To celebrate Joseph's birthday, we took all of the children to Zoom Zoom, an indoor play place. We had plans to go somewhere outside to enjoy the nice fall weather we've been having - upper sixties, low seventies with golden yellow sunshine - but then the weather wasn't nice at all and we were driven indoors.
We've been there several times with the children, but this is the first time that all of the children have enjoyed themselves; previously Joseph had been too young to enjoy exploring more than arm's length from the maternal safety zone. But not any more. Sometimes all of the children will go for a walk while I'm working inside, and these days I'm almost never involved with bath time. Everyone in the family can walk. Everyone is in underwear (during the day anyway). Everyone can feed themselves (mostly). And all of the children will play together on occasion. Life is getting pretty easy, which means that it's time to bring back the crazy. But I'll always look back to this little window of sanity with fondness.
Joseph is the very first child in our family to have spent the entire first two years of his life (minus seven weeks) in the exact same house in the exact same room in the exact same crib. Everyone else has had some sort of move, whether it was across town, across the country, or across the world. Joseph's just been here the whole time. I think that makes it seem like he's grown up much faster than his siblings did; I still can't quite believe that he is two. That used to mean something, when Kathleen was two she was very grown up. Now two is just a bigger baby that is starting to talk.
Being the very happy boy that he is (Brandon credits the stability), everyone loves Joseph and there is usually a fight at one point during the day over who gets to play with him/dress him/bathe him/dress him up/push him in the stroller. The girl's favorite evening activity is the kit out the stroller into a royal littler with pillows, scarves, blankets, and toys and parade him through the house proclaiming "Joseph! The king!" until I tell them that twenty times is enough announcing. Tonight his siblings were very eager to help him open presents and will be just as eager tomorrow morning to help him play with his new toys.
I've enjoyed having a little extra time with him as my baby and my buddy. He generally follows me around the house, nesting his hand in mine as we go up and down stairs rotating laundry, doing chores, and cleaning up the general mess. When I cook dinner, he pushes a chair over to the sink, climbs up, and keeps me company while playing with the water. If I sit down, he immediately finds my lap to snuggle down in. And when he is hurt, he always runs to me because all any bad thing needs is a cuddle from Mom to make it better.
So happy birthday, Joseph. We're happy to have you with us!