We had a birthday bash for Henry last Saturday. I have a hard time getting it together for birthdays in general, but we have family celebrations at each birthday and have determined to have big "friend" parties for the kids at age 4, 8, 12, 16 and 18 (the "big" years). Henry has been dreaming of his birthday party since Calvin's 4th, so I was trying to make it great and fun and memorable and all that, even though it had to happen a couple weeks after his actual birthday.
It was pretty much a comedy of errors. (That happened last year, too, for Henry, but I blamed it on having a newborn...Hmmm.) We had a backyard water party at Auntie S's house. I over-invited (as in number of guests) because there is a mass exodus here every summer and I wasn't sure many people would be able to come. Only a couple of people RSVPd at first, so I thought that it was true that only a couple people would be in town and able to attend. But it seems that everyone was out of town when the invites went out but back in town for the party, and they RSVPd when they returned. So we had oodles - and I do mean oodles - of four-year-olds.
The games were a flop (I have never been more mortified than when I looked at several glum 4-year-old faces, even in the presence of water balloons). But free water play and a really fun dad (I love my husband) were a hit and the kids were still going strong with sponges, straws, the trampoline, a sprinkler, water balloons, and a few buckets an hour and a half later. With a couple breaks for popsicles and cake and some terrific goodie bags assembled by Auntie S, I think everyone left happy anyway. (Nice cake, eh? It went right. See, I'm only pretending that this post is about Henry. *wink, wink*)
There were some definite highlights, even though the party of my Super Mom dreams didn't exactly take place. Mostly I just realized a really precious attribute of my Henry:
He came into the shade from playing at one point and noticed the pile of gifts on the table and stopped short and stared. I could see the gears whirring in his head as he slowly lifted one finger to point. He was so genuinely surprised that it made me glad I'd invited so many friends to give his unpresumptios little soul so many gifts.
He looked up at me and said, "Are all those presents for me?!" He honestly had not even thought of the loot aspect when we talked of having a party. When I told him they were indeeed all for him, the grin on his face was priceless.
Later when he opened a present from Auntie S, he was so thrilled: "A light sketcher? This is so cool! I have to go tell Calvin!" He ran out to find Calvin and told him, "Calvin! Auntie S got us a light sketcher!!!" If that didn't make me go to mush over his sharing little heart, I don't know what could.
He calls Malfoy from Harry Potter "Math Boy." He says it in such a contemptuous voice and he likes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the best because that's the one where HoMiney punches Math Boy in the face.
Sometimes we stop at 7-11 on our walks and get Slurpees for the boys. Every time I come out with the treats, David says, "It doesn't matter what 7-11 you go into, or how briefly you are in there, you always come out smelling the same way." What is that smell, anyway? It's distinctive, really. And it does stay with a person. Today I had to run in and pay for gas and the boys hollered for me to get slurpees for them. I told them I didn't think I would because Slurpees are a special treat, blah, blah, blah. I came back out to the car empty-handed and we pulled away. A few seconds later (I'm pretty sure it was about the amount of time it takes for a smell to travel to the back seat and reach Super Henry with the power to smell), Henry said in a happy little sing-song voice, "I smell Sloooooohhhpeeeeez!" Hmmm. I don't think so.
Yesterday, we went to the Washington Monument (I have a whole other post for that), and we had to be there at a certain time so I was pushing the stroller rather quickly with the other three boys following (or running ahead, chasing, geese). Henry was always
There isn't a pair of eyes as beautiful and expressive as Henry's, or a giggle more contagious in the world, I am convinced. His hair still grows into messy curls, he can raise one eyebrow at the most hilarious times, and he is crazy about his mom still. He adores his brothers and can hold his own with them, too. I love his sense of humor and his imagination and ability to entertain himself and everyone around him. No one does "naughty" quite as well, and very few people make you want to squeeze and kiss him as much either.
I'm looking forward to this school year, when he and I will have a lot of one on one time. I'm hoping that he will feel the attention he needs and that we will be able to make a lot of wonderful four-year-old memories together.