Oh, Henry, my Henry.
As I gaze out the window at the gold and orange leaves on the trees, I wonder how it’s possible that I haven’t written in so long.
Life with you is full. Full to the brim. Overflowing sometimes. So full that I find little time to do important stuff like write down our memories, have deep conversations or just think and even less time for unimportant stuff like cleaning the house.
From the moment you wake until the 1-2 minutes before you fall asleep, you are constantly moving. Climbing, walking, running, sliding, playing. And I’m just happy to keep up.
You are very, very determined. You know precisely what you want and will demand loudly (and sometimes physically) if you don’t get it. It was a few weeks after your first birthday when you threw yourself on the floor in a fit of anger. I stood there, stunned. Can my sweet baby already be throwing fits?? You may not have red hair, but you have the fire of a ginger on the inside.
Every week we start to communicate more and more. Your first word was “yeah.”
Do you want a snack?
Do you want to go outside?
Do you want me to change your diaper?
I’m hopeful that after we build that vocabulary more, life will be easier. Most of your frustration is the inability to understand. Most. Not all. Some of it is just plain anger that I won’t give you what you want. That’s a good life lesson though. Trust me.
Around the middle of June you started sleeping through the night, which was amazing. A-MA-ZING. And you continued to sleep through the night until mid-September. Three whole months of sleeping like a normal person. The girls were such good sleepers, I was unprepared for the zombie that I would become with you. And when you finally snapped out of it, I was unprepared for how much better life would get.
But then mid-September came along, and it started again. At first, it was just about every other night or so. You’d wake up screaming in pain. Around that time, you started cutting five teeth (FIVE TEETH!) and I think had a virus. It turned into an every-night thing, sometimes twice a night. And here’s the kicker. Most of the time it took at least an hour to get you back to sleep. One night it was three — three straight hours of rocking you. I turned back into Zombie Mom and went into survival mode. Clean only the dishes necessary. Wash/dry the laundry, but folding is outside of survival mode.
Today was the fourth-straight night that you slept through the night. I’m crossing my fingers that we turned a corner, but keeping my expectations low.
Other than sleep, life is pretty good with you. You’re a champ eater. You love noodles, spaghetti, peanut butter sandwiches and all fruit. I have to make sure that I’m eating milk-free food most of the time because you always want to share what I’m having, which is refreshing following those picky sisters of yours. They still turn their noses up at my food.
You LOVE going outside. It’s, by far, your favorite thing to do. I’m dreading the winter days, but maybe climate change will have at least ONE benefit … kidding, kidding, kind of.
Ornery is a perfect word to describe you. You are already pushing buttons to see what happens. At bath time, you will at some point try to pour your toy cup full of water outside the bath. You’ll look me directly in the eye and dump the water out. I really have to watch how I respond to certain things. Most of the time, if I tell you no, it just makes you want to do it faster and harder. I don’t shy away from saying no if it’s a safety thing. But if you’re sticking your dirty finger in your mouth to see what I’ll do, sometimes I’ll just ignore you and look the other way. It’s soooo counter-intuitive for me, but I can tell you need a slightly different parenting style than the girls did.
You also love reading books. For some kids, a new toy or snack is the trick to calming them down. For you, it’s books. In fact, you have two books memorized and will say the sounds at the exact right time in the book. If you’re losing it in the car, I’ll just start “reading” the book and you’ll join in with me.
Mom: A cow says …
Mom: A sheep says …
Mom: Three singing pigs say …
Henry: La, la, la
Which probably explains why most of the words you can say are animal sounds. You can say “Mama,” “yeah,” and one time said “Dada.” You can also say/yell Claire, which sounds like “Clll” and “Gr” for Grace. “Zo” for Zoey. You know the sounds for these animals: Cow, sheep, pig, dog, cat and horse.
That’s a pretty good round-up of all the observable parts of life. But there’s one more thing before I go.
I absolutely, completely, unconditionally adore you. You and I are together almost all of the waking hours (and sometimes the non-waking hours) and have become best friends. We know what makes each other tick. We know what makes the other one laugh and love to make the other laugh. I know what makes you sad or frustrated. You know what makes me say “yuck.” I know the difference between your mad cry and your hurt cry. You know that if I kiss the hurt, it will feel better. That spot on my hip seems like a perfect spot for you. The other day, I mentioned that I thought you were becoming more attached — crying when I leave, clutching my shirt if you think I’m going to leave. But if I’m being honest, I’m becoming more attached, too. It’s hard to leave you. Sometimes I need to — for work or an appointment or to recoup some sanity. But when we’re apart, it’s like part of me is missing. The part that fits perfectly on my hip.
I love you, Henry, my Henry.