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Has it really been over a month since I posted? I bet you won’t be surprised to hear Henry certainly isn’t waiting on these posts to continue to get bigger and smarter every day. He can now more or less tell us what he wants to eat (or more often, what he doesn’t want to eat). It’s helpful to hold out two items, say oatmeal and waffles, and let him pick. He recently discovered the taste sensation of mixing two food items together and gets a kick out of adding raisins to his oatmeal or dropping cereal into his yogurt. He impressed us with a new one at dinner the other night when he jammed a black bean onto a piece of bread (note: he had more than that for dinner.)

Remember Mickey and the Beanstock?

His love for balloons continues, and we’ve had to hold onto a red heart one he got for Valentine’s day from his grandparents, even though it is now just a deflated, crinkly sack on the floor. We read him The Bellybutton Book at night, and when we get to the part about balloons, he hops up, retrieves the balloon, and resettles himself while cradling it to his chest. Cute: he says “boon!” exactly like the little hippo in the book, and that will about melt your heart.

Henry makes up for the general messes he makes by being extra helpful with the cleaning up. Specifically, he likes to Swiffer.

J’s birthday was last weekend and Henry celebrated by getting J a new balloon and sharing a little vegan chocolate cake with dad.

Afterward, J tried to get Henry to admit he was a member of Henry Henry and the Messy Mess (presumably a hit punk band), but he wasn’t having any of it.
Working on a solo project, I guess.

We’re all happy the arrival of spring is imminent, but especially Henry. On the nice days, he can’t wait to go outside and can spend long stretches of time digging through dirt, picking up leaves, trying to get the dog next door to come to the fence, or just walking around. It’s been a long winter and he’s ready to be outside again.

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Henry got to visit the Stock Show while it was in town. Ever since the first time we went–back when I was pregnant–we’ve been anticipating the time when Henry would be old enough to go and enjoy all the animals. Grandma and Grandpa came with us, which turned out to be a big blessing because it was a madhouse there. Much to our happiness, Henry really enjoyed getting to see the animals up-close. The goat was very friendly, though probably hoping for treats we didn’t have.

Sheep have always been a bit of an inside joke. Since one of the first things Henry could say was “ba ba” for bottle, we were able to teach him pretty quickly what a sheep says. He really did seem to understand that they were two separate ideas and would always smile really big when we’d point to a sheep and ask him what it says. Other big hits of the day were the animals’ water bowls (gross) and a fantastic battery-operated spinning ball/light toy that Grandma bought for Henry. We were all completely wiped at the end of the outing.

Henry has recently learned how to say “Yes” and “No,” which has been really fun. Now when we present him with book or snack choices, he can state his preferences pretty clearly. He’s very quick to pick up or at least try out new words. His bath puff is a “buff” the mop a “bop;” he now goes “oof oof!” to imitate a dog barking, swings his arm around for an elephant, flaps his bent elbows for a chicken.

We bought a membership to the Museum of Nature and Science with Ohio grandparent Christmas money, and it’s been the best investment of the year so far. Henry LOVES the place. The bear dioramas are the biggest hit, though the Discovery Zone and the dinosaurs are also enthralling. We thought some of the exhibits might be too scary–like one depicting a dinosaur scene involving a sharp-toothed guy “roaring” while another devours an unfortunate piece of prey in the background. Nope. Loves it. We had to literally drag him away. This from a kid who was so terrified of a little inflatable chicken that came with a ball set that we had to sequester the fowl in the office.

Every day he becomes a little more of the person he is going to be and it’s so fun to be there for the process.

Here’s Henry sledding on Christmas with Grandpa (or Pop Pop, as he’s known around these parts)

Sorry to be such a slacker on the posting. I think we’ll just have to skip over Christmas, which was a smashing success, and continue on. Here are some things that Henry has been amusing us with lately:

The secret to making an ignored dinner edible? Bacos. Surprise, they are vegan! And Henry can’t get enough. Is this better or worse than a ketchup addiction?

He has started saying “Bye bye” not only when it’s time to go somewhere, but also to express displeasure or his desire to end an activity. So if you hand him a toy he doesn’t want to play with, he’ll shake his head and firmly say, “Bye bye. Bye bye.”

Sometimes a song will catch his interest and he will just rock it out. But you never know what it will be. One day it was Kelis’ “Milkshake,” then we had to stand in this obnoxious shoe store in the mall for three minutes while he devoured a music video by some band called War Tapes.

He might cry up a storm when falls on his butt unexpectedly, but if we toss him in the pack ‘n’ play, it’s like he’s in an ultimate fighting ring. Anything goes. We toss blankets or pillow on him and he throws his whole body backwards while shrieking in glee. It’s like his own version of an extreme workout session.

