Dear Lord, my kid is two. How the hell did that happen?
There’s the obvious answer, which I think whenever someone says, “He’s so big!” – “Well, yes, they do tend to grow.”
But as someone who has been there every day, the movement of time and his growth is different to me. I talked about this in my post on his six month birthday and I think it still holds true: kids break the space-time continuum. There’s such a mix of how we as parents process change. Some days, Chris and I gape at his expanding vocabulary or some other new feat. Other days just seem like a repeat of the one before, a well-worn routine. Some days I wish I had infinitely more hours with him and some need to have ended before naptime. Some of those are actually the same day. All of them are exhausting, whether in exhilaration, frustration, or some combination of the two.
And yet, they are each just days. Each moment is longer to him than an adult, so it’s longer to me too. I used to think more in months and years, but those timespans now seem too long to contemplate. I have to plan further ahead now – no impromptu Saturday treks into the city – but each moment is more drawn out, more intensely felt. In my late 20s, a year used to feel like not so long after all; now it again feels like an eternity, as it did when I was a child.
Looking back just a year ago, Sprout’s changed so much. While he couldn’t even walk then, now he’s running, climbing playground equipment, and jumping on the bed. (So much jumping.) On the morning of his birthday, he was even tooling around on his present, a classic blue Schwinn balance bike. His reaction to his first birthday cake was ambivalent, as he made a mess without much of it actually ending up in his mouth. But when he saw the cupcakes we bought him for his second birthday, he started yelling, “cupcake, cupcake!” He’s maintained his ability to quietly observe, but often not-so-quietly observes, pointing and labeling everything that excites him, especially basketballs and buses. He requests songs and tries to sing, even when he knows fewer than half of the words. He knows the names of his favorite books and animals, cherishing them both. He’s willing to try new foods, but also spits them out without regret, handing them over to me with a definitive “no.” Whereas I couldn’t tell when he was little if he was enjoying something, now his smile is so big it consumes me. Even when he’s focused too hard to smile, his eyes dance.
I’ve enjoyed this past year so deeply. Although some people love caring for a newborn, my favorite thing in parenting has been watching Sprout’s personality blossom. While it started emerging in his first year, it truly became so much more vibrant this past one. I also love that when I share my favorite things with him, he’s starting to appreciate them. Even when they don’t work out perfectly, that time spent together is beautiful.
Happy second birthday, to my sweet, lovable, brilliant son. May we have an even more incredible year together to come.