signs ethan is almost two.

I may or may not be in denial that Ethan will be two years old in two very, very short months. His constant developments have not been overlooked or gone unnoticed, but it's just that lately, well, he seems so big. There are so many signs serving as brutal reminders that my baby isn't exactly a baby anymore.

Like the fact he's just one of the neighborhood kids now.

The other night, we were coming home from my mom's house when the neighborhood children invited Ethan to play. He's often admired them playing in the neighboring yards, riding their bikes on the sidewalk, but now they wanted him to play, too. To my surprise, he played with them -- a rigorous soccer-like game with ever-changing rules. "Kick the ball, Ethan," the children would shout -- and he'd kick the ball. By the time we made it into the house for a bath and bedtime (forty-five minutes later), he had the hiccups from laughing so hard.

Can we also talk about his sentences? The boy is all about descriptive words and context. "Red tomato, Ethan eat," as he chomps down a tomato. When my husband announced he was leaving to get his haircut, Ethan spent the next few minutes rambling about who cuts his hair and how the last time he was getting his haircut, he got a cookie. When the neighbor's dogs were barking, Ethan laughed and said, "woof woof woof noise, doggies." The guessing game of "what does he want?" and "what's he trying to say?" is more or less over. What do you think, I ask, do you want to wear this green shirt today? "No. Ethan blue shirt, George, red hat." He means the blue shirt with Curious George wearing the red hat -- and I know what he means, because he's told me. The frustrating "what does he want?" guessing games feel a little missed now that they're gone.

Then there's the cup of water procrastination at bedtime.

I can't complain, because for the first time in his life, I am in love with Ethan's sleeping habits. But every now and then, we have the before bedtime procrastination thing that always involves him asking for a drink of water. Last night was one of those nights, where he sat up in bed and gave a pitiful plea for "wa-wa?" I brought him in a bottled water with a sip top. He winced. "Cup. Wawa. Straw." I retreated back to the kitchen, filled a cup with water and stuck in a straw. He drank a few sips of water, declared "no more" and by the time I exited his room, he was pleading for more water. On my third trip into his room with the cup of water -- now almost depleted -- he switched up his request: "snack?" You just ate dinner. "Wawa?"

The days are passing all too quickly and I'm more or less sticking my heels in the mud and refusing to budge on my disbelief that there's no way, no how, my baby is almost two. But there is a stack of party invitations on the kitchen table waiting for stamps that think otherwise and a silly little boy fast asleep in his big boy bed, tuckered out from two back-to-back birthday parties today.

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