You are 2. In fact, you are SO two. Daddy and I comment all the time that you are no longer a tiny baby---you are a big boy, a toddler, a kid! Sometimes mommy misses when you were itty bitty and fit just comfortably in my arms. But whenever I get nostalgic, you bring me right back to the current moment by asking me to come in close for a kiss, then "booping" my nose and you laugh your full laugh, head back, front teeth showing, and I think nope, this phase is so special and perfect. I love your laugh so much and in fact, you seem to like your laugh too. You often comment (even sometimes after doing something slightly naughty) that "I'm funny." Yeah, you are, buddy.
One of the things that I love so much about you is how you love and appreciate nature. You take the time to go "snail hunting" (you love observing them after a big rain) and to study a flower. When mommy rushes to the mailbox, you walk slowly, looking at the clouds, the sky, the wreaths, the cracks in the sidewalk. Just as you marvel at the world around you, mommy marvels at YOU. You teach me how to, quite literally, stop and smell the roses.
It's been so fun observing how your interests have developed. You light up when you see the Pixar logo and Paw Patrol is a major favorite around here. You have an affinity for music and ever since you were tiny, you've loved listening to daddy play the guitar at night. You've recently taken to banging silverware on the table and announcing "I'm making muuuzik." You love "mac," fries, applesauce, and milk. You've become such a big guy lately and you learned to drink from a real cup at school! Speaking of school, you delight in telling us all about your school friends and teachers. They adore you. I think the transition to child care was more challenging for me than you. Sometimes after I sign you in, I peek back into your classroom to see you and you're just happy as can be. It's hard to leave my heart (you!) but I rest easy knowing you are making friends and learning new things.
It might seem strange to say to a 2 year old, but Hank, I love your heart. You are kind and caring. You say "sorry" and give hugs. You get sad when others are sad. You pay attention to others and are carefully observant to the world around you. I hope and pray that you never lose your fierce attentiveness to others. You get excited when you see police cars of fire trucks and point out to us that "they're helping." You love to help, too (even if it's sweeping when mommy is trying to sweep) and cleaning up. You are a love bug, through and through.
You know what you want, like, and think and will not allow anyone to let you think otherwise. In fact, just the other day, I pointed to a cat in a book and you insisted it was NOT a cat. When I finally gave up and asked you, "What is it then?" You responded calmly, "a kitty." Oh sweet Hank, I love that you are not timid and are comfortable telling mommy and daddy what you need. Even if mommy and daddy's opinion of "need" differs from yours (like playing outside without a coat or having a third serving of fruit snacks).
Hank, I loved you before I met you, but I also love you more each and every day. These 2 years have been incredible. But you know what? I'm so excited to see what's in store for you. I love having a front row seat to your life story.
Happy Birthday, Hankers.