If I had to sum up the last six weeks in one word, it would be, "tootie!" We have lengthy dialogs which consist entirely of words ending in "ootie."
You: "Dat's tootie frootie, mom."
Me: "Tootie Frootie, bootie!"
You: "Bootie! No, tootie mootie!"
Me: "Tootie, frootie, mootie, bootie, hootie, footie."
You: "Tootie Fa-sootie!" (hysterical laughter.)
It's a high-brow art form, very intellectual and sophisticated. And HILARIOUS (to you.) Good ol' potty humor, never loses its charm when you're an almost three-year-old male. Last night dad was pinning you down and breathing right into your face (because apparently that never loses its charm?) and you told him, "dat smells like tootie, dad." And my heart almost beat right out of my chest because, Finally! I have a second witness to the fact that your father should always have a TicTac on his person.
So in addition to the tootie-pattie nonsense that consumes an awful lot of our cerebral capacity these days, we've also been doing some art projects together, you and I. The other night we blared some Rat Pack Christmas tunes over the computer speakers and made wreaths and Christmas trees out of construction paper and stickers. You got a hold of the scissors in an unsupervised moment and lacerated our masterpieces. I was noticeably disappointed with your contribution, so you quickly assured me, "dat's ok, mom. We can tape it." And we did. And now we have a Scotch-happy wreath hanging on our fridge that makes me smile every time I go to fill your sippy cup with milk.
I think that little escapade with the scissors was just evidence of the fact that you've become very eager to help me these past few weeks. Every time we come in from outside, you ask, "do you want me to take yer coat off, mom? Should I help you unzip it?"
And the other day when I was wearing a hooded sweater, you offered to "pull yer hood on mom, so you can be nice and cozy, ok?" And your most altruistic offer came in the bathroom a few days ago when you asked, "are you ready for me to wipe you, mom?" I'm happy to have you help me with my coat and my hood, Henry, but I hope I won't need assistance with my personal business for a long, long time.
This holiday season has been impossibly joy-filled, watching your face brighten every time we see a "Frosty" (every snowman=Frosty,) or pass a well-lit house. And I just about died inside the other day when I heard you telling your stuffed Elmo that, "Santa on'y brings toys to good children. So we need-a be a good boy, ok?" I think if we held a Henry's Favorite "Person" contest right now, Santa, the Grinch and Frosty would hold a three-way tie for first place. You talk about them incessantly:
"The grinch isn't really mean, is he, mom? He just had a small heart?"
"Frosty is a nice guy, huh mom?"
"I think Santa will bring me a helmet! So I can be like a football player and a baseball player."
I should also add that your father is another one of your heroes, and the best thing about him, Henry, is that he's a real person--real kind, real gentle, real good. I know I do a lot of things wrong as a mother, but I will go to my grave saying that I did one thing absolutely right; I chose to raise children and share joy and sorrow and pain and everything in this life with a genuinely good man. Your father. To this day, I haven't made a better choice than that one, Henry. It tickles me when I see you wanting to be like him. The other day you grabbed your "work bag," donned your Crocs and coat and told me you were, "going to catch the train fer work."
"Blow me a kiss," you insisted as you headed for the door.
When I asked you what you were going to do at work, you said, "I'm going to get us a surprise!" (Daddy brings you home a chocolate surprise from work almost every day.)
One of these days you're going to grow up and discover a few potentially disappointing things about Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman that you don't know right now. You're going to come to the deflating realization that going to work is way more complicated than chocolate retrieval. You're going to discover that there is pain worse than an ear infection and disappointment more bitter than leaving Target without that baseball helmet that you so desperately wanted. But if I were inclined to wager, I'd place a hefty sum on the fact that your father might be one of a very few things in this world that will not disappoint you. We're lucky, you and I. We're sharing life with a really good man. He loves you more than the fourth quarter of a really good ball game, Henry.
I do too,