Making His Own Way

Trying to catch the bubbles.
Trying to catch the bubbles.
So, I’ve been a little lazy where Henry is concerned. When I became a stay at home mom, Davey was 4 months old. I immediately dove into it, lined up programs at the library, met up with other SAHMs for play dates, and took him on as many “free” adventures as possible. I wanted to make sure that I was giving him as much social interaction as possible. Henry hasn’t exactly had that luxury.

Today, I decided to start up a new routine with Henry. I’m taking him to Bouncing Babies at our local library. My plan is to stick to it at least once a week, but if at all possible, get him there twice a week.

Making friends.
Making friends.

Bouncing Babies is a program geared for newborns to 18 month olds. It consists of stories, songs, nursery rhymes and free play with other children. Davey attended this the very first week I was a stay at home mom. I haven’t taken Henry because Davey’s attention span is no good for Bouncing Babies and he would just disrupt the whole thing. Plus, I’ve wanted Henry to have something that is his own, something away from his brother. And I must say, it’s been quite the enjoyable and eye opening experience for me.

Sharing with the others.
Sharing with the others.

Henry loves to move around and socialize, but he’s also more of a mama’s boy than Davey was. Davey never wanted to be with me, but Henry likes to climb back into my lap and just enjoy the class. He crawls and walks over to other babies and attempts to make friends, but in the end he’s always looking for me. It was so nice to see him be his own little man, to attempt to make his own friends. I don’t think I’ve “seen” Henry in this way before. I’ve always seen him as Davey’s little brother and really it saddens me that I didn’t do this sooner.

Huge fan of the balls.
Huge fan of the balls.

The experience was wonderful. He played. He laughed. He clapped his hands and climbed into the laps of other mothers. He shared his toys (something Davey NEVER did) and he became Henry Doser, adventurous and friendly little toddler. I need to do this more often.

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I’m Henry the 8th I Am…

Well, he’s actually Henry the First, but we’ve become a huge fan of Herman’s Hermits in our house. It’s a daily ritual to sing “Henry the 8th” to our own little Henry. Davey’s even learned all the verses, once even breaking into song at the grocery store when a lady asked Henry’s name. It melted my heart and we all got a good laugh out of it.

We used to sing a version of Davy Crockett to Davey when he was a baby, substituting different words in to fit our circumstances. We still sing it to him occasionally. I love doing that…taking old songs and turning them into songs to fit our daily life. For example, when trying to get Davey to potty train, I took the Four Seasons “Big Girls” and turned it into a little dity that made him laugh and even encouraged him to use the potty. I even went so far as to sing Frankie Valli’s high alto voice! I know!

These days music plays a huge role in our house. I try to encourage everything from classic rock and roll, to gospel and blue grass. I’ll even throw in the occasional Top 40 and Alternative (my favorite). What I’ve come to discover is that my second little man has an even bigger love for music than my first.

Getting ready to dance

Henry can drop everything and bounce up and down on his knees, clapping rambunctiously when he hears a song. At times, he even pulls himself up into a standing position, arms stretched out in front of him as if he’s conducting his own orchestra, and starts bee-bopping away. I mean that literally, as today I heard him say, “bee bop”.

Henry getting his groove on

He’s become wonderful at keeping pace with a song even using his hands to tap out the beat on the table. What does this mean? Nothing more than my child has an amazing way with enjoying music. I don’t recall Davey getting as into it as Henry does. Davey is quick to memorize verses and entire songs, though. Of course, I couldn’t expect that from Henry right now.

I suppose what’s really tickled my fancy the most is how the other day I found Herman’s Hermits singing “Henry the 8th” on YouTube. Once I pushed play, Peter Noone’s (yes, I know you are all so surprised that a mere 39 year old knows this music…another post for another day) voice began bellowing out the infectious lyrics, “I’m Henry the 8th I am, Henry the 8th I am I am. I got married to the widow next door. She’s been married seven times before…” Henry’s face lit up, he laughed and pulled himself up into a standing position before clapping his hands and bouncing along to the song. Davey even managed to join in!

I take a somewhat non-traditional approach with my children. We don’t know a lot of nursery rhymes, but we do know a lot of Bible songs. We do listen to a lot of music every day. I like to incorporate modern takes with old classics especially with hymns I grew up on. For example, “It Is Well with My Soul” is a favorite. It’s one we can listen to sung as a hymn or a modern day Christian rock. We love Bob Seger, Lionel Richie, Darius Rucker, and George Strait. And not to be outdone by all the moms out there with little girls who seem love Taylor Swift, we do know all the words to “Shake it Off” and love to hit the replay button.

What about the rest of you? I’d love to know what gets your little ones moving and maybe you moving along with them. I’ve always said that I’d gladly give up a television for music. There’s so much more to the imagination, after all “Henry the 8th” could really be imagined in so many ways.

The happy boy

“Mama Go. I Play.”

Four simple little words, two sentences, and yet so profound and impactful, at least for me.

Those were the words my son gave to me as I dropped him off at his first day of Mother’s Morning Out, which is a sort of preschool/daycare. He’s not quite two yet, but my husband and I felt that it would be beneficial to all parties involved (me, him, Davey, and the soon to be Henry), to enroll Davey in something that is “his”. I wanted him to have more social interaction with children and less time with me. So, we chose to do it one day a week. It meets for five uninterrupted hours in the day! What a joyous break, or so I thought when I first decided to enroll him.

