Let's Talk Henry

I've really been slooooooooowwwiiiing doooooooowwwwnnn in the last few days. And I have so much to do...

But what little energy I have seems to be going mostly toward things like being super sentimental over Henry, my baby-now-boy, who is soon to be sandwiched between the larger than life oldest and the new baby.

I guess this happened around this time last year, too, but I want to snuggle him more and listen to him more and basically bottle him up to keep for a while, because things change so quickly, not necessarily for the worse, but change is always a little sad.

So, at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, here's a little mishmash of things I want to remember about Henry at age "almost three."

His favorite thing to play lately is "vending machine." On the days I take Cal to preschool, Henry and I drop off Dad's dry cleaning and he gets a soda from the machine at the dry cleaners. He likes to have me put the money in and then he pushes the green (Sprite) button and wrestles with the bottle when it clunks to the opening below. It's the thrill of the week for Henry.

He has brought the thrill home by doing clever things like dropping a business card in the slit of the top dresser drawer, hearing it drop, then opening the bottom dresser drawer to get out a "Sprite." Over and over and over. He also likes to block doorways with his arms spread across like a gate and tell us that we can't get through until we put a quarter in his mouth. When we put a quarter in, he makes all kinds of mechanical sounds and opens the gate for us to pass.

The other day, he kept coming over to me and stealing bites of some pudding I was eating. I told him to stop, he already ate all his, and to go away now. To which he replied, "I can't go away until you put a coin in my mouf." I complied, thinking it was a really easy solution, since the gates he makes always open so quickly when I put a coin in. This time, when I said, "OK. There you go, one coin. No go away from my pudding," he cackled and said, "Nope. I won't go away! That's acause I'm bwoken! Aggh!Ha!HA!HA!"

He is crazy into babies and actually makes a pretty convincing baby out of his fringy blanket by rolling it and then folding the bottom up, all swaddle-like. For a few days this baby was named, "Little Tiny," but more recently changed to "Teeny." I can do without the voice he uses when referring to and conversing with his baby, but it's adorable to see how he holds it and talks to it and puts it down for a nap.

For a couple days last week, he insisted that it was MY baby, and I needed to be holding it 24/7, more or less. I let it fall off the couch once and he bolted across the living room, picked it up and told me to be careful. And once I let it unroll on my lap while I was sitting at the computer and he told me Little Tiny was cold and needed rocked. When I didn't comply, he came over and rolled it up again and carried it away to take care of it properly himself.

Mixed in with his imaginary play (Calvin has never done a whole lot of that - he's very concrete and literal), Henry is loving puzzles these days (another thing Cal doesn't really do - he doesn't like the trial and error aspect of putting a puzzle together, he wants it perfect the first try). He mostly likes to ask me where pieces go, and chatter with me the whole time he is putting them together, and then he is thrilled when the whole picture is made. He told me to take a picture one day, he was so excited about finishing two puzzles.

There are some not-so-charming things about his emerging opinions and interests, like on the potty training front: I showed him some very cool big boy underwear at the store the other day in an effort to get him a little excited about the whole idea, and asked if he'd like to get some. "No," he shook his head emphatically and then tipped it to one side, "I just want to keep diapers for pooping in my pants." Excellent. I guess we're headed for double diapers for a while again.

Auntie S and I took the preschoolers swimming last week. Henry has this dangerous combination of complete fearlessness and complete lack of grace. He fell so many times, face in the water, then came up only to slip again. It's really Three Stooges comical, because he is so nonchalant about it. He rarely cries or gets scared, just recovers and moves happily on to the next stumble, and doesn't want me to soothe or baby him in the least.

Only once while we were swimming did he want me because he had slipped in the kiddie pool under one of the water works play pipes, stood up, bonked his head on the pipe, went under the water again, stood up, bonked his head again, under the water again (all this in a matter of seconds, and I was less than five feet away from him, trying to heave my pregnant self through the knee-high water as quickly as possible, lest you think I was watching my child drown...), then finally came to my outreached arms. Even after all that, I was more upset than he was, but he let me hold him until his ears drained, then he went to splash stumbling again.

Last week we had to have some routine bloodwork to check Henry's iron. It's not my favorite thing at all - I don't watch when they draw blood from my own arm because it just makes me queasy watching tubes fill up. So it's really tough to have to look when they are doing it to my little boy, since I have to hold his arm steady and straight. I always expect Henry to absolutely lose it over shots and bloodwork, but he doesn't.

