To My Baby, On Your Second Birthday
Updated: Jan 5, 2021
When you blew out the candles on your first birthday cake last year, we had no idea what your second year would hold. It’s been quite a year, a year of the unprecedented and unexpected, a year of history in the making. You won’t remember any of this, down the road. You’ll just know it from the stories we’ll tell, about that crazy year, 2020, the one where everything stopped and we stayed home for months on end.
But even though you won’t remember this year, there are so many moments I want to freeze in my memory, so many little details of you, just on the verge of being two, that I don’t want to lose as the years pass by. Photos capture your golden curls and big smile, a few favorite moments frozen in time, but there is so much more that I want to remember.
I want to remember the way you politely say “thank,” always leaving off the “you.” The way you stick your tongue out to the side when you are concentrating. The delight on your face when you are given a responsibility: feed the dog, help unload the dishwasher, find your shoes.
You have a newfound obsession with “mouse” (Mickey, that is) and carry a duplo version of him (or Minnie, whoever you can find) around the house, clutching it in your little hand as you go about your day. Being included in your big brothers games brings you an infinite amount of joy, and any time you get the ball (football, soccer ball, basketball—it doesn’t matter), you hold it tight and run as fast as your little legs will take you, shouting over and over, “Hike, hike!”
Brushing your teeth is also a favorite pastime of yours, and you eagerly grab your toothbrush and toothpaste any chance you get. Whenever a book catches your eye, you bring it to me, firmly planting yourself in my lap and telling me, “Ook. Ook,” with full confidence that I will stop whatever I am doing and read to you (and usually, you are right). You are rather possessive over my lap, not hesitating to push your brothers out of the way or squeeze in between them and me if you feel that they are taking your spot. If you sense there is a chance to go somewhere (rare, these days) you run to find your shoes and have your hand on the doorknob, waiting, impatient, as the rest of us find our things
You love to take things apart and are fascinated by LEGOs. When anyone starts counting for any reason, you eagerly join in, the smile on your face growing wider with each number reached. Your enthusiasm when we went to see Christmas lights was contagious. “Wow, wow, wow,” you repeated, expressing your amazement in the way only a toddler can. You have carefully observed how your brothers do things, and now don’t hesitate to copy their mannerisms and climb on anything you can. You are frequently found walking around the house sporting a batting or bicycle helmet. You love to help, jumping in to grab the broom while I sweep, finding a stool if you see me cooking, happy to pick up toys off the floor (though you often turn around and dump them right back out). You’ve gotten quite an education this year, making yourself a part of virtual classes whenever you have the opportunity.
When your dad or I ask for a kiss, you present your cheek to us, as if to say, “No, that’s all right, but you can give me one.” On some occasions, you do plant a kiss on our cheeks, and they are all the more precious because of your discernment with when to give them out. The way you say, “Love ooo,” just makes my heart melt into a puddle and on occasion, you tack your own name onto the end, making me giggle and think of the scene from Friends where Phoebe doesn’t realize Pheebs is her nickname.
I have less photos of you in cute outfits or at fun activities than I do of your brothers at this age. A global pandemic hasn’t lent itself to all the little outings and activities we would do in a normal year: the pumpkin patch, photos with Santa, splashing in the pool, exploring museums and parks and library story times. Almost all of the pictures of you this year may have been taken at home, but my camera roll is full of you. You have thrived this year, thrilled to have your brothers as constant playmates, growing by leaps and bounds. When we first started staying home, you weren’t walking yet, and now—you are running, climbing stairs, fascinated by exploring the small world of our house and growing into your personality more and more every day.
I can’t believe you are already two; I also can hardly remember life before you.