Anyone who has — or has been around — 2-year-olds knows that they can be chatterboxes. Or uproariously hilarious. And, at times, endearingly sweet.
My first, a spunky little boy named Westley, fits all of those categories. It has been a constant joyride to watch him learn to talk and figure out ways to express himself. He can be goofy and brilliant — sometimes simultaneously.
With his third birthday just around the corner, the adventure continues. And I’m poised to capture the magic.
As a journalist, I respect and cherish the value of a good quote. It’s the heart of a story.
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As a mom, I relish the fleeting moments of these early years. They’re the heart of childhood.
So it’s no surprise that my worlds are colliding as I jot down the crazy, loving, bizarre things my little boy says.
I know what he would emphatically say, in fact, if he heard me call him “little boy.”
“ Mommy! I’m not a little boy. I’m a big brother!”
Life changed big time in November when our beautiful Eleanora was born, opening a whole new chapter of things for Westley to say.
“Me see her!”
“Sister has tiny ears.”
“Ah, sister happy!”
“Sister, leave alone me!”
“Sister, you best my friend ever!”
“Me no color on sister’s face. Me color on a picture.”
And, perhaps my favorite, something he’d say these past few months to visitors who paraded in and out of our home to meet the newest member of our family. Westley would present Elly or introduce her with the beaming grin only a big brother could produce:
I’ve Tweeted these gems. Facebooked them. Texted them to friends and family. I even purchased a hardback book — “My Quotable Kid: A Parents’ Journal of Unforgettable Quotes” — to house them.
But most of them land in my smartphone file called “West quotes.” Call it the modern-day baby book.
With a couple of swipes, I can remember the time in August when we were exploring the playground together and taking turns on the slide. He was at the bottom, arms outstretched. As I slid down, he called out, “Mommy, me catching you!”
He caught my heart that day all over again.
During dinner in September, my husband, Brian, was razzing me about something. I asked Westley to tell Daddy that he was being silly. Westley looked at me with the seriousness of an editor on deadline.
“No, Mommy. Me eating.”
His quotes reveal his developing vocabulary and brain. I’ve proudly observed him punctuate his prose with pronouns, adverbs, direct objects even.
His quotes demonstrate his deepening heart.
In October, we drove past a parking lot where a firetruck and ambulance were responding to what appeared to be a medical emergency. The rescuers were helping someone, I explained to my curious backseat passenger. His eyes looked wide and maybe a little frightened. But then I heard his small — but very brave — voice.
“Me help, too.”
Together, we said a prayer and blew a kiss.
His turns of phrase make me smile. In December, Westley wanted out of his car seat and told me he was “stuck in his buckles.” When playing the eye spy game, Westley kicks off his turn by saying, “I spy my little eye see ”
His words also point to the inescapable independent streak that proves the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Last month, when I asked for a hug, he cocked his head to the side, gestured toward the window and said, “Sorry, Mommy. Next time. Nighttime, us hug. Is daytime now.”
And a few weeks ago, I asked him to sing along with me. “Sorry, Mommy. Me have no song in my tummy.”
Lucky for me, I had my hug hours before dusk and someone to join me in belting out the ABCs in no time.
I’ll continue to experience those moments with open heart and ears, ready to catch the next adorable kiddo quote.
No doubt, it will be difficult for him to top my favorite:
“ Love you, Mommy.”