Two years ago today, eight days past my due date and after 41 hours of labor, the world’s most perfect human being was placed on my chest, this squishy, breathtakingly beautiful old soul. He didn’t cry, he just looked right up at me and I sobbed, “I love you. I love you!! I love you so much.” He was so alert, so present and aware, never the sleepy newborn who can’t really focus on your face. I remember how he quietly observed everything happening around him, how at ease he was taking it all in. He’s still that same curious and gentle little man, as loving and affectionate as can be, with the kindest heart and the warmest smile you’ve ever seen. He’s a big talker and a laugher who’ll tell you he loves you at just the right moment and kiss you exactly when you need it. Yes he’s mine but I’ll say it anyway: he’s heaven on earth.
Today, he’s running everywhere, climbing everything, just [terrifyingly] fearless. He’s really in his element when he’s outside. We go on walks, run through the sprinkler, play in the sandbox, throw acorns down the sewer, play basketball and soccer…and at the end of every day, his hair will be soaked and matted with sweat. There’ll be dirt under his fingernails. He might be scraped and bruised, but he’s always so happy. Always, always just relentlessly and unfailingly happy. His joy just radiates.
Friend To Every Creature
He hasn’t met a creature he doesn’t immediately want to befriend—makes no difference what it is or how frightening his mom finds it. In fact, it’s at least once a day that I find him crouched over an ant or a massive spider waving, “Hi bug! What are you doing?” He will inevitably try to kiss it and hug it (no matter if it’s a tarantula or a toad), but I tell him that we don’t touch the bugs and animals we see; we can say hello but we must let them be; and he’s pretty good about respecting that. He has so much fun just observing them and looking for them. We look for the bunnies and groundhog that live in our backyard and he hollers, “Come out bunny! I miss you!” When we’re outside he’ll stop and cup his hand behind his ear. “Listen! Hear that?” he says, noticing birds tweeting, dogs barking, or airplanes overhead.
Talking Up a Storm
Last year at this time, he was saying a hundred or so words, and we thought that was a crazy amount. But this year I don’t think we could even begin to count. Sure, we’ve been reading to him since he was a baby, counting with him, all that stuff…but it’s kind of shocking to hear all the things he’s absorbed. Somehow he can count to 20, knows the ABCs…the guy is speaking in full sentences, and it’s hilarious and adorable to hear. Every day he just blurts out something new and Daniel and I look at each other like, “How the hell does he know that?”
Things He Loves
Mickey Mouse! Boy oh boy does he love Mickey (and Goofy and Donald and Daisy and Minnie and Pluto)
Watching Cocomelon on Youtube. It’s all nursery rhymes and I’ve got to just admit it—Daniel and I hate it. After a few minutes of songs we start to feel like maybe we’re going crazy. But James loves it so we don’t rain on his parade. Plus, now he sings all these little songs throughout the day and it’s precious.
Reading Let’s Take a Drive! by Mo Willems
He loves to play a game we call ‘Where’s kitty?’ where he meows and then we all look around asking one another, “Where’s kitty?” and start a search that involves a hundred guesses like, “Is he…under the bed? Is he…behind the chair? Is heee…” and so on.
We play a version of I Spy (we say “I see…”) and list everything we can see around us, which is an especially wonderful activity when we want to help James feel grounded and more present (and help him work his way out of a tantrum).
How We Spent His 2nd Birthday
We didn’t have a party with friends and family because of COVID (it was just the three of us, plus my parents came over for cake), but I still wanted to make his day fun and special so I got this “Oh Twodles” Mickey Mouse 2nd Birthday theme set on Amazon for $20 and it. was. a. HIT. James loved it and played with those mylar balloons all day long. We got him a hotdog and fries from Five Guys for lunch (his favorite meal) and then sang and ate birthday cake after dinner. The whole day was simple and sweet—perfect.
On one hand, I can’t believe these last two years have flown by. And on the other, I feel like I’ve known him for my whole life. Maybe that’s just what love does, warps time, makes you feel like it’s always been a part of you. What a gift.
Happy birthday my sweet, sweet baby James. Your dad and I love you more than everything.