Saturday, May 22, 2010

About Henry . . .

(who turned six on Thursday)

Moving from five years old to six is a big deal. A big deal. Five is just thinking about school, about being away from home a day at a time. Six is being a seasoned kindergartener, familiar with the school routine and the lay of the land. Five is just starting to have friends on your radar screen. Six brings friends front and center, and a new set of family rules that go along with more independence. Five is when your mom knows everyone that you've ever had contact with. Six is being out and about with mom and running into people that SHE DOESN'T KNOW who say "Hi Henry." Five is being satisfied with most everything you are given. Six is having a strong opinion and voicing those preferences OFTEN. Five is anticipation and preparation. Six is experience and confidence and becoming . . . .

It has been a big year of newness and changes. And Henry has come through all of it with flying colors. I am so proud of him. My heart is bursting . . . .

Looking back at the past year, here are ten things I know about Henry . . .

1) Henry is dabbling in his creative side, but isn’t ready to fully admit it yet. Although he often fusses and resists, he really loves art at school. If he slows down long enough, he loves to color or paint or draw. And, he is proud of his work. He is starting to pay attention to music too. He's probably ready to try a musical instrument. The drums or guitar seem to be at the top of his list. And if he thinks no one is watching, he will let loose and dance like there is no tomorrow.

2) Henry will LOVE to do something completely, totally, all day, 24/7, with great passion and interest . . . for about 2 weeks. Then he’s done and ready to move on to the next thing. It’s his 6 year old “jag.” This has been the case with a computer game, a few wii games, the novelty of playing with a particular neighborhood friend, watching iCarly, and now with anything Star Wars related (primarily lego sets). Basically, anything bright and shiny and new will get his attention . . . for about 2 weeks.

3) As has been the case since he was born, Henry experiences life quite intensely. His feelings, his sense experience, pains, joys, all of it. It is who he is. Bright lights, loud sounds, intense situations can all bring him stress. Although the sensitivity has toned down quite a bit since he was a toddler, I was just reminded of this again when we were discussing his need for a blood draw sometime soon to test his allergies. Ray and I tried to talk it down as no big deal. But, Henry reminded us “Well it’s a big deal for me.” He's right. Some things are still a really big deal for him, and we need to acknowledge and respect that. It is his reality.

4) Away from home, Henry is a rule follower. At school, at Tonya’s, at friend’s homes. Mostly because he wants to do the right thing. And he really wants to avoid any chance of getting in trouble. At school, he does what he is supposed to do, pretty much all of the time. He obsesses a little bit too. In the morning on the drive into school, he’ll ask a half dozen times how do I really know that we are on time. He won’t get a drink at the water fountain on the way to his class because Mrs. Gregory said you can only get a drink after recess or during free choice time. He wants to be right, without reproach.

5) Henry has really come into his own socially this year.
It is hard to believe that Ray and I considered waiting for a year to send him to kindergarten. But, “trust Henry” worked again in this situation, and he has done so well. He is more confident than I could have ever imagined. Leaps and bounds. Lately, there are kids at our house all the time. And, Henry is feeling more comfortable seeking out kids to play with too. It is such a joy to witness these little acts of courage everyday.

6) Henry is gaining his own sense of style.
A sense of what he likes. An opinion on most everything. In clothes, shoes, hats, how his backpack is adorned . . . basically in anything that reflects who he is in the world. He loves his new big kid haircut, and I love the self-assurance that came with it. But what defines him as much as anything else is his great sense of humor, his kindness, and his new-found confidence. He doesn’t know it quite yet, but it is those things that will truly define his style.

7) Henry’s interests are pretty wide and varied.
He loves karate, t-ball, biking and skateboarding (or at least the idea of skateboarding). He loves to help me cook, bake, and garden. He loves going anywhere with his family or friends. Henry loves Harry Potter, Electric Company, Phineus & Ferb, and anything Star Wars. He’s loves kindergarten, his teacher Mrs. Gregory and gym teacher Mr. Bastyr, learning to read and especially math. He loves the Wii, computer games, legos, being busy, and not being by himself (at least not for too long). He loves to play outside, go swimming and camping, and driving the lawn tractor. And, he loves a good story at the end of the night, right before he falls asleep.

8) Henry is still pretty picky when it comes to food.
I blame it on his early food allergies. But, there are a few things he loves: steak with A1, watermelon, brown rice, cous cous, airheads, ramen, broccoli, gum, mashed potatoes and gravy, happy meals, pineapple, crackers and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Before he eats most anything, Henry smells his food first. He leads with his nose.

9) Henry comes down the stairs every morning and climbs into my lap for a good morning cuddle.
He still likes a good hug and a good back rub. He is a kind and gentle and sweet soul. I absolutely adore who he is right now, and who he is becoming.

10) Henry loves his family.
He is particularly smitten with his sister right now. He is first to come to his sister’s aid and to her defense. In his kindergarten memory book, the March page had a St. Patrick’s Day theme. Henry wrote “I am lucky because I have a sister to play with.”

In return, I say, “We are all so very lucky, because we have Henry in our lives.”

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