Happy 2nd birthday, O! Here he is as a fetus, clearly waving at the camera. This picture totally sums up his personality. From the very beginning he’s been more friendly and full of love than anyone I’ve ever known. The past two years felt like some sort of extreme parenting bonus round, with him throwing us new challenges almost daily. Lately his favorite toy is a tape measure, and he absolutely must have it every night as I rock him to sleep like a 30 lb newborn. Over the course of the next hour as he dozes off, he always finds a way to tangle himself up in it. When I finally lay him down in the crib I not only have to do so without him waking up, but I also need to bust out the Mommy MacGyver Moves (TM) and untangle his arms and legs. It’s straight out of one of those Chinese game shows you see on YouTube. He’s a little bit nuts in the same way that I’m a little bit nuts, and being with him has taught me more about myself than any amount of soul searching ever could. He talks to his big sister nonstop. Once he accidentally said something that sounded like “mommy muffin” and now that’s what they both call me. It melts my heart. There has never been a kid so specifically focused on the information he is trying to learn, or the task he is trying to accomplish. Instead of asking simply “why?” he says passionately, “WHY mommy, WHY?” When I start singing to him each night before bed, he stops and asks me to kiss his elbow. His favorite word is “schmutz.” If there is any schmutz in the stroller, he politely asks me to brush it out before he sits down. His face is constantly covered in a sticky film ranging anywhere from peanut butter to misapplied sunscreen, and his fingernails are constantly dirty. Walt Whitman would say he contains multitudes. He sometimes goes to the fridge and takes out a jar of spicy pickled string beans, then gets upset if you won’t eat one with him. He does not care if it’s 6 am. He came into our lives seemingly without warning, hungry and a little angry and wanting to be big. And now he is. He smiles and loves bigger than anyone, and when he gives you a hug you feel like it’s the first hug you’ve ever had. His hugs are different.