Just over two years ago, my boy came into the world and everything changed. The biggest surprise is how much fun we're having, how entertaining this toddler is. And the part that was expected but is no less powerful because of it is how profoundly I love him, and how something in my soul has shifted to embrace this new role.

I've read a lot about other people's experiences - some heartwarming, some heartbreaking, some that bring on the giggles, some that make you tear your hair out. In one way or another, they're all cliches, no matter how well-written, but they're all also very true. I don't know that I have any new words to add to this, so here are a few of my kid's instead (and you'll get a feel for what tickles us pink, not to mention our generation, as we train our own personal Teddy Ruxpin - it's a great feedback cycle, because he likes to make us laugh, which then makes him laugh, and on and on):

"Stop! Hammertime!"
"Ice ice baby"
"A palpable hit"
"Need more marmite please"
"Hello salaam konnichiwa-wa"
"Baila baila"
"Zola come!"
(responding to "Who you gonna call?") "Ghostbusters"

And of course all the usual daily conversation and quoting and chattering to himself. The way he is growing his language is just fascinating. Life is a play-by-play, with lots of repetition from him and demanded from us, and it amazes me how he puts together new sentences and draws connections across contexts and even time. He absorbs the books we read and the songs we sing and counts pretty well and is starting on the abc's. I'm beginning to understand what's behind Rosetta Stone, though I've never actually tried their system.

The part you can't tell from reading this is the adorably hilarious way he says things, pronounced not quite right, and possibly not even intelligible if you don't hang out with him a lot. (This would be one of those cliches - every baby talks cute and funny, right? - that we marvel at despite their triteness. Just because it's not new in the world doesn't mean it's not new in our world. And better, cuter, funnier than all the other babies.) I've never managed to capture it well (where are you when I need you, phonics?!) and I'd rather not do it wrong, but I hope I remember it. I may have to try for some audio recordings. It's almost more about the emphasis and pacing than the sounds, actually.

And he still uses sign language all the time, which I love and hope we continue. And all sorts of other things are happening - climbing, riding, painting, swinging, picking tomatoes, throwing balls, being naked, eating, chasing the dog, counting, singing, hugging, napping, waking up, seeing friends, playing outside, doing puzzles, fun running....it's kind of an awesome life.

I don't know where I'm going with this - I just wanted to mark the occasion in some way. It's a big freaking deal (my language monitor has kicked into overdrive; it used to just be on at school and off at home, but hearing my toddler shout "HOLY CRAP" forced me to pay a little more attention to what comes out of my mouth) (though I do snicker when the sailor talk sneaks out) (and now I've even lost track of where this sentence was going...). The days of afternoon whiskey tastings and lazy mornings sleeping in are on hold for a while. But the snuggles and dancing and hanging out are pretty awesome.

He tries to climb back in to my belly sometimes, and it just ain't gonna happen. He's out for good, so watch out, world!