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Happy 3rd birthday, Tiny Man

For those of you who have blood sugar concerns, you may want to quit reading now; this is my annual birthday card to my grandson Madden and it’ll have a sweetness factor equal to the popsicles that we love to share.

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Dear Madden (aka The Crouton and Tiny Man),

Three years ago tomorrow you gave us one of the most precious gifts in our lives — your entry into the world on Oct. 5.

From the git-go you’ve been a happy little boy, no doubt a genetic gift from your mother and father.

In fact, I may be prejudiced (OK, no “may be” about it) but your Nana and I have been treated to one of life’s most enchanting elixirs: the sound of your unbridled laughter and impossibly wide grins.

And one of the most endearing qualities of that mirth is that you actively seek out ways to share your humor. There’s no question that you’re an extrovert (“Hey, Papa, check this out,” has been a favorite refrain of late as you use my Jeep’s roll bar as a jungle gym.), but your comedic timing is sublime. It’s almost as though you’re dancing through life on one continuous drum roll and rim shot. Bada-boom.

Another wonderful characteristic is your confidence and self-reliance. You probably won’t remember one particular episode, so I’ll relate it.

We used to love to play golf on our driveway. We used plastic, big-headed clubs and a plastic golf ball the size of a grapefruit. We’d back the Jeep and white car down the driveway to give us room to really smack that dimpled pill around.

Well, as it turned out, the white car gave up the ghost on its fuel pump and wouldn’t run, so it sat, and sat, and sat some more until you’d finally had enough. When I explained it wouldn’t run, you quickly ran a diagnostic visual test and determined that the spider webs in the wheel wells were the cause of the problem.

And then you did something I’ll never forget. Standing up from your crouch, you pointed your left index finger into the air and said with total authority: “We need tools!”

So we marched into the garage where you selected a mallet and a screwdriver from the toolbox, and thus you were equipped to handle those nasty car-crippling spiders — one of which turned out to be a black widow, which was hastily dispatched.

There’s one last thing I want you to know about yourself: You’re a natural-born leader. When we go to a park or playground, it takes you about three minutes to size up the other kids before you’re organizing and leading in some kind of activity and play. You have astounding poise for someone who’s turning 3 tomorrow.

Know that your mom, dad, Nana and I love you more than anything else in the world and that if your threes are as exceptional as your twos, you’ll bring joy, love and humor to everyone you meet in the coming year.

I love you,