Mommy borrowed your Can Do! spirit and made a Tres Leches cake with whipped cream frosting…to bring to the sunny park. Your tias and tios stayed up all night and helped me make shark cupcake toppers and frost the cupcakes. We all love you that much.
Last Sunday you turned two. It was one heck of a magical birthday celebration. All of your family came from up and down the East Coast to be here for your special day. Your friends came, Carlitos’ friends, mommy and daddy’s friends – everyone wanted to celebrate with you because we all love you.
It is hard NOT to love you, with how special you are and all. I’ve never met anyone else with stinkier toes (Seriously, what is up with that?), who uses their hair as a napkin, or who enjoys sneaking into the bathroom to wash his hands for half an hour (Using half of the soap in the soap dispenser, mind you. Those aren’t free, you know.)
I just found a letter a wrote to you when you were 9 months old, and while you have retained your stinky toes and ‘aggressive’ affection, I busted out laughing when reading and remembering that we ever used the word ‘serene’ to describe you.
Honestly, you really are One of a Kind. Grammy calls you a Love Bomb and it is pretty accurate. While you do tend to go through life looking like some sort of bomb went off behind you (butt paste on the floor, marker on the couch, cheese on the wall…that sort of thing) you are constantly overflowing with love. Your hugs and kisses are the most genuine, gooey, delicious things EVER. Goofy, giving, affectionate, physical…you are just A Lot…in all ways. And it makes it pretty much impossible not to fall in love with you.
We are never unclear on your wants or desires. We know that you must have at least one ball of some sort with you at all times. And we know to duck if we hear you say ‘Catch!’ because it will likely be some sort of close-range throw at 90 miles an hour with a regulation size basketball. I’ve learned that it’s hard to ‘catch’ those in time. And I’ve learned that it hurts to take one of your throws to the face. Your ball skills are unreal. You dribble, you shoot, you pass, you kick, you drop kick, you catch. Everyone who sees you in action with a ball looks at me with raised eyebrows. I know what they’re thinking and no, they can not be on your payroll when you are MVP in the NBA (or the next Pele…we aren’t sure which yet).
You are not only passionate about sports, but you are fiercely attached to your brother, as well. At your birthday party he got himself a Time Out and you immediately went over to him. I thought you were just going to sit with him like you always do when he gets Time Out (even if he gets it for doing something mean to you) but this time you started pulling his arm and when he told you he had to stay in Time Out you put your arms around his neck and used all of your strength to actually pull him back to the party. The guests simultaneously put their hands to their mouths and gave you a collective, “Awwwww.” Even though sometimes your connection to Carlitos can actually mean you are teaming up against me, I still love the bond I can already see between you two.
Your stubbornness doesn’t just apply to your brother’s Time Outs. You once stayed in Time Out for an hour, with mommy and daddy coming in each minute on the minute to ask if you were ready to say sorry for hitting. You shook your head NO each time. We all say you look like a handsome version of your Mima and it is becoming clear that you are just as stubborn as she is, as well. Maybe more. This “You’re not the boss of me!” attitude can sometimes be a problem for daddy and me since, you know, we actually are the bosses of you for the time being and we haven’t quite convinced you of this yet. I know your sense of self and determination will make you a strong and independent adult someday, though, so we are pushing through your frequent use of the word ‘no.’
This independent spirit is pretty cute, speech-wise. Your two favorite phrases are, “Look at meeeeee!” and “I do it! I do it!” Usually you are referring to things that are pretty impressive like putting on your own socks, standing on the top of some frighteningly high object, or carrying the entire bag of Chinese delivery upstairs on your own. Sometimes your independence and physicality collide. (Who am I kidding? This happens daily.) Like, when I finished assembling your new easel, went into the kitchen to get you milk and came back out to this:
A few weeks ago you started telling us you wanted to take your naps and go to sleep at night in Carlitos’ bed. I guess you felt like we weren’t taking you seriously because you then started jumping out of your crib every day at nap time and bed time. Scared that you were going to break a limb…or worse…you got your way and we moved you to the bottom bunk and packed up the biggest symbol of babydom and put it in storage. You looked like such a big boy sleeping in a Big Boy bed. I was so sad at how fast you were growing up…and you weren’t even quite two yet!
But we were quickly reminded that you truly were still a baby, and maybe not as ready for that Big Boy bed as you thought when we kept finding you over here…
Xavi, every single day you surprise me. Whether it’s by finding a way to get 15 different balls AND my car keys into the Diaper Champ or suddenly busting out some 5 word sentence about washing a grapefruit, you are always, always thinking for yourself. That is a surefire way to be a leader in life who will have an impact wherever you go.
In the two years since you joined this family, I think you have truly brightened all of our spirits in a way we didn’t know was possible. You are joy and trouble and fun personified. Your presence ensures that none of us are ever bored and that we always feel loved. You are a spectacular little guy. Please don’t ever lose that goofy, adventurous spirit.
Happy Second Birthday, John Xavier! We love you more than you love balls.
Yes, that much.