From babyhood to boyhood / by Christina Rosalie

I like to do this every so often: pause, and capture the expressions of my boys as they happen in real time. It's something that a photograph doesn't capture well: the way their looks are fleeting; the way their moods are like a New England spring: sunny, then storm-tossed, then serene and clear. I used to tell stories about Bean and Sprout here often, until the days blurred together and their growing happened faster than the record I could keep. Like lightening, they are taller, sillier, wiser, more affectionate, and every evening when I come home I look forward to the moment when one or the other of them folds into my arms, their hands dirty, their cheeks smudged, their hair wild.

Lately, I've been taking a little more time to pause and take note. Here is Sprout, at almost 3.5 years old:

Sprout is still the peach he's always been at nearly 3.5. He is boy of smiles and ready kisses. He is abundant in his warmth and contentment, his laughter, his tenderness, and in his loud, boisterous ways. He yells and waves his arms when he talks, as Italian as he can possibly be; and lately he's been known to clock his brother upside the head with a truck if Bean gets bossy on him and tries to mastermind the game they're playing. Yet he is shy and empathetic in equal measure: slow to warm to those he doesn't know, and always ready with a kiss and a heartfelt apology when things go amiss and he's to blame.

This is Sprout: an embodiment of contradictions. Shy + loud. Brave + hesitant. He is determined to fill his own water glass, or climb stone walls or tall trees; yet when it comes to putting on his shoes, or his pajama shirt, he always wants the help.

He is at the delightful age of matchbox car love right now. The patterns on our persian rug under the coffee table in the living room becoming roads; and he's content to play by himself for long stretches of time, driving his cars about on their imaginary journeys. He also loves building snug forts out of couch cushions and quilts to hide in, and boxes of any size suitable to tuck himself into. The world is small and big for him at once; and he's at it's center still: sturdy, delighted, charming, stubborn.

He is my love, my heartbeat, my wild, sweet, tender, second son.