My sweet Ethan, you are two years old now. You are well aware this makes you a big boy -- you remind me this every chance you get -- but as you also know, you'll always be mommy's baby. At two, you are equal parts strong willed and subdued. You are the child who hides behind my legs, who buries your face into my knees if a new face approaches you, who covers your eyes with the secret hope this stranger will just disappear. You are the child, much like I was according to stories that relatives like to tell, who refuses to answer when spoken to unless you've warmed up around those doing the talking. We hear a lot of "doesn't he talk yet?" or "can he say anything yet?" and his makes us laugh, your daddy and I, because you don't shut up. You amaze me with the conversations that we have, the observations you make, the way you wake up babbling and go to sleep babbling and ensure that "quiet time" is a foreign concept in our little home. For others, you require a good fifteen minute warm-up time before you'll consider using the vocabulary that takes me by surprise each and everyday, and that's okay.
You are two now and I cannot believe the adventures we've squeezed into these two years, and the adventures we'll continue to have together. You still eat everything in sight, you still ask for seconds of broccoli or spinach, you still are not one to turn down a snack. I constantly find myself making the same tired joke about how nice it would be if you slept as well as you eat. Speaking of sleeping, this week you've started creeping out of your bed at night and spying on us from the hallway. You are certain we cannot hear your door creak open or the sound of teeny feet slowly walking across the tile. There are times where I'm frustrated -- it's late, you haven't napped, we have an early morning tomorrow -- but mostly it makes me laugh to watch you hide when I lift my head, sure that your presence isn't detected. I've learned that announcing out loud, for no reason, that since you're sleeping so well in your big boy bed, I think I'll treat you to an ice-cream cone the next day works like magic and the next sound I hear is that door closing again, little feet scurrying into bed. (At two, you're still convinced frozen pureed bananas are ice-cream and I love that this is my little secret while you gobble down spoonfuls with a mischievous smirk that you've tricked us into ice-cream yet again.)
I try to remember a time when my world didn't revolve around you and can't. I try to remember a time when I went to bed with an empty mind void of tot school curriculum or recipes for the week or making sure your swim trunks are put into the washing machine -- and I can't. Somehow, maybe, a little bit, you were always the prize I was seeking.
You are two now and you remind me of this through tantrums and a temper that strikes out of nowhere, but also through your wit and your surprising wisdom and smile. At two, we share a handful of inside jokes that you whisper to me when I'm holding you in a crowded Starbucks line, when you're lollygagging before bedtime. At two, you love music -- listening to it, playing it -- and in these moments where you're submerged in a New Found Glory live performance that daddy has recorded on the DVR, I see so much of your daddy in you. At two, you are sweet and shy and yet loud and boisterous; you push your limits, you state your opinions and refuse to budge. At two, you ask for "George PJ's" because every monkey is Curious George, and show me how to squeeze the right amount of toothpaste onto your toothbrush. At two, you are this magnificent little boy, right before my eyes, equal parts rock star and introvert, artist and performer. "Mommy proud Ethan," you said as I buckled you into the car a few days ago at your swim session graduation, repeating the words I'd whispered to you as you received your certificate. How right you are, how proud I am of you, how proud your daddy is of you. At just two years old, you encompass all of the beauty I can imagine the world ever possessing; the sweetness, the softness, the love; you are the reason a quick trip to the grocery store for milk now takes an hour, but you have the kind of pure heart that I find myself taking lessons from constantly throughout the day.