The four-year-old has always been independent. He plays well by himself. Even as an infant he could entertain himself with nothing but his hands for extended periods at a time. If you are one of his people, he loves you fiercely - this mommy is glad to be loved fiercely - but he doesn't need constant attention or affection.
Then along came the two-year-old. He's a different breed. He wants to be in the same room as other people. Always. He wants to be held. Still. Frequently. Of course age has made him more independent. He does go off and play alone - or at least where his brother is playing.
I have to admit that I love this baby's (yes, I still call the two-year-old that although he scolds me if he hears it) need to be close. Even though I have those moments - standing over a hot stove, getting ready in the morning, etc - when it's inconvenient...even though I've said (at least to myself) those words I try not to say, those words that squelch his individuality - "Why aren't you more like your brother?" Yet, still, I love his cuddle bug nature.
And I realize - as he nears 2 1/2 - that I'd better enjoy it while it lasts. Soon I will be longing for those arms around my neck, those legs around my waist, that extra weight always ready to be carried around. Soon I will wonder where my cuddle bug went.
I think I'll hold on to him as long as he'll let me...just as soon as he gets back from Iowa.