you sing? How low can you go?
Would you rather eat broccoli, or carrots, or peas?
Do fishes make noise? Do you think they can sneeze?
Can you stand on your hands? Can you stand on your head?
What’s the craziest thing that you’d eat with your bread?
Who’s your bestest of friends? What big-word do you know?
Is it funner to play in the sand or the snow?
Do you like to get muddy? Is it fun watching bugs?
Do you laugh when you’re tickled? Do you like getting hugs?
Do you know the best thing about us that is true?
Our most-favorite thing in the world is you!