The Last Second Birthday

Last night, I put my youngest to bed and it was the last time I’ll ever have a one year-old. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t break my heart more than a little.

We all know and marvel at how time can simultaneously drag and fly when it comes to our kids. There have been oh so many sleepless nights with this baby (yes, I’ll probably call him my baby forever). To be clear, not the standard amount of baby/toddler no sleep. So little sleep. There were many nights when I thought I was the only one awake in a twenty-mile radius at some ridiculous hour, yet again, with the ocean waves of the sound machine keeping me company and the smell of his baby head resting on my shoulder as he fought off sleep. Every hour like that seemed to last for days over the course of about 18 months.

And now, he is two. In the blink of a sleepless eye.

He is a giant, this boy, and the sheer force of his will comes out of every limb as he climbs, bounds, runs, falls and tackles. His movement is non-stop and high impact. He is a giver of aggressive hugs, as if he’s daring you to resist him.

So headstrong, this boy. So very stubborn and insistent.








But for every screaming run through our house and blur of his movement past us, there is an equal number of moments when he stops, or at least pauses – ever so briefly – to request/demand kisses and hugs and to be carried and held. He desperately wants to see what he can do on his own, and yet relies on his perch in the bend of my elbow, propped on my hip, with his arms draped around my neck.






His verbal skills took their time to emerge but have recently come a long way. Even when we can’t understand him, though, he has entire emphatic toddler monologues – perhaps to prove to himself that he has a definite opinion (genetics at work, right there).

As he turns two, he has a few go-to words and phrases that he prefers over all others and really sum up his personality.

  • NOMINE! You know, when yelling “mine” with territorial conviction is not going to get the point across to your two older sibs, this expanded form seems to do the trick. “NOOOOO, MIIIINNNNNNNE!” Now put them together as a singular psychotic word because someone related to you casually gazed in the direction of your trains or cup or shoes or {gasp} the remote control.
  • SNAAAAAAACK. I can say with 100% certainty that my older two kids didn’t know what the hell a snack was at age two – at least not on an on-demand basis. Such is life with older siblings whose entire mission in life is to procure their next food grab. So of course it’s going to rub off. He wants what they want. And they want another god damned snack at 16-18 minute intervals throughout the day.
  • KISSSSS PLEEEEASE. I cannot even begin to express how this melts my often-jaded parental heart. This future linebacker/rugby player/competitive eating circuit champion goes from distinct tornado of domestic destruction to asking for more kisses as he slobbers all over my face. It is the best.
  • GERONNNNIMMO! Score another point for the siblings. They have taught their little brother to charge across the room into any and all furniture while screaming this battle cry (or, to mix it up, “TROUUUUBLLLLE” and “CANNNNNONNBALLLLL”). Once this act got the first laugh and the boy knew he had an audience, it became his signature move.





Take that verbal foundation, throw in a few of his favorite characters and here’s a verbal sampling of his day:

“Mama, snack? Snack? Snack? SNACK!”

{Four minutes of me desperately guessing which unarticulated food he wants under the snack umbrella.}

“Mama, show? Show? Remote? SHOWWWWW? Pup pup (Paw Patrol)? Thomas? Chuggington? Snack? Mama, snack? SHOW?”

{Senses dog walking within three foot radius of Percy.}


{Charges at dog}


“Snack, mama? Snack?”

{Charges at me}


“Kisses, mama? More kisses?”

Lather, rinse and repeat, every five to seven minutes until he achieves REM mode.





You know, lots of people assumed when I got pregnant at 40, already having a boy and a girl, that this must have been an unplanned scenario. Not true. This child was a conscious decision. Someday I’ll write a more detailed post about how I was given very grim odds, early on in my pregnancy, about his  chances of facing significant health issues. I will never, ever forget the days, and then weeks, I had to wait to rule out one terrifying possibility after another.

And, as crazy as it sounds, I thought I was being punished – for pushing my luck, for wanting more than I deserved. Because all kinds of desperate and nonsensical thoughts creep into your head in those situations. And yet, this baby, who was to be welcomed regardless of what those results might have brought, was perfect. Perfect.




I think about that time a lot and how lucky we are. I admit that I’m not great at “enjoy every minute” and remembering not to take things for granted as often as I should. But I do try. Because when I summon the memories of that time, it feels like a world that I only peeked at from outside a distant door but never had to enter.

This child, my last baby, is very physically attached to me. He wants to be carried. He does not want to wean. He needs to know I am in his peripheral vision, at a minimum. The love pours out of him (all 35ish pounds of him). He is all-consuming and a force to be reckoned with. My wish for him is that this intensity of love always remains such a big part of him.

Yes, I will miss having a one year-old in my house. There’s no doubt about it.

But he’ll always be my baby.


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