Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dear Henry - Month 16

Dear Henry,

It’s been quiet around here.  I took a little break after your 1 year blog.  It wasn’t intentional – things just got busy with the holidays.  And then it was winter.  And now it has been winter for approximately twenty five years and I’m starting to think that it’s never going to end, but that’s not really what I want to talk about.  My point is that it’s been a rough winter for us – between the cold, and the weather, and the fact that you and I seem to swap colds and other ailments back and forth and man, kid, we just needed a break.

So, now you are 15 16 months old.  I feel like this is the perfect age for my parenting skills.  Like, you and I have finally figured this thing out and we’re working it.  Now that I am putting that out into the universe it is pretty much a guarantee that you’re going to throw me a curveball, but for the most part – for the first time – I feel well equipped to be someone’s mom.  Ask me again in a week.  Or the entire year that you’re three (from what I understand).

You started walking at the end of February (14 months old).  One day I was sitting on the couch and I watched you pull yourself up and then take five steps away from it.  You fell down and were just going to crawl away when you heard me cheering for you.  You turned back towards my cheering, a bright smile lit your whole face up, and then you crawled back over to the couch and did the whole thing again.  After that, it was like you were born walking.  It is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.  You’re pretty proud of yourself for figuring that out and we watch you push your own limits over and over again.  You’re learning how to step over things, and move around things, how to bend over and pick something up, and you’re trying very hard to go from sitting to standing without using an aid to pull yourself up.  You have the general idea, I think you just lack balance.  The lack of balance also contributed to your first shiner when you tried to launch yourself at your dad, but fell face first into the side of the couch instead. 

Launching yourself at the couch is only one way that you show us you have no fear.  You’re always launching yourself off of things or into things and trusting that we’re going to catch you.  It’s the most terrifyingly heartbreakingly beautiful thing to know how pure your trust in us is, and to know that it won’t stay that way forever.  I mean, we didn’t catch you when you fell into the couch.  We won’t be able to catch you ever y time.  It’s not even really our job, but right now it’s pretty amazing to know you believe in us that much.

You have the most incredible bubbly personality.  You rarely cry and you smile a lot.  The other day we were taking you into town to get your hair cut and it was all quiet in the backseat until all the sudden you burst out into happy laughing shrieks.  That was new – usually you complain loudly to us the entire time you are forced to endure a car ride.  This time, you kept up that pattern of silence punctuated by hysterical shrieks of laughter while we tried to figure out what game you were playing with yourself.  We’d do just about anything for that laughter – it is pure sunshine. 

You pretend to talk on the phone all the time, and in your imagination, just about everything you get your hands on can become a phone.  I’m not sure if this phone thing is an instinct or what, because probably nobody in the world talks on the phone less than I do, and yet it seems to come very naturally to you.  You must get that from your daddy.

Speaking of your daddy – he is pretty much your favorite person on the planet.  I mean, you like me okay, but you literally light up when Daddy walks in.  You like to watch out the window when we see his car pull in.  When you hear the garage door open, you perk up and start motoring towards it to greet him.  The other day I was throwing recycling into the bin in the garage.  You heard me open that door and I heard you shriek “DADA!” and start moving towards the door.  When he’s home, you follow him everywhere.  One of your favorite things to do is to wake him up on the weekends.  We walk into the bedroom quietly and then you start giggling as soon as you see him.  Once I lift you onto the bed you are all wiggles, bounces, and giggles until he wakes up and plays with you.  I don’t know who is more smitten, between the two of you.  There’s definitely a very special bond there.

Another month has gone by and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, I never got the 15 month blog published.  Too lazy to start from scratch, I’m leaving the 15 month that I had started as stands – and am picking up from there.  The last month – it has been a doozy.

You are the most fun and the most challenging that you have ever been.  You learn something new about yourself and about the world every day.  You test your limits constantly, which has us living in a constant state of near heart attack as you try to crawl up on rocking chairs, and use your infant bouncy seat as some sort of carnival ride.  You’ve had a few lumps on the head, but you don’t let them phase you much.  You cry and get snuggles for about 30 seconds and then you’re right back at it. 

