Somehow, he survived the wait of three weeks, and on his birthday, we went to the aquarium. In keeping with Henry form, he was rather reserved and quiet the whole way through. Lots to see, lots to look at, lots to think about, lots to be unsure of. He was getting his footing. He liked the sting ray tank, but was unsure about actually putting his hands IN the sting rays. He liked the komodo dragons, from a distance, but once that sucker started walking toward the glass, it was like, "Um, guys, LETS MOVE."
Actually, in retrospect, he showed a lot of good sense on that first walk through.
But then, once we had walked through the whole place, and he'd gotten his bearings a little, he went buck-wild, in classic three year old fashion.
First, we had to walk ALL THE WAY through the museum for one last (looooong) look at the sharks. SHARKS, MORE SHARKS, DID YOU SEE 'DOSE SHARKS! DAT SHARK IS SWIMMIN AT ME!
He pet a horshoe crab, listed to the ocean in a conch shell, touched a starfish, refused to touch a spider crab (because, c'mon, those things are nasty looking), and in a final feat of toddler bravery, he actually stuck his arm in the sting ray tank the second time around! But alas, his arms are quite short, so there was no actual touching of the stingrays. He did get thoroughly wet though, so all was not lost.
All in all, it was not a bad way to turn three.
|(um, the look on her face. RIGHT?!)|
We let him open one present on the morning of his birthday, before we left for the aquarium. It was the ONLY present he had been asking for, and he'd been asking for it for WEEKS: a Buzz Lightyear action figure that "puts him capes up."
(Somewhere along the line, Henry got wings & capes confused... sort of understandable if you think about it... and we think its hilarious and refuse to correct him.)
My parents & Annie & MC & DanDan came down for the weekend too, so they celebrated with us all day, and, of course, my mom brought a cake.
You guys, between my mother & my mother-in-law, I think I am set to NEVER bake my children a birthday cake. Ever. Both of them bake FABULOUS cakes, which are like, bakery-level delicious, and unparalleled in their beauty. Basically, they're amazing. (The cakes, as well as the moms.)
This year, my mom made Henry a dragon cake. Yeah, you heard me, a DRAGON. And, it breathed fruit-roll-ups of FIRE out of it's mouth. I can't even describe Henry's face when he saw it. It was epic.
I also can't describe my face when I ate it. IT WAS EPIC.
To say we love you to bits is a wild understatement. We love you to smithereens, to teeny weeny fragments, to nano-particles.
You have become such a big boy in the past few weeks: you dress yourself (except for socks), you come up with reasonable arguments for things, you climb higher and jump farther, you say THE CRAZIEST things to us, you have started to keep track of days of the week, and upcoming events and holidays, you tell us when you are mad, sad, 'fwustewated,' excited, being silly, scared, or 'super-happy.' It's like you're a real person or something. :) We love it!
You are a wonderful big brother to your sister Maggie. Granted, she drives you bonkers sometimes. She takes your toys, gets in your space, hits you on purpose, takes your food, and basically does her best to annoy the crap out of you. And even though she succeeds at pushing you to the limit sometimes, for the most part you have been incredibly generous and kind with her. You help her find toys & sippy cups, you talk to her about sharing and taking turns, you chase her around the living room to make her giggle and tickle her to make her squeal! You help her practice animal sounds and ask her where her nose and ears are. You love to say "Maggie is crazy!" or "What's Maggie doing? She's makin' a huge mess, dat silly girl!"
In the spirit of honesty, you also have given her three bloody lips in the past week. All on accident, of course. "I tink 'dat was an accident! Maggie needs some ice!" Clearly, you have absolutely no concept of the word, GENTLE. Everything is 110% with you. You also love to tattle on Maggie and scream NO at her. (But, as an older sibling myself, I totally get that last one.)
As you get older and older (OMG, get a grip self, he's THREE) I feel like we are starting to see more and more of the person you will become when you are an adult. It's very cool to see your personality emerging, and fun, and also a little scary. It impresses on your Dad and I, again, what a huge undertaking, what a huge responsibility we've gotten ourselves into.
Not just keeping you healthy and safe and (sometimes) happy, but shaping the person that you will become. Teaching you about the balance between pride and humility, between stewardship and generosity, talking to you already about the tension between good and evil, between kindness and cruelty, between what we can know and what we can only believe.
There are already so many ways that I feel like I am falling short. And it's both a blessing and a curse that you are to young to know it yet. To you Mama & Daddy are perfect and know everything and can always protect you. And I dread the day that you realize that you are wrong. That we're wildly imperfect, know next to nothing, and cannot protect you. Not always. Not from everything. Not the way we want to.
But we do love you. And I pray often, loudly, and sometimes a bit frantically that you will always know at least that much. That we love you more than we ever though possible. And that Jesus loves you even more than that.
Happy Birthday, Henry! You are officially, Big.
Mama (& Daddy & MagPie too)