He was born to party. He was born to boogie. And he was most definitely born to be wild. And I love every bit of it.
But the fact that he was born two years ago? I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around that one.
At two, Jacob never holds still. When he's not chasing his older sister or tackling his older brother, he's roaming around the house looking for things and lining them up or stealing baby wipes and cleaning the furniture or hunting down his baby brother, "Wuhvi."
He's still long and lean, although his slender frame is more likely due now to his state of perpetual motion than to the feeding woes we've dealt with in the past. His eating seems to have turned a corner, and while we still deal with our fair share of suppertime pickiness now and then, Jacob is, for the most part, a very good eater now. And for this, we are very, very thankful. His favorite foods are still Mediterranean cuisine, Willie's pork burritos and Mellow Mushroom's pepperoni and olive pizza. But we've learned through trial and error that however much he may love these foods at the restaurant, bringing them to a new location (take out or leftovers, for instance) renders them somehow unpalatable in the mind of our favorite two-year-old. (No complaints here. I'll take eating out over cleaning up dinner any day.)
He's a ray of sunshine. Seriously. His smile lights up his whole face, and the whole room. He has an infectious laugh and his hugs make you feel like you must be the most loved person in the whole world. He wants to be held, he wants to be close and he wants to snuggle. When Jacob is around, no song is a solo and no lap stays empty for long. He's a people person, and it only takes a few minutes with him for everyone to notice.
He's thoughtful and helpful. He's quick to share a blanket or a beloved puppy with a crying baby, or to bring a truck to a big brother (as long as he's not busy with it himself), or to retrieve misplaced frogs for an absentminded sister when she can't recall where she left them. He brings me my phone if I lay it down, my shoes if he wants to go outside, and he's occasionally attempted to bring me the baby when he thinks Levi needs a little bit of attention. Perhaps because it's the response he gets from adults who bump into him, Jacob's in the habit of reaching out and rubbing the top of someone's head when he offends them or is asked to say he's sorry. The other kids have picked up on this, and are quick to stoop over and offer the top of their heads for rubbing when we ask Jacob to apologize to them for something.
He's still a man of few words. His pediatrician described him as a very effective non-verbal communicator, and that pretty much sums it up. He has a few words that are pretty understandable, and he gets very excited when the people around him comprehend what he's trying to say. "Eh-pain! Ty!" translates to "Airplane! Sky!" and comes in handy when our house gets buzzed by one of the Air Force's C-5s. "Uh voo" might be one of my new favorite Jacobisms, running a close second only to "uh voo, Mommy" ("I love you, Mommy"). He can say the names of most of his close family members, except for Caleb, whom he also calls Jacob, and Granddaddy, whom he acknowledges with a noise that sounds something like "bear shadow." He has names for a few of his toys and some items around the house, although it takes some context clues to figure out if he's asking for a bouncy ball, his pajamas, or a Christmas tree, since most of his other words all sound the same. More often than not, when we ask him to say something new, he just flashes us an impish grin and replies with a very clear "No!" followed by hysterical laughter that tells us he thinks he's totally got the upper hand in this whole talking thing. And since we usually can't help but laugh with him, he might be right.
He is determined. We joke sometimes that he has Abby's personality in a little boy's body (which could be very dangerous), and the truth is that we see in both of them some very strong Type A tendencies. Jacob is ambitious in his efforts and driven to succeed at even the most mundane tasks, and very frustrated when his hands cannot do what his brain wants them to. I made the mistake recently of building him a little house out of some homemade blocks, but failed to realize that when he could not recreate my structure on his own, the joy of block building would be totally lost. He loves organization and can be counted on to sort and arrange messes left unattended. He's my go-to guy for straightening our pile of shoes, dividing crayons into piles based on how broken they are, lining up stuffed animals or stacking books. He does not like to be helped, interrupted or coerced. This, I imagine, could mean we have some pretty terrible twos in our near future. Only time will tell.
It has not been an easy two years with Jacob. From his ongoing eating issues, countless trips to doctors, that incident with the fingertip having to be sewn back on, and every little bump and bruise in between, I often feel like this kid's kind of getting off to a rough start. And yet through (most of) it all, he's just as joyful and fun to be around as I could hope for. I can't help but think that God really is answering our prayer that He would fulfill in our Jacob's life the promise He gave to the Jacob of the Old Testament when He said, "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" (Genesis 28:15). As much as I hate to see the years passing by so quickly, I'm eager to see what God has in store for this little guy, and to find out how he will use Jacob's exuberance, his joy and his sweet spirit in his own life and to touch others.
Happy birthday little buddy!