You are two years old today, happy birthday! I am writing this while you take a much needed (and resisted) nap before we resume the celebrations. We started the day with presents in our pajamas, and you impressed me with your present unwrapping skills. You know exactly what to do with those! As you opened each gift, you asked "What's this, mama? What's inside?" over and over as you ripped off the paper. You loved all of your gifts from your Lightening McQueen shirt (which you're currently wearing) to your new Thomas books. If I had to guess, though, I'd say that your favorites are your new tent and the Elias boat from Granny and Grandad. Granny and Grandad were able to see you open Elias over Skype, and I think they were as delighted with your reaction as you were with your gift. You were so excited to see Elias that you spent most of the morning asking to take a bath just so you could try him out in water.
After a play date and a very indulgent lunch of a Happy Meal from McDonalds ("Fries! Yummy yummy!") eaten in front of the movie Cars, you finally did get your bath, much to your delight.
|That little smirk says it all, really.|
Now, a story time and much playing and shrieking in bed later, you are fast asleep. It really is true what they say about parents loving their children even more when they're sleeping. It means I get to think about you and miss your sweet face and all the funny little things you say. As nice as it is to get a little break from full-time toddler wrangling, I am looking forward to scooping you up for a little post-nap snuggle. Your little body always seems a little softer and warmer when you have just woken up, and you're not yet too busy to lean into me and cuddle close for a few moments.
|The first time I met you.|
If you are anything like me, it will take you years to realize what a gift you are to me. When I held you in my arms two years ago, I was completely overwhelmed by how much and how instantly I loved you. And I was almost ashamed to really understand for the first time just how much my own parents love me. Mostly I'm just grateful to be reminded that I have always had the kind of love from my parents that you have from yours.
Being your mother has been one of the most profound experiences of my life. In the midst of all the feeding, diaper changing, laundry washing, book reading, duck feeding, "no"-saying and mess cleaning, I have really and genuinely discovered who I am. And, Espen, I have discovered who you have made me. You have given me patience, tenderness and a never-ending capacity for love that I didn't really realize was there. You have taught me to prioritize, try harder and to never, ever give up. Thank you.
Espen David North, you are a joy and a delight! 95% of the time, you are the happiest little boy in the world, and the other 5% you are really not. You are a chatterbox, and always have something to say. We know you're awake in the mornings because we can hear you talking and laughing by yourself, and we know you're asleep at night because that's when the talking stops. I realized a few weeks ago that we are having conversations now. You ask me questions and tell me what you want or need (usually milk, bunnies or Lightning McQueen) or just tell me about your day. I can explain what we're doing and why to you, or ask you for your input on a particular topic ("Bed? No. Brush teeth? No.") You've always had an impressive vocabulary for your age, and now you are blowing us away with your ability to put it all together.
You are sweet and kind and loving. Sometimes you'll catch my, or your dad's, eye from across the room and just grin a big grin at us. If one of us is in a different room, you'll sometimes yell "I love you!" just to hear our voices. You are learning to share your toys with friends, and show genuine concern if someone else is upset. You love all of your grandparents, and manage to stay close to all of them, no matter how far away they live. If we Skyped with Granny as often as you asked to, she'd never get any sleep!
In spite (or maybe because) of our best attempts to not push typical "boy" interests on you, you have the manliest little obsessions! You love cars, trains, planes, trucks and basically anything with wheels. I am astounded at the sheer number of toy cars that have magically found their way into our house, and have accepted that I will probably be finding trains in my bed for years to come. You are happiest when busy, and love painting, going for walks, making "stuff", cooking, helping out around the house and being involved in whatever is going on.
Happy birthday, my little boy! You have brought so much joy to our little family, and we feel so lucky that we get to be your daddy and mama. These two years have gone so fast, and I know the years to come will just fly by, but I am so excited to follow you in your journey through life. You will do wonderful things, simply because you are you.
I love you, Espen.
--- Your mama.