Monday night, I did my typical “first day” preparations. It’s something I’ve always done the night before my “first day”, whether that be work, school, vacation, community function, you name it. I’m a planner and I need to have things in place and organized. I don’t do well “flying by the seat of my pants”.

As I packed Davey’s new back pack, complete with diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes, I started feeling a lump in my throat. What was wrong with me? Where was all of my excitement and anticipation from the previous weeks? Why was I starting to think I was making a bad decision? I shook my head for a moment, quickly doing my best to demolish the thoughts from my head, and started working on his lunch. I was nervous and excited. Would I sleep? Would I be able to eat the next morning? And why was this affecting me so badly?

Tuesday morning rolled around. I woke up early, showered, made coffee and ate breakfast. (What was this? My first day? I suppose.) I double checked Davey’s back pack and his lunch box. I made sure to grab his raincoat as it was raining and then debated on just what type of breakfast I would make for my future scholar. After completing all of this, including making sure I had any last minute paperwork completed and in hand, I went upstairs to awaken Davey. Let me make a quick side bar here…It was 7:30 and Davey was still sleeping. My son NEVER sleeps this late, even if we put him to bed later. Could it have been that he knew it was his first day of “school”? Perhaps all children are born with this sort of microchip in their brains that signals when school is starting, therefore encouraging the late sleeping? I don’t know, but I do find it quite fishy.

I dressed my son, fed him his breakfast, combed out his hair, and put his back pack on him. We walked out the door a half an hour before school started (it’s a ten minute drive away, but I loathe tardiness. I detest it. I can’t understand people who are constantly late). As we drove down the road, we sang some nursery rhymes, listened to the news, and briefly discussed Davey’s first day. Did he completely understand the significance of the day? Probably not, but being so important to me, I continued on.

We pulled into the school parking lot. I parked, walked around to the back, and opened Davey’s door. He eagerly put on his backpack, grabbed his lunch box, and held my hand. He commented on the flowers, the color of the door, the stairs, and the pretty bulletin board as we walked down the hall to his room. As per my usual custom, we were the first to arrive. Did I tell you I hate being late? If I instill one good trait in my children, it will be that they’re ALWAYS early, not just on time.

I signed Davey in, got him situated, and walked through everything with one of the teachers. Davey began immediately playing and within a couple of minutes, another child had arrived. I asked Davey for a last hug and kiss. He ran over to me, gave me one of each, and then pushed me out the door with the comment, “Mama go, I play.” Then he ran off! The nerve of him! He didn’t cry! He didn’t seem scared. He seemed perfectly happy and adjusted, so why was this such a difficult moment for me? I am becoming a mother I never thought I would be.

Quietly I closed the door and then lingered for a moment. I peeked through the window, anticipating that Davey would realize I was gone and quickly run to the door screaming, but it never happened. He continued to play. I dropped my head, succumbing to the defeat, and knowing that my child would do quite well.

I choked back my tears until I got in the car, then slowly let them fall. What was I sad about? I should be grateful that my child is so independent, and I am! I should be happy that he’s able to adjust to his environment, and I am! I guess what I’m sad about is the fact that for just today or maybe that one moment, I was not needed. My baby boy isn’t going to be a baby much longer. Sure, I have at least 16 years before he goes off to college, but the past two felt like they’ve flown by. I’m afraid if I blink, the next 16 will be gone as well.

I’ll adjust and truthfully having him gone for five hours allowed me to accomplish so much…3 loads of laundry (all of which needed to be ironed), a clean kitchen, cutting in with paint on his new bedroom, and even a Rotary meeting at lunch. I can only hope, though, that dropping him off will eventually get better.

Words with Daddy

I think I just fell more in love with my husband tonight.

My husband is a different man since he’s become a father.   He’s always had a good heart, very intelligent, and just an all around awesome guy.   Becoming a father seems to have magnified all of that with me and nights like tonight just make me love him more (if that was possible).

My husband’s job has him traveling a lot.    He left early this morning well before Davey was even up.   The only time he’s had with his son was last night when he put him to bed.   I spoke with him briefly this morning on his drive and put Davey on speaker phone so he could share some words with his daddy.   They were brief and to the point, but the love between my son and his father is evident.   My boy worships the ground Daddy walks on and I’m proud of that.

Tonight, my husband decided to Facetime me on my iPad which is perfect for Davey.   We sat in the recliner as my husband’s face popped up on the screen.

“Daddeeee!” Davey screamed (he’s moved past the da-da portion).

“Hi, Buddy,” my husband said back to him.

Davey looked up at me and then back at the screen as he saw his Daddy’s face in front of him.   He pointed at Daddy, waved at him, blew him kisses and even laughed.   It made me smile, but I suppose what made my night and made me fall more in love with my husband was the fact that he sat in a lonely hotel room and sang nursery rhymes to our son.  He read him a Dr. Seuss book, one that my husband knows by heart since he’s read it so many times to Davey.   He played “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” with Davey.   They did their ABC’s and even sang the song about two little red birds sitting on a hill.  It was the greatest ten minutes of my night and I know it was the same for Davey.

My husband talked about his day.   He asked Davey about his lunch and his dinner and inquired about the homemade strawberry muffins I’d made.   Davey did his best to communicate with the occasional nodding of the head, and his gobbledy gook of baby talk he has.   It was awesome and at one point my son tried to hug the iPad before waving good night to his daddy.   It melted my heart and made me smile as my husband did the same thing for our son.   They blew each other a kiss before we signed off, then I got a hug that I’m sure was meant for Daddy as Davey squeezed me tightly and then said silently and almost sadly into my ear, “Dadddeee.”