Monday, February 23, 2009

You in All Your Almost-Four Glory

Dear Henry,

You are sunshine.

You make up funny games and even funnier names for them. Two of my favorites:

*FireBurn: we make a little pile of toothpicks (the fire) and then you gather up all of your cars and toys and place them around the fire and pretend that they are keeping themselves warm and eating "delicious hot schmoes." I also like the way you have turned the word "match" into a verb. In context: "Mom, you can match the fire this time." (We don't really match a fire, we just pretend).

*Coveress: you spread Lily's blankets and your batman cape over all the toys. Then you take them off. Then you cover them again...repeated until you are sick of the game. (Takes a surprisingly long time for you to tire of this.) Your favorite character in all of animation is Tigress from Kung Fu Panda. A few days ago, you asked me about the snake's name (also from Kung Fu Panda), I told you that I didn't know his name. Your eyes lit up and you said, "I know! His name is Snake-ess." I mention that here because you seem to have a little fetish with adding "ess" to the end of words, thus the name of the game: coverESS. Funny.

You say things that are pricelessly almost-four. Almost big. Almost correct. Almost too cute to deal with. We got a big book about baseball at the library the other day. We look at it daily. The other day you pointed to a picture of a player and an umpire and said, "Mom, I'll be this guy (pointing to the player) and you can be the vumpire."

And at church yesterday, you asked me, "Mom, why do those big men talk into the microwave?"

And after church, you told me, "Mom, I saw you at church today holding Lily and she was asleep. Yep, she was wide asleep."

And the other night at dinner (while being talked to sternly by your father), you covered your face with both hands and said, "but dad, sometimes boys just get frustrated!" You like to project your desires/feelings onto a broader horizon of brotherhood, saying things like, "But mom, boys like to chew two pieces of gum, not one!" And "boys sometimes don't need to have quiet time 'cause they just want to be loud" and "boys just like to wear their shoes on the wrong feet sometimes."

Henry, this weekend you threw the twiggy remains of a cluster of grapes into the toilet. And then you pooped on it. Dad, worn thin from a morning of Scouting for Food with the young men, was irritated, and adamant that you remove the grape stem from the toilet. He suggested a fork. I came in to inspect. Gross. . .but kind of funny in its randomness (and in the bewilderment on your cute little face). And I could not help laughing when you said, "Mom, dad said we should use a fork to get it out. So you needa go get one. Make sure you get the poop fork, mom." The notion that we would have a designated "poop fork," and the fact that you'd conjured such a silly thought, were hilarious to me.

The other night dad had to go visit someone. He left me with a kitchen-ful of dirty dishes and two tired children. I was already feeling fragile and the prospect of doing the bedtime routine alone looked like Everest. I'm not even going to brush teeth tonight, I thought to myself, so anxious to get you and Lily to bed so I could take a bath and shave my 4-inch leg hair.
After I got Lily down, you were at my side, eyes went aglow with excitement, "Now we can have some mama and Henry time! We can play fireburn or have a li'l movie party or read stories. WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT, MAMA!" You were so excited. I was not, but I didn't have the heart to dash your hopes for fun. Sustained by the thought that one day you wouldn't be so delighted over an evening with your mother, I consented to an abbreviated version of FireBurn and a few stories. My love for the time with you coexisted with my excitement for your bedtime and gradually paled to exhaustion.

There is so much more to say about you, Henry. I haven't even mentioned sticks or spotty scopes (please see exhibit A), or the fact that you're a terrific big brother to Lily. I guess there will have to be a Part II to this letter. But for now, just know that I love you. I love to picnic on the back porch with you. I love to play FireBurn and Coveress with you. I love to read stories with you and talk about our day before you go to bed. I love the way you make everything a party -- pajama parties, movie parties, lunch parties, wash-mouth parties; you have a knack for seeing the magical in the mundane.

You help me see it, too...

Exhibit A

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Spotty Scopes
The little one in front is the one you made for Lily.
She ate it, but the thought was sweet.

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Playing feet

This makes me smile. You got Buzz for Christmas and the first thing you wanted was for Aunt Kate to write your name on the bottom of his foot. "Just like Andy!" you declared.

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Making silly faces in PhotoBooth is one of our favorite pastimes

And STICKS! Your love of sticks could (should) be a post unto itself. One morning, when your stick love was at its zenith, I walked around the house and snapped pictures of all the sticks lying around. Here's what I found:




The real story behind all these pictures is that you came into bed with me one morning, with the two pictured sticks, and you poked me with one (accidentally). I wasn't happy about it and sent you to your room. Then I started noticing just HOW MANY sticks were laying around and I thought I'd better document it. When I went in your room to tell you to come out, I found you in your bed...with another stick! I don't love having a stick-zoo for a house, but I do think you're darling.


  1. Oh I love the sticks! And I love that you are using them to capture the essence of Henry at this age. He is sticks! Such a grown up boy! I love how he refers to himself as "boys". I say things to Avery all the time in terms of "little girls", as in, "its time for little girls to go to bed", or "that's not for little girls to play with". I can't wait to hear her thoughts someday too!

  2. Such cute things Henry says! I love your letters to Henry.

  3. There are few things I love the way I love Henry posts. They are so, so familiar (except sticks = markers at our house. And our toilet bowel conversation didn't involve a grape stem or a poop fork.) So glad you capture these things. They are so, so dear!

  4. Hey Em, I really miss yall and I really want to see yall again!!! Love ya!!!

  5. Em, this is one of the most endearing mom posts I've read. Henry makes me laugh out loud. I love, love, love these stories about him. Coveress! HA! It makes me smile every time a think about it. I also love fire burn. What lucky moms we are to raise these entertaining little people. Really, who needs tv?

  6. Oh yeah, and the poop fork, how could I forget the poop fork. Did Nate make you fish your floss out with a floss fork? :)