Two is here.
Two is independence. The constant, insistent demand, “Do it self.” If Two is helped down the stairs, she must be lifted back to the top so that she can climb down solo.
Two is neediness. Pressed against the bathroom wall, because she couldn’t leave me for two minutes so that I could pee. Reaching for me when she’s already being held. The small voice crying for me over the monitor almost every night.
Two is action. Small feet tripping, running, trying to jump into the air. Two is certain that the stroller is a trap.
Two is awe. Eyes widened at the sight of a new toy, a balloon, every subway train that rushes into the platform, an interesting face in a crowd. Two constantly asks, “What’s that?”
Two is fearlessness. Confidence that she can throw herself off any surface and trust that she will be caught. Trust that every stranger (and dog) can be a friend. Hands reaching for everything that shines, certain that she won’t get hurt. (Two’s fearlessness requires two vigilant mommies.)
Two is stubbornness. Unwavering insistence that rainboots are appropriate for all weather, that naps are a waste of an afternoon, that ketchup is a well-rounded meal.
Two is imagination. Dolls brought to life, Old MacDonald’s farm expanded to include lollipops and monkeys, a scribble that is actually a drawing of a dog.
Two is frustration. Frustration at a sandwich cut in the wrong way, a difficult shirt, a demand gone unmet, a toy in another kid’s hand. Frustration voiced in tears, stomping feet, a bossy “NO!”
Two is language. Suddenly, “I”/”me”/”we”/”us”/”your”/”our” have appeared and turned my baby into my kid. “Mummy, do you love dogs?” she asks me, with all of the seriousness of a investigative journalist.
Two is love. Waking up in the middle of the night, with no other demand than to be held for a moment (or hour). Frequent demands for hugs, kisses planted on the nearest knee/cheek/arm/nose: hugs and kisses where my own heart expands.
Two is the perfect moment in between what’s already come and what will come next. I want to hold on to two for as long as I can. When she hugs me, I hug her back for just a moment longer. She wiggles free, exasperated. Two has places to go.