Month ten — Henry

Dear Henry,

Today you turned 10 months old. You have become downright difficult to live with. For one thing, you are obsessed with walking, which is to say, it is the only thing you want to do. Ever. When I try to set you down, you won’t allow your body to bend. So I put you next to a piece of furniture that you can hold, and then I wiggle my finger loose from your determined grasp. You immediately begin to cry. Occasionally, I put you in an open space, let go, and hope that you fall on your tush rather than your face. I don’t like to do it. But I have to use the bathroom sometimes or pull the smoldering remnants of our dinner from the oven.


When I’m not in the bathroom or burning our dinner, I’m holding your little hands and guiding you, step by slow step, in circles around the house. The dog holds particular interest for you. So does the dog food. And doors. Why do they open? Why do they close? Your dad and I are both a lot more hunch-backed than we used to be.


I’m sorry to say that the walking isn’t the only difficulty. You have also become loud. I have this notion of who you are — mellow, sweet Henry — but your talking is challenging that notion. You are a baby of passion and convictions. And you will tell us about those convictions in restaurants and in the car and whenever your sister is trying to say something important. She is stuck repeating herself endlessly while you shout “Ba! Ba! Bawww!” over her. I think most of your passions still swirl around food as much of this talking happens either when you are hungry or when you are still hungry.


Eleanor continues to be your favorite person, and your eyes follow her everywhere. When she gets out of kindergarten for the day, she runs over to greet you as though she hasn’t seen you in months. But with her in school much of the time, you have had to find new interests. One of those is your little wooden hammer. Listen to the amazing sound it makes when hit against the wall. Or the table. Or Mommy’s knee. What a great toy!


Most parents talk about how having a second baby is so much easier because they have parenting experience and worry a lot less. Well, you are our third baby. I am certain that I have worried more about you than I did about Eleanor because life seems much more fragile than it once did. And as far as parenting experience, I feel as though I am learning all over again how to take care of a baby. I had forgotten how babies slip and slide in the bathtub, how they stuff every speck of dirt on the floor into their mouths, how they think it’s perfectly acceptable to crawl away without a diaper. And all I can think is: How lucky am I to be your mom? Very.