Today is your birthday. You are now 2. I think sometimes your dad and I forget that you are ONLY 2 because everyone who meets you just assumes you are older. “How old is he, 2-and-a-half? 3?” I think someone even asked if you were 4, and that is just crazy. But, sometimes I look at you, with your full head of (gorgeous) hair, in your decidedly non-baby attire, and thinning physique, and I think: where did THIS KID come from?
Outside of your maturing physical appearance — though, when you’re just in a diaper, it’s then that you still look like a baby — your exploding vocabulary blows my mind. We’re still working on complete sentences, but you already know so many words. One of your favorite things to do is to point at random objects around the house and rapid-fire quiz us! “What’s dat?” “Lamp.” “What’s dat?” “Stove.” “What’s dat?” “Door frame.” And we quiz you, too. Your dad purported that there might not be one object in our house for which you don’t know the corresponding word.
A few weeks ago, when your Beppe was visiting, she and I took you out for a day of shopping. Afterward, we stopped for lunch, and outside of the burger joint was a fountain. It was pretty cold that afternoon, but we let you investigate it anyway which led to you putting your hands in the (very cold) water and your pants getting wet. Apparently, this fountain made quite an impression on you because when your dad came from work, you excitedly tried to tell him about it.
“Water! Cold! Hands! Cold! Water! Haaaands! Coooold!”
All the while, you kept gesturing with your hands, cupping them as if filled with water, to demonstrate to Dad just how awesome this particular fountain was, and I could just see you getting a little frustrated that you couldn’t quite say all the words in order to form the sentences required to tell the whole story. Truly, it was one of the funniest (and cutest) things I’ve ever witnessed. I wish I’d been recording the conversation.
Speaking of, last year for your first birthday, I labored for days on a photo montage video of your first year. This year, I did not. In fact, I snapped far fewer photos of you this year, too. I can’t help but feel guilty about this, as if I’m somehow failing as a mom(my blogger), but in my defense, you were much more … active this year than the last. Forget about posing you for a pic. My little point-and-shoot camera does not have a setting for “toddler.” (Though, you’ve learned the fine art of smiling when someone says, “Cheeeese.”) And, you now demand of me 99% of my attention. I can’t exactly “phone it in” with you, try as I might sometimes. (I’m sorry about that.) You want your dad and me down on the floor with you, playing trains or your most recent favorite game, which we simply call “Tent.”
Ah, Tent. Tent is just us under a blanket or a bed sheet, and in the tent, we experience firsthand your wonderful, blossoming imagination. In the tent, there is a neverending supply of ‘nanas, cheese, apples, burgers, fries, juice, yogurt — all of which you “hand” to us to eat. When we’re done eating, you make us wash and dry our hands, too. Want to know the best part about Tent? Calories don’t count in Tent! (Spoiler alert: You’re getting an actual play tent, play stove and play food for your birthday and Christmas!)
I have to say, it’s hard not to buy you the whole world for your birthday. (Honestly, your grandparents are doing a great job spoiling you anyway.) At 2, though, you really do not understand the concept of gifts yet, so I’ve refrained from ordering you the stars and moon. But, let’s talk for a second about the greatest gift you have given US this last year.
At some point — and I can’t really remember when exactly (March, April?) — you started sleeping through the night. Gloriously long stretches of uninterrupted slumber for you, me, and your dad. And, not only do you sleep well, you now go to bed with nary a complaint. Gone are the endless hours of rocking you into submission. Er, I mean, to sleep. I know I’m tempting fate by announcing this to the world, but you truly have no idea how much your dad and I appreciate the precious gift of sleep. I think I can say it’s made me a much better mom this year. (Dad, wouldn’t you agree?) You’re certainly benefiting from it, too! I love that when we get you from your crib after a night’s sleep, you say, “Nap.” As if you’ve just taken the world’s longest nap. It’s called sleeping, son, you’re now a champ at it. If that doesn’t deserve a round of applause or a champagne toast, I don’t know what does.
(I am now looking for a forest to knock on.)
Tomorrow we are having some friends over for a simple birthday celebration, and even though you probably won’t remember the occasion, it’s important that you feel special on your birthday, even if it’s only your second ever. Some day, birthdays will just feel like any other day, as they do for me now, so while you’re still fresh and young and not yet jaded, let’s celebrate! Because after all, you’re 2, and you’re terrific!
I love you more than I will ever be able to properly convey.
*All photos by Stephanie Jones-Gunn.