You are lucky. You have several 2-year-old boys in your life. You know their ways. You know:
They place miniature Spider-Mans in the palms of their hands and carry them around.
They put Thomas the Tank engine in their pockets. And when they lose Percy, Thomas’ train engine friend, they pretend Percy is on the Polar Express.
They are Mama’s boys. You saw one of them last summer floating the lazy river at Silverwood Theme Park in a tube with his mom. You heard him say, “Wuv you mommy, wuv you mommy,” every time they floated by.
They are trying to be independent. They are saying goodbye to pacifier, bottle, breast.
They have tantrums. You’ve seen them arch their backs, cry so hard they cannot catch their breath, go as stiff as statues in grocery stores.
They will know between 150 and 300 words by the time they turn 3. You know they love the bad ones already, stupid head.
They like other 2-year-olds, but not all the time. One day, you placed two cousins in a wagon facing each other for a spin around the block. You told them, “no fighting,” and they sang together “The Alphabet Song” to trick you into thinking they were getting along, but the minute you turned away they were wrestling over the Cheez-Its.
They love bugs.
They say “My” for “I.”
They want to do everything themselves – open the string cheese, buckle themselves into their car seats. “My can do it,” they tell you. And then when they can’t, they blame you.
They say “hawkilator” for helicopter and “odits” for doughnuts and “roney” for macaroni.
They tell you wild stories. They tell you that a rabbit came out of the closet and got really big and then really small and threw a ball at them.
They love their daddies. You have watched them push their toy lawn mowers around the yard, following behind their dads and the real mowers.
They make you laugh, without trying. When you tell them you are driving home now, they say, “Are you kidding me?” They ask you if you have a train truck at your house, and when you say no, they are so amazed they run to tell their daddy. If you aren’t paying enough attention to them, they say, “Hello, I talking to you!”
They walk with you through the elementary school on Saturday while their bigger brothers play basketball, and they point out all the magic doors.
They make any animal noise you request.
They show you, proudly, their potty-training attempts.
They leave their miniature shoes in the hall and when you happen upon them, you wish to place them in the palms of your hand and carry them around or put them in your pockets forever and remember the little guys at 2, because too soon, you know they will be 20.
You know all this. And this is good.
But you also know another fact. And this one is horrible.
You know there was a boy named Aden Roth-Valdovinos. He lived in Okanogan County. He was bitten, burned and beaten. Aden wasn’t breathing, and he had no pulse, when brought to North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, Wash.
You know that his stepfather, Jon G. Devon, and Aden’s mother, Yolanda E. Devon, were arrested a week ago and charged with first-degree murder. You know they are both in their 20s, but you don’t know – or understand – anything else about them.
You know when you saw the brief story in this newspaper about the tragedy, you didn’t want to write about it, even though you’ve made a column vow to mark in this space every child’s death by abuse or neglect.
You are tired of children dying violently in our communities. Exactly one month ago today, you wrote about toddler Brandon McAdoo, dead after being thrown against a wall. His father has been charged with first-degree murder.
You did not know Aden personally.
But you know this: Aden was just 22 months old. He never made it to 2.
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