The Big Oh-Two

Leo is two.  Or eight, depending on who you ask.  Here he is being two:


And here he is being eight:


Or maybe I have the pictures in mixed-up order.  At any rate, Leo is still in that stage where he has to do whatever his brothers are doing.  Yesterday, for example, he came to the table to see Vincenzo wearing an eagle hat and eating popcorn.  He disappeared for a minute then came back and…


It’s his popcorn-eating hat, duh.

Leo at two is possibly the laughingest little boy ever, and if that’s not already a word then it should be.  You can make him laugh about anything—his uncle entertained him for 15 minutes at a restaurant by moving a fork to and from him.  It was that simple, and Leo just  laughed and laughed.  Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night, laughs, and goes back to sleep.

Leo is either incredibly sarcastic or incredibly obedient.  At a public restroom last week he dried his hand on a paper towel then tossed it in the toilet.  I told him that we don’t put paper towels in the toilet, and before I could stop him he had reached into the toilet, fished out the paper towel, and was heading for the garbage can.  He wants to be good; he is just a little Amelia Bedlia about it.

Leo refuses to hold anyone’s hand but my own and won’t make exceptions even for a game of ring-around-the-rosie.  We have to play “line around the rosie.” 

He is an angel to his mama, a bully to Rocco, an apprentice to Vincenzo.

He’ll drop anything for a ride in the car and it doesn’t matter to where.

When I read books to Leo he reads them back to me at the same time. 

He loves to jump off the couch and he gets mad at us if we try to soften his landing with a couch cushion. 

He knows he can make us laugh by wearing various objects as hats, or by singing songs like, “Lo-di-lo-di-luuuuuuu-di-lo” and he does so frequently, looking at us with a glint in his eye and mischief on his face until we laugh with him.

Leo is bursting with joy and light, with gentleness and spunk, with intelligence and silliness.  He is topped off with a good dose of untamed spirit—a wildness that starts in his dancing feet and spreads all the way up to his wild hair.   My wish for Leo is that his wild spirit is never all the way tamed.  That his freedom and happiness remain uncurbed, no matter how tall and responsible and sophisticated he grows.

The night before his birthday I laid Leo in his bed, kissed him on the cheek, and said, “Goodnight Baby,” like I do every night.  Then I added, “Goodbye Baby.”  And when I woke up he next morning, there was a hungry, cranky two-year-old boy standing there who needed a hug from his Mama, just the same as he needed the day before.

He won’t always be a baby, but he will always, always be my baby.

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