I apparently gave up long ago on doing monthly newsletters– go figure that twin parenting takes up a LOT of time–, but I thought it might be nice to give an update about each of the boys. I’m starting with Henry, and really hoping that I eventually get the time to do a proper Jack update as well. But for now, enjoy this little description of what life is like with Henry at a couple of days shy of 14 months…
Each morning, my first sight of Henry is his little cotton-blond head popping up from H’s side of the bed, with a giant grin on his face, hearing his excited little giggles. He climbs over Papa, whump-whump-whump (he crawls like a herd of elephants…), and nestles in next to me on my right side, snuggling with his back against my side, his arm twined with mine, hand pinching my elbow skin, cheek against my arm, and his other thumb in his mouth. Sometimes, if Jack’s soundly asleep, I’ll roll onto my side and wrap him in big snuggles, and kiss his face, but if not, I content myself with turning my face toward him so I can bury my nose in the sweet swirling cowlick at the top of his head.
Once he’s awake, Henry spends quite a bit of time fishing board books out of the bins next to our bed and bringing them to me to read over and over again. Eventually, he decides it’s time to nurse and will crawl over to the nursing pillow, and try to pick it up, and whine or cry until I relent and get myself set up to feed him. This generally requires me getting out of bed to use the restroom, turning on the light, retrieving my book, and arranging he and his brother so that I can comfortably sit for a while to nurse them. And despite the fact that we have the same routine every. single. morning., Henry grouses and cries until I get him settled on the nursing pillow and happily latched on.
We spend some time laying around, reading books or just playing in bed while Papa takes a shower. Henry loves to be tickled, and knows exactly what I mean when I say, “I’m gonna get that belly!” He also likes to be hung upside down, either dangling from his hips or leaning back in my lap. And he loves “airplane” rides on my extended legs, or being tossed into the air. He really loves physical play. Sometimes we go to the play room to wait while Papa finishes his shower, and sometimes we play in the living room while I check my email, and sometimes I start changing diapers and getting everyone ready for the day. But usually, Papa takes over and gets Henry dressed and fed. Henry is very vain, and loves to wear nice clothes and to look in the mirror while he gets his hair brushed. He loves to try to brush his own hair, too.
Papa then takes Henry to eat some breakfast. Henry really loves yogurt and fruit, but he’ll eat almost anything these days. He’s not terribly fond of most vegetables, but he does like almost any fruit and will eat many vegetables that we feed him from our plates. Here are some things that Henry will eat a lot of:
bits of string cheese
berries, especially blueberries or strawberries
cut up fruit-filled cereal bars
graham crackers with cream cheese
cheddar or veggie Pirate’s Booty
diced peaches, kiwis, cherries or oranges
bacon (just discovered this the other day… of course he loves bacon– he is my kid!)
shredded parmesan cheese
Here is what Henry does not eat a lot of:
puffs (unless he’s really hungry, though he does like to play with the container a LOT)
bananas (he likes banana sometimes, but not every day and not as much as he likes other fruits)
most meat, though he’ll eat some ground beef with pasta on occasion, or bits of other meat off of my plate
most vegetables, unless they come off of my plate
After eating, Henry usually goes with Papa to the playroom. Henry loves the crawling tube that he got recently. He likes to crawl inside and take other toys with him, or to just crawl to the middle and sit by himself. Henry is starting to get really good at climbing things, and he can climb the slide on our mini-fort in the playroom all by himself. He loves to put things into bins and dump them out of bins, and the louder the clatter when dumping things, the better. He also likes the alphabet toy where he fits blocks onto spots on the train, and he loves the chunky safari puzzle (he cracks up when the alligator attacks the ostrich– funny Mama! Though we haven’t yet figured out who wins when the alligator attacks the lion…). He likes the nesting bowls (they clatter really loud!) and he loves the alphabet building blocks (though he mostly likes dumping these out of the bag over and over again). He also is still a big Peek-A-Boo fan (peek-a-boo with a blanket, peek-a-boo with a toy bin, peek-a-boo with a pillow, etc.– he will put almost any object in front of his face and wait for me to ask, “Where’s Henry??”), and also likes riding toys (the corn-popper ride-on toy is a huge hit) and the toy xylophone and other music toys (especially the egg shakers and maracas)
He loves to laugh and he recently started singing more and more often. Henry likes to mimic sounds, too, everything from Papa’s sneezes, to clicking tongues, to new words. Henry recently started saying, “All Gone!” (well, more like “aaah onn!”) while gesturing with his hands, turning his palms upward. He almost seems to know what it means, but he hasn’t yet said it by himself, just repeating me when I’ve already said it.
Henry loves music and loves dancing (toys that play music are a big hit!). The ABC song is the current favorite in any of it’s various forms (ABCs by India Arie, ABCs by Ray Charles, ABCs by creepy electronic singing bear, ABCs en espanol!), though he also loves various orchestral pieces and also Backe Backe Kuchen, Schnappi, Bruderchen Komm Tanz Mit Mir, and other German songs. He mostly just bobs up and down to most songs, but if a piece of music is particularly moving, he’ll sway side-to-side. He also likes to climb into the glider and sway himself forward and back– he just likes that movement, I think. He likes to sing along with me, and he’s even starting to come close to matching pitches, and occasionally can repeat a rhythm I’ve made. As I mentioned, Henry loves to bring me books, and his favorites are always ones that have a natural spoken rhythm (like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, which he will occasionally “read” to himself, turning the pages and repeating “Ba ba, Ba ba.”). These books he will make me read over and over and over again until I simply refuse to read them again.
