he is round and smooth, the same color as the chickpeas he devours with nimble toddler fingers. he is quick – quick to move, quick to change, smiles bubbling out of fussing, tears slipping from the shock of a fall. suddenly solid, heavy, a force to be reckoned with – my arms cannot as easily swing him overhead and keep him up up up over and over. he slaps his hands onto wood, metal, plastic, and bangs toys against one another to discover what tone they’ll create. he thrusts insistent fingers with sharp nails into my mouth, grabs onto my nose, pinches the delicate skin of my inner arm. his two small teeth wreak havoc on my nipples. when brought to a stand, he sometimes needs only a hand on one of my fingers to maintain his balance. he reaches out, wanting to touch and taste everything – tea bags, book pages, wine glasses, laptops. he slides his body backward over our wooden floors, crossing entire rooms before i notice he is gone, and then he cries because he was once inches away from the thing he wants and now somehow the distance is better measured in yards. that’s life, kid.