1-2-3-4 at 5-4-3-2-1.

Before Shane was born, I eagerly wondered on which date he would be born. I looked up celebrities who were born on different days in January, wondering if his personality would resemble theirs. Since he arrived eight days late (like his brother), I had lots of dates to research.

It was my cousin who mentioned January 23 as an interesting birthdate.

“It’s 2004,” she said. “He could be born on 1-2-3-4!” And indeed he was born on January 23: 1-23-04.

Coincidentally (or not), Shane developed a fascination for numbers. When he was a toddler, his favorite books were Five on the Bed and Ten Little Ladybugs. As a preschooler, he regularly devoured Bicycle Race, a book whose refrain, “It’s number nine! Number nine! Number nine is winning!” haunts me to this day. We read that book several times a day for at least a year.

As years passed and he chose his own books, he would pick up a book and see how many pages it had, then decide. He didn’t read the back of the book or inside flap for a description. If he liked the number on the last page (and for awhile, it had to be less than 100), he would read the book.

Once, when Dylan was struggling to concentrate on a math problem during homework, I told Dylan he should read the problem aloud.

Dylan read, “If Jim has nine apples and Karen eats six of them, how many apples does Jim have left?”

Shane announced “THREE” from across the room. We didn’t even know he was there. He was three years old.

He got older and discovered statistics – Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Believe it or Not. With a passion for roller coasters and water slides, he started studying the heights of the various rides in the world, including which ones had the longest drops. Then, of course, he asked to travel to the rides and ride them, even those in Thailand and Sweden.

Pokemon cards are saturated with numbers: hit points, attack points, rules that allow you to multiply one number by another number. Pokemon cards were an obsession in this house for many years.

Shane claims not to like math. His teachers have been quite boring, except for his fifth grade teacher who was not only a gifted thinker, but a brilliant teacher. I told that fifth grade teacher about Shane’s obsession with numbers.

“I was like that as a child,” his brilliant teacher told me, which was an incredible compliment.

About two years ago, we were reading a framed certificate on Shane’s wall called “On the Day You Were Born.” It’s been hanging in his room since he came home from the hospital.

It declares that Shane was born at 5:43 p.m. He was born at 5-4-3.

Dylan said, “And it was probably 21 seconds after 5:43! So it would be 5:43:21!”

We have determined, then, that Shane was born on 1-23-4 at 5-4-3-2-1.

Tomorrow he leaves his first multiple of 11 behind and celebrates his 12th birthday.

Happy 1-23-4-5-43-21, Shane.

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