After we drive Papa to work, we sometimes go to the park. Henry loves the swings, but mostly, Henry really likes climbing, and because of this, he often gets himself into situations that are a little dangerous (trying to back down a set of stairs and instead letting his feet dangle off the platform next to the stairs… or climbing to the top of a really tall slide and leaning out head-first!). It’s great to see him climbing all over the place, because he still doesn’t stand or walk, really. On occasion, if he’s bracing himself against me and I step away, he’ll stand for a few seconds before realizing that he’s unsupported and falling down. He’ll also let me hold his hands and “walk” him here or there sometimes, but usually, he prefers to crawl. But, knowing Henry as I do, I have no doubt that he’ll start walking when he is good and ready! All the same, it’s nice to see him crawl around on the playscapes at the park.
If we don’t go to the park, we sometimes go to the market. Henry loves to smile at all the people he sees, but he sometimes cries if someone gets too close too quickly. He also cries when I put fruit in the cart, because he wants to eat it right away! He also loves tossing things out of the basket. Actually, he just likes to throw things generally. When he’s done with a toy– fling! Tired of a piece of food? Fling! Water cup in the way? FLING! So yes, when we leave the store, I often am missing an item or two because Henry has decided to liberate it from the grocery cart without me noticing. And some days, if we don’t go to the market or the park, we go to the library for story time. Henry loves to do the hand motions to various songs, but sometimes he gets a little shy and wants to cuddle instead.
And Henry loves to cuddle. He is currently obsessed with any soft, squishy parts of me– the soft spots on the back of my arms, my squishy belly. He’ll do whatever he can to lay his face against some cuddly spot and pop his thumb into his mouth. It doesn’t much matter where we are, if he decides he wants this type of comfort, he gets really upset if I can’t give it to him (sorry, sweetheart, but no one at Whole Foods needs to see my belly, no matter how much you want to pull up my shirt and pat it!).
Henry has become a pretty good napper. He usually sleeps for close to two hours, maybe even three, when he goes down for a nap, though some days it can take a long, LONG time to convince him to actually go down in the first place. And several times recently, he has woken up from a nap and scared the heck out of me by crawling out of the bedroom and sneaking quietly into the living room where I usually sit while they nap. He usually wakes up pretty happy from his nap, ready to tackle the rest of his day. We go and pick Papa up from work, and once we’re home, Papa usually takes Henry back to the playroom to play while I get a few minutes to myself. Sometimes, we go out to eat after we pick Papa up, sometimes we run more errands, but regardless of what we do, most days, we are home and getting ready for bed by around 7:30. Henry is almost always ready for bed by this point, but if not, we’ll spend some time playing in pajamas.
Henry takes a bath every other night, and he LOVES bath time. He loves pouring water out of the bathtub (not Papa’s or my favorite trick of his, but he sure does like it…), and he loves watching water being poured out of a cup from up high into the tub. And he loves getting his hair brushed after his bath. And he loves to look at himself in the mirror wearing his pajamas. And he loves to read more books before bed (though he will go and get the nursing pillow if he feels like he isn’t in the mood for more books). He usually goes to sleep pretty quickly and stays asleep well for several hours. He does sometimes wake up briefly around 11, but on a good night, he sleeps through until 5 a.m. or so, and at that point, can almost always be coaxed back to sleep for another couple of hours. He likes to nurse back to sleep when he wakes, but most of the time, he’s perfectly happy with Papa rocking him back to sleep. Sometimes (less and less often though, thankfully!), no one but Mama will do. And I love to snuggle with Henry at night, but because I am usually already snuggling with Jack, it’s very hard on my back to try to have a baby on each arm for long amounts of time. Plus, Henry can be a somewhat restless sleeper, and spends a lot of time tossing and turning, which would be fine, except that when he’s in my bed, there’s not a lot of room for tossing and turning. One of the hardest things for me is to deny Henry his cuddles when he wants them; it’s one of the many times I wish there were two of me so that I could be fully present for both babies, and give them each what they really want. Sigh.
Henry is such an awesome kid. I love getting to know him as the months pass. He’s a little bit territorial sometimes and will bite you to let you know when you’ve gone too far (as his poor brother can attest…), but on the whole, he is so loving and generous. He loves to share his food with Papa or me, or even sometimes with Jack. He is so content just to be held and hugged. He’s funny, making funny sounds or silly faces to make us laugh. He loves to laugh with Jack– they have inside jokes already that I totally don’t get. I know every mother thinks it, but I really do think he’s just adorable– his sweet white-gold curls and his wide-set baby blue eyes, and his adorable pout (gets that one from Papa…). I just love everything about him (yes, even the difficult bits, though I suppose I love those a little less than his sweetness!).
So. To my Hen-Ben, Bennaboo, Butterbean, my baby boy:
Of all the things I hope you know about yourself, most of all, I hope you know how much I absolutely love you and adore you, no matter what. You are such a delightful little sunshine boy, and I cannot wait to see what you become!