Maxwell Keenan Harris was born at 9:15 pm...blood in his lungs, partial placental abruption and all. It was fast, furious, chaotic, and frantic....and I was thisclose to emergency surgery. I thought, with an entrance into the world like THAT, we were in for a doozy of a time with this kid.
I went on to say that I couldn't have been more wrong...that Max was calm and even, strong-willed yet flexible. And that's still true. BUT: His labor WAS INDEED indicative of his future personality.
This kid is your classic Bull in a China Shop. He roared into this world and, over the past year, has continued to pick up that pace. He's moving at 100 mph and taking risks that he doesn't even consider to be second-thought-worthy constantly. He underestimates his size, squeezing his massive body into tiny spaces and then yelling, "Help! I stuck!" when he can't maneuver his way out. When he walks across a room, he walks in a perfectly straight line, completely disregarding any obstacle that may be in his way....much to the irritation of his Big Brother, who probably just set up an elaborate train set or construction site that has now been King-Kong-Babied.
Max wears his heart on his sleeve. When he's happy, he's throw-his-head-back-laughing happy.
When he's sad, his big, round tears stream down his face and leave perfect tear-stain streaks that last long after he's started smiling again.
And when he's offended, he has absolutely perfected his bottom-lip-jutted-out pout, complete with his hands on his cheeks or folded in his lap, and heavy sighing.
Even with a new baby coming, this kid will never be the Middle/Forgotten Child. He makes his presence known...and we're such a better family for it.
Now that Max has developed his gift of speech, he's standing up for himself in verbal spars with his Big Brother...and, equally often, starting them. The other day in the car, Max said, "Goose!" So I responded, "Max! You're a goose spotter!" And Evan chimed in, "Oh! I see one, too!" To which Max insisted, "NO, E'an! I a goose spotter!" So Evan tried to explain, "I know, Max, but I saw one, too." And then the arguing began. I couldn't believe my "baby" wasn't even TWO YEARS OLD and I was having to break out the "If you two can't stop arguing..." empty threat. I didn't end the sentence because it was actually pretty amusing to listen to....
Max can be feisty when he wants to assert himself or when he's trying to get his way....but at his core, he's a Lover.
He's a snuggly, cuddly, "I hol' your ear a minute, Mommy?" Little Lovey. Just don't call him that. Or, "honey," "sweetheart," "baby," or even, "buddy." If you do, he'll give you a stern, I'm Serious look and say, "No I not. I a Big Boy." And he is. He has the classic two-year-old I'll Do It Myself mentality.
...and he's pretty capable in just about every endeavor his attempts: running to keep up with Evan? Check. Going up and down the stairs unassisted? Yup. Jumping and dancing and climbing to the top of just about anything? He can do it all, and then announce proudly, with his fists pumped into the air, "I DID IT!" Until the recent day when Evan tried to teach him how to do jumping jacks. He tried for a minute, realized it took just a little more coordination than his just-learning body could muster, and he collapsed in my arms. "I can't do it!" he sobbed.
But he wasn't upset for long. Max has a natural sense of confidence. He plays well by himself, assuming that he'll figure out the rules of the game eventually.
He loves puzzles. He wants to complete them by himself, but prefers to have an audience while doing so....he loves the Completed Puzzle High Fives that follow. He is content to try to solve problems on his own before first asking for help, and he doesn't care if he does things a bit differently than his brother. This kid has his own style.
And he isn't shy to show it off.
He's an artist. A musician.
Max is an Experience-Life-With-His-Whole-Body kind of kid. When he eats, he gets messy. When he plays, he gets sweaty. He dances when he hears a melody and claps when he's proud, or excited, or happy, or when dinner's ready. He gets the most out of every moment and I love watching him do it. Max is our reminder to celebrate everything because, when you're two, life is pretty great. And so is he.
On this, your second birthday, My Sweet [Big Boy] Love, know how much I adore you. Know how much fun I am having watching your charming, inquisitive, FUNNY, compassionate, and full of life personality develop. Know that, even when I may be frustrated by your Wild Thing tendencies, I love your independence and admire your I'm-Just-Being-Me attitude. You make me smile so big my cheeks hurt and want to bottle up the cuddles you still give out freely. I can't wait to see what you do and who you become, baby [Big Boy]. And I have a feeling you'll keep us on our toes the entire ride...