You have developed some very strong opinions about things.  When things don’t work out the way you plan, you somehow, somewhere, learned how to throw an unholy tantrum.  Like, textbook style with the flailing and the stomping and screaming.  You’re not even really close to two yet, so this is a surprise.  Luckily for everyone, we do not respond well to theatrics, so the tantrums – so far – have been fairly short lived. 

The flip side to the tantrums is that you’re learning how to be an entertainer.  You figure out what makes us happy and you go nuts with it.  Sometimes that means putting your sunglasses on and running around the house.  Sometimes it means doing the same thing, only with your great grandpa’s hat on your head, slung so low that you can’t possibly see where you’re going.  A lot of times it means imitating a gesture we make – which is a favorite game of your dad’s.  He has you doing all kinds of crazy head tics and facial expressions.  I think this just means we have to be careful because pretty soon you’ll be mimicking our words. 

You LOVE to dance.  The barest snippet of music can set your little body wiggling.  You love to carry around your dad’s little Bluetooth speaker like a tiny boombox and jam to the songs he plays.  We think you already have your favorites.  You somehow figured out how to get the music to play on my phone too – so you occasionally can be found walking around dancing to that as well.  Clever, and adorable.  We are goners for sure.

You also love your cousins.  You had a couple sleepovers at Grandma Julie’s house with them in the last couple of months and you try so hard to keep up with the older kids.  You’re so interested in everything they do, you love to follow them around, even if you are always about 20 steps behind them.  You’ll catch up someday.  You’re actually interested in kids in general.  We had a doctor’s appointment last week and while in the waiting room you were enchanted by all the kids that came walking through.  You would walk towards them in a daze before finally realizing you’d walked away from me, then you’d turn back to me with a huge grin and run back into my arms.  I’m pretty sure those moments are the sweetest moments in all of parenting.  I love watching you explore your world, enchanted by all the new things you see and people you meet – but best of all, I love being your safe place to run to when you realize you’ve wandered further than you’re comfortable with.

Speaking of that doctor's visit -- you are currently in the 75th percentile for weight and the 10th percentile for height.  My short, stocky little guy.  You're a little bruiser!  You're on schedule or ahead of schedule on everything except talking.  The talking is getting there  though.  You say mama, daddy, Daisy, hi and buh-bye.  You say thank you - usually when you're giving something to me and not the other way around, but you're saying it!  You say "uh-oh" and something that sounds a little bit like the word "damn."  I'm almost positive that's not what you're saying, but we haven't figured out exactly what that word is supposed to be yet.

This past month you’ve started experiencing some separation anxiety.  You’ve always been pretty easygoing and didn’t care much about your surroundings, but we had to put you in back-up daycare last week and I noticed you were way more clingy when I had to leave in the morning.  By the middle of your stay there, you’d gotten better, but it was new territory for us.  You’ve developed a strong attachment to your Horton stuffed elephant.  At first I sent him with you to back-up daycare because I thought he might help you nap (you have always used him like a pillow in your crib) but now you want him with you all the time. 

It isn’t always easy – you’re cutting your eye teeth right now and you’re temperamental as all getout.  One minute you are giggling and shrieking with joy followed seconds later by a complete meltdown that we can neither predict nor stop.  But you have a laugh that lights up our worlds, you’re not old enough to not want to snuggle anymore (even if those snuggles come in 30 second increments these days), and the little person you are growing into is the most amazing person I have ever known.  You are beautiful and smart and kind.  I picked you up from back-up daycare one day last week, and the teacher told me that you had spent part of your day comforting older kids who were crying by patting them on the back.  I don’t even know how you know how to do that, but I know that there is practically nothing they could have told me that would have made me prouder.  My mama brain started envisioning nobel peace prizes and future sainthood.  But the reality of it is, if all you ever do is pat the kids who are having more trouble than you are on the back, and try to make them feel better about their situation, it will be enough for us and enough for the world. 

Happy 16 months my sweet boy. 

Love and kisses all over,