This time, he was most annoyed with the elastic band that was so tight around his upper arm (that's my boy - hates constrictions), but he kept up a little banter with the nurse the whole time - "What's that?" - "Why you doing that?" - until the needle went in. He made one little cry and then just turned his head into my chest and said, whimpering, "That hurts, Mommy." By the time she put a band-aid on his arm, he just had two little tears pooled right below his eyes, and he let me hug him for a minute, then crawled off my lap and was ready to go.

I think that is my main challenge with Henry - he has always been so easy-going, so low-maintenance, other than his Energizer-bunny quality. I sometimes wonder if he really doesn't need the attention, or if he's just learned to cope without it. And I'm feeling so worried about giving him what he needs in that department, especially once there's a new baby in the house.


The love always goes far enough to include every child, even when you think you can't possibly love another one as much as the one(s) you already have. It's just the ability to love each one the way they need it. Always wondering if I'm doing right by each one of them...

Henry is so precious and bright, and sometimes I feel like he slips through the cracks somehow, but I really hope not.


Anonymous said...

any mom who can share her son's idiosyncrasies so eloquently is totally doing right by her boy. my (5) kids are all teens on up now, but i remember those times- worrying about the youngest whose place was about to be usurped. you will do it well!

Sketchy said...


I think the fact that you are so aware and loving about his unique Henryness means you won't let him slip through the cracks. You're doing good mom! And you've got one cutie pie boy there!

Ice Cream said...

I think you were just able to put into words something I've been trying to figure out for years now. I feel an intense desire to make sure my Monster Man knows I love him. I don't feel this pressure as much with my other kids, and I think it is because Monster Man just doesn't appear to need me as much as the others do. I'm often scared that because he doesn't ask for it, I might forget to give it. Thank you for this lovely post about your little warrior. I was almost crying about his brave blood drawing.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

The very fact that you shared all these insights into your little guy and the fact that you want to do right by him tells me that you're doing a great job. Henry (and Cal, and baby #3) are all very blessed to have you for a mom.

Super Happy Girl said...

Aww. It’s hilarious the he took Little Tiny away to take care of it properly :D What a cutie. I love the 7h picture , his eyes closed, laying on the grass.

Anytime I read your blog it makes me a little sad, to think that I didn’t write down all the things –little, big, cute, funny- my kids did when they were little. They are teens now and there’s NOTHING cute about teens!

Way to go writing down (and sharing) all these sweet memories. You are a great mommy.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Loving each child in the way they need it is so important. It is obvious you are doing just that :)!!

Trina and Jophie said...

Awww...what a sweet post and a cutie to boot.

someone else said...

That's a really precious little boy and his cheeks just demand to be kissed!! He's such a doll. It will be easy for such a peaceful little guy to get caught in the middle place between the other two. You're so right to be aware of that and keep your eyes open to it. You won't think he needs anything, but that's when he'll need it the most.

I'm confident you can do it though, because you're so tuned into both of the boys.

Nettie said...

Isn't he a doll! Aren't you glad you have recorded all his cuteness?

(And my 2 yr old has that same duck. She sleeps with "ducky" every night!)

Janelle said...

I have the same feelings about my middle boy (almost the same age as Henry). I worry he'll be lost in the shuffle, but that we are aware of it as the Moms helps make things more "equal."

I think you're a great mom and you'll find your balance with all three soon enough.

Diane @ A Watered Garden said...

What a great post... and an important way for you to capture this fun time in lift to look back on later. It's too easy to forget! I related to your quote: "Always wondering if I'm doing right by each one of them..." I have never stopped wondering that and my girls are grown and gone. Blessings, Diane

NOBODY said...

I think Henry will be able to get exactly what he needs in life, so you can worry less about him slipping through the cracks.

"I'm bwoken" is hilarious, and proof positive!

These are adorable insights into his big personality, and I love the pictures too!

Katherine@Raising Five said...

I loved those sweet pictures, especially the one where he's up on his elbows with hands on cheeks! Those cheeks are so pat-able. He reminds me of my son, who was the middle child for a while until, well, we had a couple more kids. He was always very easy going, but as he gets older, he's surprisingly determined. Your love grows as your child grows, and yet it stays the same. How do you explain THAT?

Loved catching up with you. Your post about feeling "considered" by your husband made me cry. What a beautiful thing. You are one blessed woman, indeed.

Unknown said...

I love the picture of him in the little cubicle! What a great post this is. Even by writing it you are making an effort that he not slip through the cracks. He is such a doll!