On this cold day in January, three years ago, I was admitted to the hospital to give birth to my second son.
Having had the easier labour and delivery ever when I delivered my first child, I was confident things would go just as smoothly the second time around.
However, I went into that delivery room much more prepared than the first time—I didn't bring a suitcase filled with novels with me. Not only did I pack more appropriately, I was wiser as a mother, with over two years of experience under my belt.
After my son was born my sister brought me fettuccini alfredo from my favourite Italian restaurant. I ate my dinner and watched CNN as my new baby slept soundly beside me. This time around, I wasn't afraid to close my eyes, and I didn't jump with each sound or movement my baby made. I even managed to sleep that night, something I didn't do for 72 hours after my first son was born.
I was so much more relaxed. And very blessed, to be the mother of these two little boys.
The next day, my best friends came to visit and rather than panic and break out the Purell, I was calm, happy, and talkative.
"Loukia, you are so much different this time around! It's like you're not even the same person!" my best friend pointed out to me.
This was true. The second time is much easier, in every way.
My little monkey is the biggest ray of sunshine in our lives, making us laugh uncontrollably daily. He is hilarious and brilliant. The things he knows, the things he asks, and the things he says—mispronounced words and all—leave me in awe all the time. When I pick him up from my inlaws or parents house after work, he runs to me, smiling, and recounts his day for me, telling me everything that happened.
He is such a character, such a little actor, and so very dramatic! His theatrics make me giggle. If we lived in Hollywood, he'd be a star, with those facial expressions and big eyes that let him get away with anything.
One of the most amazing parts of motherhood is knowing your children so completely. He is similar to me in many ways, but vastly different too—he is very social, more outgoing than I ever was as a child, and enters a room with purpose and determination. If he's late to the party, he joins in, not missing a beat. He's a confident child, an athletic child, and the most energetic child, always ready to go.
He share a special bond with my grandmother, which is lovely to see. My grandparents don't really have a 'favourite' when it come to their three great grandchildren, however, I know he warms their heart like no one else, and he's the reason they shorten their summer vacation to Greece year after year.
He calls sugar 'sugie'. He loves to snuggle and he talks non-stop, in Greek and in English. He loves hearing stories, and he loves playing with his older brother and riding on his plasma car.
He is fiercely independent, and has been doing many things on his own for a long time, like feeding himself. He makes me proud. He like to negotiate with me about why he should have just one more snack before bedtime, and why he needs to watch just one more episode of Caillou before I turn off the television.
His brand new double bed and brand new comforter sit untouched in his room. He still sleeps with me at night, in my bed. I just can't transfer him yet—I love having him snuggle up next to me, his feet sprawled all over my body. I kiss his little baby toes, and inhale his sweet scent, knowing that one day soon, he'll be too big to sleep with me.
Now that he is three years old, he's not an infant anymore—however, he will forever and always be my baby.
Happy Birthday, lovely little boy!