So, if Maggie is 9 months old, then that means that Henry is two and a half years old. TWO AND A HALF YEARS OLD. YEARS, I SAID, YEARS. Two and a HALF of them.
I'll just let that sink in for a minute.
Do you need a tissue? A hug? Oh, just me? Fine.
I love you SO FREAKING MUCH. I have a list that I've been jotting down over the past few weeks of things that I want to be sure to include in this letter, things that I want to be sure I tell you, things I want to be sure to remember.
But, there's just no way I can capture who you are right now in words. You're like, a REAL PERSON now, and it's unbelievable to watch you unfold more and more each day.
But, I'm your mom, and I've got this blog, and it's the closest thing to a baby book you're gonna get, so I've got to at least give it a try. Ready?
On the morning of this picture, you got into your Dad's hair gel. You looked so hilarious when I found you, sitting on the bathroom floor with a giant green gob on your head, that I didn't have the heart to fuss at you, so we just made it into a mowhawk and went with it.
You are potty trained, and I could NOT be happier about it. You still need reminders to go every few hours, but it's been awhile since you had an accident. You also have been dry at night & naps for a couple weeks, so I let you try taking a nap in your underwear and that was IT. You are totally insulted if I suggest a diaper at night or nap now, and so far, so dry! I'm convinced that the key to your easy potty-training has been your underwear.
You picked out a pack of Thomas the Train underwear when we first started, and last week I bought you another pack of Toy Story underwear. YOU ARE OBSESSED WITH THEM. Each morning it is a painstaking decision as to WHICH pair of underwear you will wear. Thomas? Buzz Lightyear? Circles and Trains? Green Trains? Rex? Three Trains on The Booty? Yesterday when K arrived in the morning, you greeted her by pulling down your pants and announcing, "Look K, I have Woody on my booty, on my underwear!" It was totally awesome and I sort of hope that you do it again.
You remind me all the time that you are a big boy. AND YOU ARE. You carry dishes to the sink, you put on your own shoes, you go potty by yourself, you bring Maggie things, and, Henry, you talk. You talk so much, and so bizarrely adult-like. I guess your Dad and I are pretty wordy people, so maybe this shoudn't be a surprise, but still, I am suprised DAILY by the things you say.
You started to stutter a couple months ago, and although I wasn't too worried about it, we paid a visit to Dr. Google just on principle, where the FIRST WebMD link I clicked on informed me of this:
Transient dysfluency (temporary stuttering) is typically seen in 2-
to 4-year-olds. Children who develop it are usually extremely verbal and often advanced for
their years. The dysfluency results from their talking abilities going
faster than the language centers of their brain. It’s as if their brain
can’t catch up to their motor mouth, so it slows things down by
repeating sounds over and over (i.e. by stuttering).
Yup. Motor mouth. That's you, kiddo.
You've also graduated to the point where you mostly understand jokes and you sort of understand sarcasm, WHICH I LOVE. When we're getting ready to go somewhere, you'll often ask "Henry come too?" To which I respond, "Nah. I'm just gonna leave you here. Sweet Potato will take care of you." "Nooooo," you will say, and laugh. "Henry goes with Mama." Then you like to wait a beat... "We just leave Maggie here?" you ask with a glint in your eye.
You love to talk about 'the plan' and will often ask me, "Mommy, what da plan? Let's talk about the plan." And then I will list for you all of the things that we're going to do that day, or what's going on over the next few days. You love to the repeat the plan back to me. "I get dressed, eat bekfast, den K come over, den we play, den Maggie have milk, den we get in da new van and go to da liberry!"
I also tried to teach you the phrase 'excuse me' recently, in order to get you to stop saying "Mamamamamamamamamamamamamamamamamamamama" until my eardrums bled. It has sort of backfired, because it has given you a real sense of entitlement and now you will just YELL at the TOP of your lungs, "EXCOOSE ME, MAMA, SORRY, MAMA, EXCOOSE ME, MAMA, SORRY MAMA, EXCOOSE ME MAMA, I NEED YOU MAMA, EEEEEXXXXCCCCOOOOOOSSSSSEEEE MEEEEEEE." Real cute, Hen, real cute.
A few weeks ago, your Dad was reading you stories before bed and you said, "Hey, Dad, how 'bout, we put dis book down, go to my woom, and I show you sumpin cool?" It was your brontosaurus. It was very cool. Another favorite recently was when you interrupted your Dad and said "EXCOOSE ME, Dad, I have to ask you a 'portant question! Where my bronto?" (That's short for brontosaurus, DUH.)