His new favorite thing is sitting in our big red chair or on the couch when we watch a little Elmo in the evening. He pats the cushions and says “Down!” We say, “Up, you want UP.” And he says, “Pup!” and then we help him up. He pats the cushion next to him for one of us to join him and he’s a barely containable fervor of excitement until the video begins.

This guy, man, we love him.

Despite our inability to find winter boots for Henry, he is loving all the snow we’ve had recently. We bundle him up until he looks like Randy from “A Christmas Story” and then hover over him while he launches himself into yards of thigh-high snow.

Henry has learned how to say “baby,” which will just about break your heart in half. It is one of the only very distinct words he has, where anyone could tell that was what he was saying. There was some worry when he started tapping my stomach and saying “bayyybee!” but we think he is just confusing “baby” with “belly.” To be clear: no babies in the belly.

Thanksgiving was a ton of fun. We like any excuse to dress this kid up in a sweater vest (hand-me-down thanks to Bricker cousins).

This was the first year he got to eat all the food and he loved it. Mashed potatoes by the handful, stuffing with raisins, cranberry sauce, rolls, fruit. He was in heaven. He told us he was full, but then we gave him a special egg-free cupcake and he made room, in true Thanksgiving spirit.

Finally, here’s a scene from lunch last weekend. Someone fell asleep in the car for two minutes just before lunch. He woke up enough for us to get him situated in the highchair, but as you can see, he proved to be a little un-awake after all.

Of course, he woke up fully the second we decided all was lost and put him in his crib for an early nap.

Henry is now a terror on two feet! No, that’s not quite true. He’s a very cute roaming dude, who occasionally walks around patting his stomach and looking content. The most entertaining part of him walking is that he retrieves random objects from around the house and presents them to you with great aplomb. “You may not know why I am giving you this plastic cheese container, Dad, but rest assured when the time comes you will be glad to have it.” So far no disasters have been averted by a solitary winter boot, but we’ll see.

We seem to have–however temporarily–solved his early waking habit. People suggested when he wakes up at five to give him some books and a sippy with water and let him entertain himself for an hour. As you might imagine, we laughed and laughed at this advice. But, as desperate parents are wont to do, we gave it a go. 5:00 am wake up gets a pile of board books and some water. And wouldn’t you know, it buys us another full hour. I have no idea what he’s doing in there, because I’m afraid to peek and get him all riled up that it’s time to wake up. Sometimes it’s very quiet and I’m guessing he’s fallen back to sleep. Other times I can hear him rattling around. Some mornings now, he even sleeps until 6:00 or–gasp!–6:30 without the books. In toddler time, that’s a minor miracle of sleeping in.

He’s probably tired from all his late-night carousing. One night after we went to bed, we heard a noise in the driveway and went out to investigate:

Only 14-months-old and already trying to sneak out! Good thing he can’t reach the gas pedal.

But really, he prefers his bike as a primary source of recreational transportation.

Much tastier.

Henry’s hair was getting a little out of control, and since my last attempt to get it out of his eyes resulted in a “mom haircut,” we decided to take him to the pros and let them work their magic on his mop. The magic is mostly in the form of dvds the stylists play at kiddie eye-level while letting them play with steering wheels in airplanes. And of course speed. Henry was totally on board at the beginning.

henry airplane

Then he got a little antsy and we had to distract him by letting him comb Dad’s hair while the stylist combed his.

henry comb dad

But by the end, no amount of exciting diversions could hold back the mini-meltdown.

post haircut

Two minutes later he was toddling around the waiting area waving at the dogs and cute little girls walking by, so not to worry.

Later that afternoon, we went to a nearby pumpkin patch, a tradition his Auntie Krista started last year. He slept through most of the experience then:

pumpkin patch baby

but this year he was all. about. the pumpkins. Or “balls” as he was sure they were called. He roamed around patting them and pointing out particularly appealing ones.


(video)

Near the check out there was a box full of small decorative gourds. We presented him with one and he went to bite it like he did the apple, which elicited laughs from everyone in line. Sensing a primed audience, he then proceeded to grab at the gourds and smack his lips while eyeing the crowd playfully. What a ham.

