Brotherly love

Video

Just a little brotherly love this morning.

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Hugs

Usually the hugs that Henry lavishes on Frederick involve a lot of squeezing, World Wrestling Federation style. This morning, as per usual, upon reaching the living room with a freshly-awakened-from-slumber Frederick on my shoulder, Henry excitedly exclaimed, “Mama, bring Frederick here, I want to give him a HUG!”  I sat down next to Henry with Frederick on my lap and it was a sweet surprise to see Henry give the most gentle hug and a light kiss on Frederick’s cheek, followed by a barely audible, “I love you, Frederick.”

Kissy

…aaaand we’re back.

The season of giving thanks and seeing my boys grow up before my very eyes has moved me to give it another go. I may have lost any audience due to posting inconsistencies but anyone who knows me knows my memory is really quite terrible and at least this way there will be a (somewhat) accurate accounting of just what the heck went on when the boys were young.

Witnessing the following event had me a bit nervous: playing with his Lego figures, Henry proudly thrusts one toward me and announces, “this is a boy Lego.” Out juts his other hand as he proclaims, “this is a girl Lego. And they are kissing.” (smoochie-smooch-smooch noises as he presses the two Lego figures’ plastic can-shaped androgenous hairless faces together) Hmmm. I was just preparing to remind him that we don’t kiss friends when out of nowhere a Lego sword pierces the boy Lego and he falls to the ground (groooooan) and dies. And THEN the sword attacks girl Lego and she falls down dead. So then I felt more at ease with things.

 

Birthday massacre

The sound of machine gun bullets. Shadowy figures lurking in hallways. Footsteps running from place to place.
A slight Police Officer draws his gun and yells out, “You’re going to jail, old man!”

“You’ll never get me, copper!” is the booming reply from the tall Bad Guy.

More shots and cackling laughter.

This isn’t a scene from an Al Capone movie, rather, it’s a scene from Henry’s 4th birthday party, at which he received a Police Officer costume and his first Nerf guns, along with some other cool stuff.  The Bad Guy was his Uncle Karl, who also sported several Nerf guns, along with his older cousins, Allison, John, and James. The older cousins have been amassing an arsenal of Nerf weaponry for a couple of years. They plan and execute elaborate plots against unsuspecting family members at each family get-together. And now Henry will join in on the action.

John and James receive Angry Birds shirts, cool!

Henry’s birthday falls between John’s and James’ and they and their parents have been kind enough to let us horn in on the birthday activities and celebrate Henry’s at the same time.

This year was the best yet. The weather was nice, the food was delicious, the company delightful and the kids, well, they were wonderful. Henry didn’t hang around his dad’s neck as in years past. He even ran around with the cousins, alternating between plotting the mission and attempting to arrest them. He’s a double agent, no doubt.

Everyone loves to hold a baby that they can give back when it cries, so we had many open arms for Frederick. Even though he’s still trying to get rid of an ear infection and didn’t nap from 1:30 – 9:00 PM, he was chill and observant and generally happy. Infant being held by others + preschooler happily running around playing police officer with other kids = parents who can have real, live, actual conversations with other adults and can use both hands to eat their food.

My sister-in-law, Marci, planned most of the party and did 99% of the preparations, including cooking and decorating, not to mention making a wicked good salted caramel icing on a moist and lovely cake. If you like the kind of icing where you can feel the sugar crystals (I do!), then this icing can’t be beat. The cakes for John and James were Snickerdoodle and Salted Carmel Mocha flavored (she has picked up on my SCML obsession!) and were artfully decorated with Nerf “bullets.” I designed the Batman-themed cupcake pull-apart cake for Henry, but a local bakery does the rest (vanilla and chocolate cake, heavenly buttercream frosting) and I think they do a nice job. Other food highlights include your standard yummy cheesy potatoes and restaurant style cole slaw. The pièce de résistance was surely the amazing porketta sandwiches – flavorful shredded pork on a bakery bun, dressed with a mozzarella slice, wrapped in foil and warmed in an oven. I am serious when I say that I very much wish that I had a sandwich or two right now. You know, to go with my morning coffee.  And that pretty much goes for any time of the day. The other fun part about the sandwiches is that they were lovingly put together by me and my big brother. I really should have taken some photos of the food. Sister in law! Sister in law!

Batman cupcake pull-apart cake.

Although we missed the annual retelling of the time when a shirt-tail relation of mine criticized me for cutting the pieces of MY cake for MY son too largely which resulted in several snarky comments from me, along with me downing a drink spiked from a smuggled-in bottle of vodka, it was really a very nice day, made even sweeter by the friends and family who were able to join in the celebration with us.

The final part of the “massacre” is watching Henry blow out the candles of the cake. He waits patiently for the singing to end and then just explodes on the candles. I couldn’t help but be so proud, but I can’t tell you why, exactly. It simply brings a smile to my face.

Maybe I’m smiling because I just can’t believe that my nephews are turning 12 (yesterday! hooray!) and 8 (in May!).  Most of all, I can hardly comprehend that my little boy, that little guy I can still picture being handed to me by my doctor, arms and legs outstretched in every direction, purpley-pink body, eyes squeezed tightly shut and mouth open wiii-iiiide, I can hardly believe that he is four years old today.  How blessed am I?

Henry, moments after birth. 🙂

My 4 year old likes to correct you

A while ago I noticed that when people begin sentences with the word “actually” it really kind of rubs me the wrong way…. especially when the sentence is directed toward me.  “Actually, yada yada yada.”  Internal harrumph and bristling. I can’t put my finger on why that would bother me.  A sentence directed toward me beginning with “Actually…” seems at best intended to get me to see something from another’s point of view and at worst, designed to correct me.

Recently my almost 4 year old started using the term “Actually.” I mean, it’s better than when he was using the F-word (“fudge”), but not as nice as when he says “yellow” (emphasis on a very proper L sound with a very round O sound). I suppose that it is mostly pretty innocent.

Me:  “Henry, would you like some milk?”
Him: “Actually, I would like some chocolate milk.”

Me:  “Would you like to go to the park now?”
Him: “Yeah. Wait, I wanna watch a movie. Wait, WAIT! Actually, I want to have a treat then watch a movie THEN go to the park!”

This morning he rewarded me with an “Actually” sentence I can get behind.
[Henry is climbing into the SUV]
Me:  “Bye Henry! Have a great day!  I love you!”
Him:  “Bye Mama!”
Him:  “Actually, I want to give you another kiss.”
[Me, shocked, squatting down by the door, arms open, huge grin on my face. Him, running from the car to me, cheeks sucked in and lips puckered.]
Me:  “I’m ready for you!!!”
[big kiss and hug]
Him: “Bye Mama, I love you!!”

I just want to extend this apology to the world that when you talk with Mr. Henry, he might correct you.  He’s just trying to get you to see things the way a four-year old sees them.

I love you too, Henry. Very, very much.