Two years ago, a tiny (well not really) little naked boy lay on my chest and I met my son. He was so sweet, soft, fresh, and cried loudly for quite a number of those first minutes. I knew him and didn’t know him at all in that moment, but I loved him instantly and held him tightly while the room buzzed around us. Henry made me a mom, he made David a dad, and he made us a family. We left the hospital a few days later excited by and deeply frightened of the new level of responsibility that commenced. While the first days and weeks and months were a blur of diapers, nursing sessions, and naps, they were beautiful and I love looking back on those memories. I wish so often to go back to those moments to cuddle him longer and smell his newness again.
Henry is now 731 days old (2016 is a leap year!) and each one of those days was filled with laughs, adventures, tears, and playfulness. Each day I am reminded to let things go, put down the to-do list, and to just live in the moment, to get down on the ground and dig holes with my bare hands, and to just see the world a little more lightheartedly. When I caught myself saying “don’t go into the stream with your shoes on,” I had to pause and think, does it really matter if his sneakers are wet? And let him charge into the water to play and let his toes wrinkle. The days may be long at times but the years are short and savoring Henry’s childhood is my joy. This past year has brought about tremendous growth and development in Henry’s personality! His independence is growing by leaps and bounds. He wants to dress himself, feed himself, and climb in and out and over everything. He beams with pride when he accomplishes something like finishing a puzzle and claps with glee when we tell him how proud we are of him. Yes, he has tantrums and yes there are a lot of “no’s” but these do not take away from his sweetness. They are glimpses into the young boy he is growing into and I love the many sides of him.
Talking non-stop everyday and trying to copy songs on the radio fills our car. He loves to sing along to Adele, One Call Away by Charlie Puth, and Lost Boy by Ruth B. He delights in making us laugh and tries so hard to be a little clown. He is an observer of social settings and waits to let his hair down. But, once he does, he gives of himself openly and fully. It is a trait I hope he continues to nourish. He loves his little brother and constantly asks “What Owen doing?” and rushes in to kiss him or caress his head (we are still working on sharing toys with him, haha). Before bed he sings the ABC song while snuggling his Maggie Dog and rolling back and forth under his blue crochet blanket. Trucks are probably his favorite toys. Garbage trucks, cement mixers, bulldozers, and pick-up trucks entertain him for hours. He grabs his teddy bear and dances around the house when it is family dance party time. When he spies a puzzle, he plops down and gets to work. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and Henry loves to eat almost anything except carbs. While he is not a fan of macaroni and cheese or pizza, he loves his broccoli, chicken, berries, avocado, steak, yogurt, fruit leather, and eggs. When he feeds me cheerios, my heart melts as we sit side by side on the couch. When I shout, “Emergency Henry a blow out,” he drops his toys and runs to grab me a diaper for Owen. He is super cautious. Little hills and slides at the playground require some handholding before he will go it alone, and he is a stroller kid preferring to lounge with his sippy cup while being pushed around. A little chef in the making, Henry sits with me in the kitchen during dinner prep and runs away stealing a pot to “cook” up a storm in his playroom. Henry wants so badly to communicate in full and complete sentences and if a word escapes him he makes up a gibberish filler and smiles ear to ear. After naptime, he needs a snack and cuddle because he is a bit of a crank but who could say no to all of his hugs? He calls himself peanut and Owen nugget and gathers books by the armful. He could read all day long and has a bin of books for the car that he gobbles right up.
Everyone says “Oooo the terrible twos” when I say Henry’s milestone birthday is upon us, but I am not nervous for this year. I cannot wait for it! I cannot wait to watch him play more and more with David and to take little adventures with his daddy. I cannot wait for him to play with his brother and to protect him and teach him. I cannot wait to see what he finds fascinating, what he wants to do, and who he continues to become. I hope he continues to build friendships, connects with others, remains curious, playful, independent, empathetic, excited, inquisitive, and seeks love, knowledge, and experiences with others around him. I want all the good things in life for him but also know that as he continues to grow he will need to learn how to confront, cope, and rebound from the things that happen in life that aren’t so great. But being this little kiddo’s mommy is the best role in life and I am so lucky and blessed to have it. He makes David and me want to be better, stronger, and healthier so we don’t miss a beat with him. Gosh, we love him!! He is full of mischief and his side smile proves it. It is going to be quite a year this year two, terrible or not, here we come!