We got some snow on the ground and Henry was very excited to check it out.

snow 1

That is, of course, until he realized the pretty stuff was very cold and wet.

snow 2

The cold weather happened so fast, we weren’t properly prepared with all the proper toddler attire. A quick trip to Target fixed that and Grandpa Terry treated the guy to his first pair of winter mittens and a sweet hat that will make all the other baby snow boarders jealous. We also taught him a new trick. Henry, where’s your tongue?

tongue

He is full of surprises lately. While it wouldn’t have occurred to me to give my 13-month-old a whole apple, it certainly occurred to Henry to eat one. After a rigorous debate on the proper name of the fruit, (Me: “Apple.” Henry: “Ball!” Me: “Aaaaapuhhl” Henry:…”Ball!”) I let him examine it closer. Whereupon he opened wide and planted his mouth right on it. After a few teeth scraping yielded only peel, I helped him along by removing a portion of the red skin. He went to town on the thing using his own unperfected technique of scraping his bottom teeth along the fruit until a small portion made its way into his mouth. He could not believe I was holding out on him and is now suspicious of the supposed unpalatability of the raw potato we wouldn’t let him eat a few days ago.

In growing news, the buzzy chair that was on loan made its way back to us. Not quite the cozy, enveloping pouch it once was.
buzzy chair compare

Henry has always enjoyed blowing bubbles in his bath water and wasn’t daunted in the least when we decided to give him a bubble bath. Result: bubble beard.

3969634215_2f840eecb7

Bath time is one of his favorite times of day. If he’s in the other room and we start up the bath, he’ll drop everything and come tearing into the room. Then we line up all his bath toys on the side of the tub and he systematically tosses each one in the water. Recently, he developed a fun game for himself where he starts on all fours and then kicks his legs out really quick before tucking them back in, sort of like a frog. This never ceases to crack him up.

The little guy is battling an ear infection right now, which is no fun for anyone. We’re all ready to have our healthy boy back, which should hopefully happen sometime around Wednesday of next week, when he can stop taking the amoxicillin.

Henry has developed a very funny social laugh. He whips it out when everyone else is laughing for some reason and he wants to be included. It’s kind of a loud “AH AH AH AH!!” which usually makes us laugh more and eventually he is really laughing. Highly entertaining.

The ball video is so very two weeks ago. The new favorite is this Sony Bravia (brand loyalty) spot featuring paint.

That terrifying clown that pops out at the 34 second mark? Totally Henry’s favorite part. It’s refreshing to see a child find a clown entertaining, actually.

Poor little Henry has an end-of-summer cold right now, with a faucet nose and a bit of a fever. It’s too bad because otherwise he’s doing great. He’s not walking yet, but it’s a glimmer in his eyes. If you catch him unaware, he’ll stand on his own for a few seconds.

Henry has a great love for all fuzzy things. This is especially the case for dogs, but also for large stuffed animals, like bears and Elmo. With the inanimate objects, he demonstrates this love by falling head-first into their bellies and rolling around on the floor while smiling like a goon.

elmo

Sometimes he miscalculates the location of the stuffed object and will end up head-first on the floor, but he usually just plays it off.

When he feels like it, Henry can find objects that you ask for, namely balls, his dinosaur, his bear, and shoes. His (our) favorite is when we say, “Where is Trump?” and Henry looks right up to the bookcase where Trump is indeed sitting. We then lift Henry up to see if the Donald has any words of wisdom to impart. Sometimes it’s encouraging (“Never. Give. Up.”), sometimes baffling (“Try to avoid shaking hands when at all possible.”), but sometimes the baby does get fired. It’s a tough world.

In addition to throwing food off his highchair, an endless source of entertainment, Henry is now trying to train us to play fetch from his crib. He takes his beloved panda bear and elephant blankie and pretends to hug and love them until we leave the room. At this point, he hurls them over the side of the crib and then yells to indicate they are no longer in his possession. Unfortunately for Henry, Mom and Dad have a very limited amount of time they’ll entertain this (approximately twice), and then he’s on his own. The upside is, it does make me feel like a mom to go into his room after he’s fallen asleep and tuck the bear and blankie back into bed with him.

Henry had his first birthday party this weekend. His buddy V turned one and the birthday girl had everyone join her at Gymboree for some good times with colorful things to climb on and play with. Henry was a little overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the occasion and kept his apprehensive face on.

Here he is ripping it up at the hokey pokey:

vhokeypokey

We thought climbing through a long tunnel might not be on his to-do list,

vtunnel start

but he crawled on through like a champ!

Vtunnel end

Note the excitement coursing through his eyes. He’s working on another top tooth, so in addition to apprehensive-face, we also got stuff-jammed-in-the-mouth-face:

V H and V

vslide

vbasketball

Henry’s big 0-1 is just around the corner, so we’ll have to start planning our own party soon. He approved of V’s Elmo theme.