Two looks so much different on you than it did on your brothers. If I wasn't absolutely certain you came into this world, on this day, a warm afternoon exactly two years ago, I would swear that you're closer to three than newly two and that isn't just because you're the oft-rushed third baby.
With two older brothers leading the way, you quickly learned to talk fast and move even faster. At just eighteen months old you started stringing words together in short sentences and it wasn't long before you and I could carry on a conversation. You keep up with your brothers at an alarming pace- running all over the backyard with them, scrambling across the jungle gym without pause, even racing down the driveway on your tricycle with them.
Growing ahead of the curve has been tough on this mama's heart, as I would love nothing more than to keep you, my last little baby, little for as long as possible- but if anyone realizes how silly and impossible such a request is, it's I.
But two? My God, how much I love this age. How much I love you. If there's anything I want you to remember and look back on years from now is how totally rad you are, even at such a young age. At two you've become this pint-sized human being with (very strong) opinions and the most ridiculous sense of humor. If I had to put money on it, your senior year superlative will read, "Class Clown" or "Most Likely To Have His Own Reality Show." At just two years old you go out of your own way to make all of us around you laugh and you won't quit until everyone in the room is giggling, no matter what it takes.
Much like your biggest brother, you love big for such tiny heart.
You wake every morning with the sleepiest, dopiest grin on your face. Once you've stretched and sighed and stretched again, you immediately start calling out for each member of your family. As we come running, one by one, you greet us with bright eyes, a huge bear hug and sweet laughter. Throughout the day you continue to keep a running tally of your family, always asking where Carter is (school), where Daddy is (work) and where Gammie and Poppy are (New Jersey).
Even at such a young age, you constantly think of others before yourself. The greatest example I have of this is whenever I offer you a snack. You immediately respond with "nack for Car-cer? 'Nack for Mackie?" before taking one for yourself. While I'd love to take credit for your selflessness, I really do think it's Carter that's taught you so well. You are so incredibly lucky to have both Carter and Maclane as your big brothers but that Carter is an extra special one. He always looks out for you and seeks to include you in whatever he is doing. It's difficult for me to talk about because tears immediately fill my eyes when I think about how truly amazing he is. Mac, well, he's three and a half and he's the one whose taught you how to turn anything into a gun and use "dammit" with appropriate context and exclamation. He's definitely a special one, as well.
Just thinking about all of the things I love so much about you is making me want to run upstairs and scoop you up from your crib- the same crib that you probably spend 70% of the night sleeping in before you wake, calling out for me to bring you into our bed. I always thought we'd transition you to a twin bed at 2, just like we did your brothers, but if there's anything I'm clinging to with you, it's sneaking in those early morning cuddles while I selfishly still can.
Despite having two older brothers so close in age, with each day that passes you are proving to be your own unique individual. Not only have you nursed longer than each of your brothers and actually worn clothing sizes that correlate directly to your age, you're also the first one to show an obsession with sticking foreign objects in both your nose and your ears.
In the last several months we've learned that while Cheerios dissolve in warm, moist environments (like your nose- halleluiah!), little tiny Lego pieces do not and no matter how much Mommy picks up after the big boys, a tiny little Lego siren will undoubtedly turn up inside one of your ears. (Just in case we find ourselves in a similar situation in the near future, blunt travel tweezers are a wonderful thing to keep on hand).
You love to eat, love to cuddle and request M&Ms after every meal. You are quick to point out school buses, choo-choos, puppies and motorcycles by name but the minute one of them makes a loud noise, you're even quicker to cover your ears and cling to my hip. You love everyone even though it may take you a minute or two to warm up to them and every time we step outside, you look to our neighbors house calling out, "Mr. Steve? Where arrrrre youuuu?"
"It's spicy" does nothing to deter you from stealing bites of whatever I'm eating and the minute you see me sit down with a bowl, you sidle over with those big brown eyes and the sweetest, "Bite? Pease? Can I bite?"
But perhaps my most favorite Collins-ism is the fact that while we all notoriously refer to you as "Baby" or "Baby Collins" even you, when asked what your name is, respond sweetly with "Baby!" It's something that drives your Daddy nuts but I refuse to correct you, I just love it so so much. Won't you stay this little forever?
Much little your middle brother, you give us an even bigger run for our money.
I often refer to you as my little sour patch kid- first you're sour and then you're sweet. At two, you are a pusher of boundaries and an overstepper of lines. The phrase "don't make me count to three" means absolutely nothing to you and in fact, that's probably how you learned to count to three at such an early age- it was something you heard nearly every minute of every day. With an emphatic "NO!," pouted lips and a turned shoulder, you're quick to walk away and do exactly what I told you not to. In a way, I'm proud of you for knowing what you want and sticking to your guns but along the same vein, I shudder to think that it was me from whom you inherited your stubbornness.
It is with a single bat of those deliciously long lashes that I fold, giving in to your childish demands, scooping you up in my arms and smothering you with kisses. It isn't difficult to give into you, my sweet beautiful boy, my last little baby and it's because of your place in our family that we will always give you whatever your little hear desires with the least amount of resistance.
It has been nothing short of incredible being your mother these last two years. You've added an indescribable depth and completeness to our family, filling a hole I didn't even know existed. All four of us, your Daddy, two brothers and myself continue to fall madly in love with you each and every day. I would even go as far as saying we're so very completely obsessed with you.
Happy Second Birthday, Collins Mason.
We cannot wait to see what this year ahead of you holds-
We love you more than carrots!
Love, Mommy (and Daddy, Carter, Maclane and Sheepie, too!)