This is for the two-year-olds who cannot be understood because they speak half-English and half-god. – Anis Mojgani
So you’re two now.
(Two years and one month actually, but as you will learn, your mother is frequently behind on her to-do list. It runs in the family, sorry.)
You’re two. You can run and jump and throw balls clear across the apartment. You can kick a soccer ball so hard and fast and far across the little gym that your teacher wonders if it’s possible to put you in a soccer class with eight year olds. Other parents and nannies ask me, “is he always like this?” Your grandfather asks if you sleep.
You are a three foot tall bundle of sheer energy.
Your father gave you a basketball hoop for your birthday – we moved it to the top of our bedroom door today and you can make that hoop. You shout, “AWESOME SHOT!” and I’m almost in tears I’m laughing so hard. You can’t not laugh along with a two year old who is his own best cheering squad. I mean really.
That explosion of language everyone said was coming at two has indeed come. You tell us stories now and sometimes we even understand them. Sports talk might be your favorite. Fire trucks and bulldozers coming in at a close second and third. Ezra Jack Keats blew your mind today with The Snowy Day. You counted to 14 this morning, skipping 13, but who likes 13 anyway?
When I thought I’d write about your second birthday, I thought I’d write about how I’m sorry I’m not in the pictures again. From your first birthday there exists not one single picture of us together. I tried this year, I really did – you closed your eyes for one and my face is half hidden in the other. It’s okay. We’ve been doing other things – we’ve been busy growing.
I stumbled on Anis Mojgani’s Shake the Dust and well isn’t that line just you? Isn’t it every two year old that ever was? “Can strangers understand him?” the pediatrician asked at your two year check up. I don’t know, can they? They understand you shouting no, and the waitress at Kinsale cracks up at you repeatedly asking for French fries “fweesh fies?” so I answer yes. But at two, the person who understands you best is me.
For this all too brief moment in time you and I spend hours and hours together and I understand you like no one else does. It’s maddening and wonderful all at the same time. This is only for now. Your language is exploding and your mind is opening up to the world out there. I see you growing and it is so damn exciting.
I read Anis Mojgani today and then went online and listened to him and oh do I want you to grow and feel these things too. We sit here at two years old, you and me, and there’s a world here at home that only makes sense to you (Why do the firemen in your dollhouse only flush the toilet with their feet? I fear only you know and so far you aren’t sharing). Outside this apartment there’s a world that you’re on the cusp of starting to explore. I’m so excited for you.
So maybe there isn’t a great picture of us to mark this second year, I’ll probably forget to get one at three too. Hopefully though, as you grow through childhood you’ll remember me baking cakes for birthdays, reading books every day and singing silly songs. You’ll get to see your father playing drums and me up on stage. I’ll read a new poem and rush to share it with you because it made me think of you. Your dad will write a song about how you don’t sleep and we’ll listen, and you’ll tap the beat on your coffee can drums. We’ll all learn how to take steps outside this comfort zone – this little world of home. You’ll learn how to read poems for yourself, pick out tunes on the piano, and the rules of soccer and basketball, and how to BE. How to grow. This growing is important business, Jack. Never stop growing.
So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob tightly and open on up, run forward into its wide spread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.