Sweet Owen, O-man, Big O, Little O, Monkey, Monkey Boy, Menace, Blue, Boomer, Boom-Boom, Bugaboo, Monkey Do, Little Me Too. You are the boy of a thousand nicknames. You are also the boy of a thousand words. You are a parrot, anything you hear, you say, anything you say, you master. You defy all the conventional wisdom about second children and boys with your constant chatter which is, these days, about 75% intelligible. You never use a word where a sentence will suffice, you request a viewing of your favorite show by saying "Scooby Doo where are you." A request for footwear is "put on Owen doggy shoes please." You tell me to get up, you tell me don't worry, you tell me all day long "Owen do it." You hate to be left out of anything, and often can be found yelling "Me too me too me too" when you want to be included. Sometimes you get the sneaking suspicion that you are missing something good, and then you run through the house screaming "Owen Owen Owen" until you find it and get involved. My favorite thing you say, by far, is "love you too."
You are twenty-one months old now, breathing down the neck of two. If you someday read through these missives from Mommy, you may notice that the twenty month letter is missing. What can I say, you are the second child. And when you are the second child, sometimes Mommy is too busy getting ready for her first vacation in five years to write your letter, and then sometimes as soon as Mommy gets home your big sister winds up in the hospital for two days, and sometimes Mommy decides that next month will be good enough. There are good things about being the second child too. You are allowed to do things your sister was never permitted at your age, you know things she didn't learn until much later. You have unsupervised staircase access a full year before we trusted Mia to do that. You can count to three, you can recite and recognize your letters up to C and sometimes to D. I've already discussed your amazing language skills, which I credit to having a sister who is all mouth.
You are starting to develop preferences that seem to have to do with your personality rather than just your mood. You want the car cup, thank you very much, not the princess cup. You love trucks and trains and dogs and falling down and getting dirty and all the other typical boy things, but you also love drawing and music and demand both frequently and frequently in tandem. You have also discovered independent play and can happily amuse yourself for quite a while with a box of crayons and a stack or paper, or better yet, a box of crayons and a cardboard box.
You have perfected your flirt face in the last month. To start, you look down and affect either contrition or shyness, and then you oooohhhh soooo slowly peek those wild blue eyes up through your eyelashes and aim them directly at your target. Mere humans are powerless to resist, and it never fails to crack me up, not matter how difficult you have been making yourself.
You love trains and trucks and animals and puzzles and reading, especially the selection of Dr. Seuss books that you can request by name and read aloud yourself. But by far your favorite thing to do is copy Mia. You say what she says, you run when she runs, you dance when she dances, and you erupt with glee whenever you are allowed to sit in her chair or play in her room. Dinner around here is sheer lunacy, but also hilarious as we watch everything that happens on her side of the table repeated precisely on yours.
You are a sweet, charming, loving and lovable boy. And oh man, can you throw a tantrum. Wrong kind of juice, wrong kind of cup, wrong color lid, and heaven help whoever is in your path.
You like to pretend to drive our cars and take great joy from occasionally being allowed to ride shotgun while I drive up and down our driveway. You love being outside more than just about anything else and are happiest when we are taking a walk, collecting acorns along the way and throwing them at trees and rocks and random stretches of dirt. You like to take your push car to the top of our very steep driveway, climb on, and rocket down the hill, giggling all the way and trusting that someone will catch you before you meet the asphalt or the street or the wasp-infested bush at the end of the driveway. The moment you are rescued from yourself, you haul your car back to the top of the hill and do it all again.
You like to take off your shoes and socks and shirts and pants and pajamas and I sometimes leave you alone for a minute and return to find you mostly undressed and so very pleased with yourself. I think you do it in the hopes that Mia will get you dressed again, which you love so much that you actually cooperate with it, which never happens when Mama and Dada are in charge.
You are not my baby anymore, little Owen. You haven't been for a while, I know, but I've had a bit of a hard time with that because it felt like you had left that category without really entering another one. But now, I am comfortable saying that you are not my baby anymore, because you are my son. My son. It has taken me this long to wrap my head around that, little one, but I couldn't be happier or prouder about it if I tried.
Love you too,