One of my colleagues who is basically wrong about everything political and social was right last year when he told me just how enormous a difference there is between a child at his first birthday and his second.
The Monkling turned two yesterday. He speaks in phrases and has an extensive vocabulary, not just a random word or sound (when he was 18 months, we laughed at one of the baby books that said he should have about 4-7 words he routinely sasy -- he had more than 30); he walks, instead of just stumbling around and bear-crawling; he no longer falls asleep on dada's head as we walk around the local greenbelt; he has a full little baby mop of hair . . . and he had that a year ago too. Some things don't change too quickly: mama is the greatest thing ever, Nana and Pawpaw are silly people who grab at his toes, dada is the big voiced man who sings silly songs to him and wins all the one-sided tickle-fights, he likes to pretend to be a zombie or a ghost because he knows when he attacks mama or dada he'll get hugged and kissed and tickled. And his hair is out of control.
But now, he likes specific things like Elmo, Thomas (trains, especially Toby), biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig trucks, pine cones that splash when thrown in the pond, testing what floats and what sinks, buses, Pei Wei, Propel water, raspberries, edamame, noodles, rice, almonds, bacon, peas, spicy food, sidewalk chalk, rocks, itsy-bitsy spiders crawling up water spouts, picking acorns, dada singing him to sleep, walking around the nearby greenbelt, the sticks in his aunt's backyard, rubbing his head against the cats' torsos, Boowa/Kwala, watching the garbage pickups each week, zrbrts (Cosby show reference) on his tummy, reading book after book after book with mama during the day, or dada at night.
And he has his momma's eyes.
That's the Monkling in a moment on his second birthday. What he did yesterday was play with his new train set, take two walks with dada, eat turkey and cornbread at Boston Market, have a big nap, drink his weight in Propel and chase the kitties.
The day before, when we held his party after his pregnant mama worked for hours decorating the house, he received the big train set (Imaginarium set with round house -- a good deal: tons of trains, accessories, double track layout, all for 1/2 the price of a Thomas set, and compatible with the Thomas accessories), opened his presents (lotta Thomas's friends and trucks, a backyard slide, more sidewalk chalk), ate his cake (but cried when we were about to cut the Thomas design in the frosting), had his favorite food for lunch (Pei Wei teriyaki chicken, rice, edamame) and fell asleep with dada as dada nodded off in mid-song.
That's my son.