This leads perfectly into the announcement that YOU LOVE DINOSAURS. You have four plastic ones that you got at the dollar store, and you love them deeply. You look for dino books whenever we are at the library, and your favorite one by far has been "Patrick's Dinosaurs."
As much as you love dinosaurs, you love Toy Story more. It was the first movie you ever saw, and you've never looked back. You've now seen Toy Story 1, 2, and 3, at least 8-10 times each. Honestly, you've probably seen the original Toy Story 20 times by now. (Look! See my awesome parenting!) You've also seen Monsters Inc, Tarzan, Finding Nemo, and Ratatouille. You love them all, but continue to insist that we just order you Toy Story AGAIN on Netflix. "Mom, get on compooter, tell Netfix I need Toy Story, den mailman bring it to me." Then, multiple times a day for the next three days: "Mom, I check da mail. Maybe Toy Story here! Prolly not. Takes a coupla days. I check, dough. Maybe it be here."
You also like to pretend that you are Buzz Lightyear, and will make me refer to you as Buzz while you do things like zoom around the room and go "to infinity and beyond!"
You still love books. A quality which I share, love, and shamelessly encourage with frequent trips to the library and having reading time together every day. Your dad and I both think it is HILARIOUS when you read to yourself. It's amazing how much you remember and repeat back when you are 'reading' to yourself. We also think it's really funny that you insist on having us read the full title, AND the author's name, AND the illustrator. I think I did it once or twice, out of sheer boredom, and it just got stuck in your head and it's now a necessary piece of information for you to have before you can enjoy a book.
You are SO happy that K is back for you to play with this fall. You guys are two peas in a pod, and it is so cute. Your favorite thing to do together is play in the play kitchen "makin dinner" or be outside. You are both so good at playing with Maggie too, and I continue to be shocked at how much you like your baby sister.
You are Maggie's biggest cheerleader, and you love to yell things like "This is how you drink water, Maggie!" "This is how you eat a sammich Maggie!" "You can do it Maggie!" "Cwawl to Henry!"
My favorite is how you announce things about her, like "Maggie standin' up!" "Maggie wavin to me!" or "Maggie eatin' sumpin yucky!" You also love to tattle on her, which is actually sort of helpful at this point. I'm sure it'll get annoying soon enough, though.
A friend was over a couple of days ago with her newborn baby. You LOVE checking out babies, and as you were peering at hers, she asked you if you wanted to have a new baby in your family. Without missing a beat you responded, "No, I just got a Maggie." So, so, so, funny, and for the record, your father agrees with you. At least for a little bit longer. :)
I just said this about your sister, and now I have to say it about you, too: you LOVE your Dad! Every morning when he leaves you say "I sad! I miss Dada!" You get SO excited when he comes home at night, and the first thing you say on Saturday morning is "It Saturday? Dada no go to work today?" You want to eat what he eats for breakfast, you want to be where he is, you even cross your arms and try to stand the way he does. It's a pretty smart move on your part, kiddo. Your Dad is an awesome guy; be as much like him as you possibly can.
You have a full-fledged personality now, and it is enough like mine that we butt heads frequently. Your mother is a bit of a control freak and a know-it-all and she's impatient and you miiiiiight be some of those things too, and I'm sorry. We'll work on it together.
Henry, I said it in the first sentence of this letter, but I have no better way to say it, so I'll just repeat myself: I love you SO FREAKING MUCH. I'm tempted to tell you that there's no possible way that I could EVER love you more than I do, right now, in this moment, on this day. But, I won't tell you that.
You see, Henry, I am two and half years and two children into this parenting thing. I know the secret that I never could have understood the first time I held you in my arms.
I know that
even though, today, I love you immensely, otherworldy, unimaginably
much, tomorrow I will love you a little bit more. And the next day a bit
more, and the next, and the next, and the next. Every day a little bit
more, because everyday, you are a little bit more.
even on the days when you drive me absolutely crazy and I do not like
you one little bit, I will still love you imeasurably and infinitely.
And I know that it's not because of me. It's not because I am a great mom, or you a perfect son, or anything else that I could possibly take one iota of credit for. The way I love you could not possibly be of myself. I am too selfish, too arrogant, too short-tempered, and too self-indulgent to have anything this pure and lovely and focused happen within me on my own.
I love you because of Christ. Because He loves you. Because He loves me. Because I am His child, and you are His child, and you are my child. Because of mystery and common grace and the secrets of biology and of earth and of eternity.
Because I just can't help it,